Locally Called “Palo Santo” meaning “sacred wood” in Spanish, guaiacwood is traditionally used as an incense.
Paraguay is the largest producer and exporter of guaiacwood oil having first commercialised production in the late 1930’s.
It is also used in South America as a hard wood for furniture and over use in recent years has led to the product being CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) restricted. This controls the amount of harvesting and regulates trade.
Guaiacwood grows in the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay. Its heartwood produces an essential oil with a woody, sweet, lactone odour, somewhat similar to some sandalwoods.
It’s a relatively inexpensive oil for the ‘woody’ ingredient family, making it a valuable essential oil for many fragrances especially in the detergent sector.
Its main components are sesquiterpene alcohols, guaiol and bulnesol, which make up about 85 % of the oil.
Production continues to improve with good stocks now available at origin. This should remain in place for the foreseeable future, although the threat of additional CITES regulations could quickly change this. It is expected that changes to these regulations will come into effect during the first half of 2018 and will surely impact prices if not supply. It may be worth topping up these stocks sooner rather than later.
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