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Essential Oil Spotlight: Guaiacwood

Guaiacwood (Bulnesia sarmientoi)—pronounced GWHY-ack-wood—is steam distilled from the heartwood of the plant. It belongs to the Zygophyllaceae botanical family and is native to parts of South America. The aroma is woodsy with a subtle smoky-sweetness reminiscent of sandalwood. Its properties are anti-rheumatic, antifungal, astringent, laxative, diuretic, sudorific, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial.

Common Primary Uses: Topically for skin (hydrating and soothing); aromatically for yoga and meditation (for mental clarity and uplifted mood) and for calming (for relief of stress and anxious feelings).

Other Possible Uses: Topically with dilution to relieve joint and muscle pain and other symptoms of arthritis, gout, and rheumatism. Aromatically for symptoms of cold, flu, asthma, and headache.

Body Systems Affected: Skin, Emotional Balance.

Application and Safety Data

Topical: May be applied without dilution, but dilution may be needed for children or others with sensitive skin.

Aromatic: Diffuse, or inhale the aroma directly.

Internal: Generally regarded as safe (GRAS) for human consumption by the FDA. Dilute 1 drop oil in 1 tsp. (5 ml) honey or in ½ c. (125 ml) of beverage (e.g., soy/rice milk). Not for children under 6 years; use with caution in in greater dilution for children over 6 years.

Ways to Use Guaiacwood Essential Oil

Diffuser Blends: Use for a grounding yet uplifting experience, especially during meditation or yoga.


Topical: Apply a drop to third eye and heart chakra during meditation or yoga. Use a drop “neat” (undiluted) to soothe irritated skin. Add 1–2 drops to skin lotion to increase hydration. Apply to soles of feet for calming and grounding.

Sore Joints & Muscles Rub: Two easy variations!


30 ml (1 oz.) Roll-on Vial: Put 10 drops frankincense, 3 drops guaiacwood, and 2 drops cypress in the bottle. Fill nearly to the top with fractionated coconut oil (FCO). Replace roller mechanism and cap. Invert a few times to mix. Apply and rub into skin over sore joints and muscles.

60 ml (2 oz.) Salve Jar or Tin: Fill container half full with raw coconut oil (about 2 Tbsp). Add 20 drops frankincense, 6 drops guaiacwood, and 4 drops cypress. Stir into semi-solid coconut oil with a baby spoon or wood skewer. Gradually add about another 2 Tbsp. coconut oil while stirring the mixture. Apply and rub into skin over sore joints and muscles. Store at room temperature (may be chilled if melted to regain semi-solid state).

Source: "Modern Essentials: New 2022 Product Update" Booklet, 14th Edition.

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