Opoponax Essential Oil
Opoponax Essential Oil is sometimes spelled Opopanax. It is also known as Sweet Myrrh Essential Oil. Myrrh Essential Oil and Opoponax Essential Oil are steam distilled from the resin from trees of the same genus, and their aromas share some similarity. However, Opoponax Oil tends to be a bit lighter and sweeter. If you find the aroma of Myrrh Oil a bit too intense, you may find Opoponax Essential Oil to be more pleasing aromatically.
Opoponax Essential Oil is quite versatile and blends well aromatically with many other oils including those in the wood, resin, spice, herbaceous, floral and citrus families. Within natural fragrancing applications, Opoponax Essential Oil is can be used as a middle or base note. It can act as a natural fixative to help prolong the aroma of the blend or fragrance.
As with Myrrh Essential Oil, Opoponax Essential Oil is deeply grounding and can help to mellow and balance out the emotions. It is used in spiritual and incense applications.
However, unlike Myrrh Essential Oil, Tisserand and Young report that Opoponax Essential Oil is phototoxic and that there is a moderate risk of skin sensitization when using Opoponax Essential Oil topically. See the Safety Information section below for more information.
Commiphora guidottii / Commiphora erythraea
Common Method of Extraction
Plant Part Typically Used
Strength of Initial Aroma
The aroma shares some similarity to that of Myrrh Oil. It is deep, resinous and woody.
Opoponax Essential Oil Uses
Antiseptic, antispasmodic, expectorant, fragrance fixative. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 124.]
[K.H.C. Baser, B. Demirci, A. Debeko, E. Dagne, Essential Oils of Some Boswellia spp., Myrrh and Opopanax. (Flavour & Fragrance Journal 18, 2003), 153-156. Source cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 224.]
Tisserand and Young indicate that Opoponax Essential Oil is phototoxic and that there is moderate risk of skin sensitization when using the oil topically. They precaution against topical use for those with hypersensitive/diseased/damaged skin. They recommend a dermal maximum usage level of 0.6%. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 370-371.]
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General Safety Information
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
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