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Home Page > Essential Oil Profiles > Opoponax Essential Oil

Opoponax Essential Oil

Opopanax Tree

Opoponax Essential Oil is sometimes spelled Opopanax. It is also known as Sweet Myrrh Oil. Myrrh Oil and Opoponax 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 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 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.

Opopoanax Oil
Opoponax Oil

Botanical Name:
Commiphora guidottii / Commiphora erythraea

Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled

Part Typically Used: Gum/Resin

Color: Pale Yellow

Consistency: Thin

Perfumery Note: Middle/Base

Strength of Initial Aroma: Medium

Aromatic Description: The aroma shares some similarity to that of Myrrh Oil. It is deep, resinous and woody.

Opoponax Oil Uses: Antiseptic, antispasmodic, expectorant, fragrance fixative. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 124.]

Major Constituents:
Germacrene D
[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.]

Safety Information: 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.]

Shelf Life: Click here for shelf life details.


Cover Own Safety Profiles for 400 Essential Oils and 206 Constituents:
Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young

The second edition of Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young is a 784-page powerhouse of information that is invaluable to the serious aromatherapy student, aromatherapy practitioner, health care professional, and everyone seriously interested in understanding individual essential oils, their constituents, usage guidelines, safety precautions and contraindications.
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Cover The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless
Contains 160 detailed essential oil profiles complete with beautiful color photos.
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Cover The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness
Includes brief profiles for approximately 85 essential oils, 11 hydrolats and 24 carrier oil/butters.
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Cover Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals
In addition to the eight main chapters contained within the book, Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals also includes over 65 detailed essential oil monographs (profiles), spanning over 245 pages of the book (averaging 3.5 pages per profile).
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Important Notes: The essential oil information provided within the Essential Oil Properties & Profiles area is intended for educational purposes only. This data is not considered complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, oil color can vary based on harvesting, distillation and other factors. Profiles for several absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.

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 and give children only the gentlest oils at extremely low doses. 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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