Essential Oil Apothecary


Opoponax Essential Oil


Opoponax (Commiphora erthraea) essential oil from Kenya. In the same botanical family as Myrrh and Frankincense. Also known as Sweet Myrrh.



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Opoponax is from the same botanical family as Myrrh and Frankincense and while we have a really nice Myrrh lined up to hang out with the seven different species of frankincense already in store, we thought Opoponax belongs because of its superb fixative properties in a perfumery blend.

Sweet Myrrh confused me a little when I started studying essential oils because I thought it was Myrrh. I recalled reading about a true opoponax of past that was similar to the parsnip of all things – the Opoponax chironium. When the stem was wounded, a juice would extrude and dry to a resin that was then sold in commerce. Sweet Myrrh (Opoponax) has similar anti microbial properties and scent as Myrrh and is from the same family. I’ve used Myrrh a lot over the years in dental and skin care so I didn’t see the need to carry Opoponax. Luckily for the oil, curiosity and the need for a lighter version of Myrrh changed my initial thoughts. Myrrh, bless its heart, can be a little strong – whether added to toothpaste to heal gums or in a leathery or earthly aromatic blend to add depth. Opoponax is a little less aggressive and often reminds me of a neem honey – sweet, slightly caramel and warmly balsamic. It’s a natural pairing with all frankincense species but I like it with Neglecta in particular whether in a blend or burned together in an incense burner. When consulting with Volume V1 of Guenther‚ “The Essential Oils”, I was fascinated to read that little was known about Opoponax as far as that 1950 publication was concerned. It was mentioned that it was formally used as an antispasmodic and deobstruent meaning it clears or opens natural ducts in the body. I never tire of reading these old books for a glimpse into essential oil history.

Suggested uses: Add to a Frankincense or citrus blend to fortify potency and scent profile. Use in meditation or anoint chakras as needed. Useful addition to a natural perfume to impart tonality.


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