Opoponax Essential Oil (Commiphora guidottii)


Opoponax may also be referred to as Sweet Myrrh. It is typically processed using steam or hydro distillation as a method for extracting oil from the gum/resin.


Opoponax Essential Oil is sometimes spelled Opopanax. It is also known asSweet 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.

Essential Facts

  • Aroma Description:

    Balsamic Earthy Exotic Resinous Rich Sensual Slightly sweet Warm

  • Common Name(s): Sweet Myrrh
  • Synonyms(s) for Commiphora guidottii: Commiphora sessiliflora

  • Botanical Family: Burseraceae
  • Botanical Genus: Commiphora
  • Chemical Family: Monoterpenes, Sesquiterpenes
  • Major Compounds: (E)-B-Ocimene, (z)-a-Bisabolene, a-Santalene, (E)-B-Bergamotene, a-Bergamotene, Germacrene D, Decanol
  • Perfumery Note: Middle/Base
  • Consistency: Thin
  • Strength of Initial Aroma: Medium
  • Color: Pale Yellow
  • Indigenous Country: South Africa
  • Cultivation: Wild Harvested
  • Processing Methods: Steam or Hydro Distillation
  • Part Typically Used: Gum/Resin
  • Shelf Life: 5-6 years
  • Wild Harvested Wild Harvested
  • Vegan Vegan

Essential Details


Cautions & Safety

Cautions when using Opoponax:

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.]

Safety Precautions for Opoponax:

Mildly photo-toxic.  Avoid sun exposure or tanning beds (ultraviolet light) for 12 hours.  Otherwise generally a safe oil.  If oxidized may cause skin irritation.

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 be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. Consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.