Opopanax, or sweet myrrh, the cousin of the healing myrrh, is most likely the “sweet myrrh” referred to in the Song of Songs. It has been an integral part of incenses and perfumery since biblical times. Time to learn more about the many benefits of this unique essence.
Check the essential oils list with the usage description.
What is sweet myrrh?
Sweet myrrh, or opopanax, is aromatic resin that comes from several species of the Burseraceae family. This family has 700 plant species from 18 genera, one of which is Commiphora. Most species of the family produce an aromatic oil derived from the resin that flows from damaged tree bark.
There are several botanical names that can be found under the name of opopanax in various sources. They are Commiphora guidottii, Commiphora erythraea, Commiphora holtiziana, Commiphora pseudopaoli, Commiphora kataf, and Commiphora sessiliflora. Opopanax oils are most commonly available under the Latin names of Commiphora guidottii and Commiphora erythraea.
Opopanax is a tree or shrub with a branching stem that thickens at the base and has a rough, hard bark, between 1 and 5 meters in height. Most species of the genus Commiphora have long thorns on their trunks. Commiphora guidottii, which is most often the source of the sweet myrrh essential oil, has no thorns on its trunk.
Commiphora erythraea and Commiphora guidottii contain sesquiterpenoids cis-alpha bisabolene, santhalene, and ocimene.
Chemical components of Commiphora erythraea oil: trans-beta ocimene, alpha-santhalene, Cis-i trans-alpha-bisabolene.
Chemical components of Commiphora guidottii oil: ocimene, santhalol, bergamotene, germacrene D, cis-alpha bisabolene.
Method of extraction: steam distillation
Aroma: intense, sweet and balsamic, woody and resinous, with fruity, powdery, spicy, mushroom undertones.
Color: light yellow/orange liquid
Blends well with: frankincense, myrrh, citrus oils, woody and earthy scents, ambrette, musk, heavy floral scents (tuberose, Champaca).
Sweet myrrh essential oil benefits
This oil is non-toxic and non-irritating, with antispasmodic, balsamic, sedative and healing properties. It’s an excellent treatment for chapped skin, itching and wrinkles. It’s also a good fixative and an excellent fragrance component in perfumes and cosmetics and is also used as a flavoring agent in burgundy liqueurs.
This product is also suitable for food use in accordance with EU regulation 1334/2008.
Antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antipyretic, antispasmodic. Improves metabolism, rejuvenates (smoothes out wrinkles, slows skin aging), analgesic, regulates the menstrual cycle. Cleanses airways, stimulates fluid movement in the body, relaxes muscles.
As a household remedy, this aromatic essence is used to heal cracked skin, eczema, and wounds.
Sweet myrrh essential oil uses
To enrich cosmetic products: 7 drops per 15 g (0.5 oz.) of base product (1-2 tablespoons).
Massage oil for mature skin: mix 25 ml (0.8 oz.) avocado, 25 ml jojoba, 25 ml wheat germ, 10 drops sweet myrrh, 10 drops neroli, and 10 drops fir.
Massage: add 5-7 drops to 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (avocado, jojoba, wheat germ, or grape seed).
Baths: add 5-7 drops to 30-60 g (1-2 oz.) of emulsifier (salt, soda, honey, bath foam, cream, etc.) and add to bath water.
Compresses and lotions: add 5-7 drops to water or oil, apply the bandage soaked in the mixture for 10-40 minutes.
Aroma lamps/diffusers: add 3-5 drops.
Aroma pendants: add 2-3 drops.
The oil can also be used in pure form to apply directly to the affected skin areas.
Side-effects and precautions
IFRA (International Fragrance Association) recommended dosage is no more than 0.6% due to possible allergic reactions. It’s worth noting that this information might not be accurate but the IFRA has decided to keep the dosage for opopanax until more accurate research is done. The oil has photosensitizing properties.
- Apply to the skin only in diluted form
- Observe the dosages given in the manufacturer’s instructions
- Do a test for individual tolerance
- Don’t apply to mucous membranes
- Don’t use during pregnancy or breastfeeding
What is myrrh essential oil good for?
There are a few different things that myrrh can be used for. It’s among one of the most popular fragrant oils in aromatherapy, but it also has healing properties and helps with mental health issues like anxiety or depression because its sweet smell reminds people of beautiful memories without causing too much emotional attachment which could lead someone towards feeling worse instead.