FragrantFriday-Opopanax-Graphic (1)

Today’s featured essential oil supports meditation and spiritual unity.
It is grounding, sedative and helps dry excess respiratory mucous.

Essential Oil of Opoponax
Commiphora guidotti

My Personal Relationship with Opopanax
I first encountered this unique essential oil in 2010 and to this day I can’t decide if I like it or not.  It has a truly rich and sweet aroma and sometimes I breathe it in deeply with delight and other times I simply object to the aroma.

Nevertheless, Opopanax continues to fascinate me as it has a mystery attached to it that I love.  In the Aromatic Wisdom Podcast Episode 19, I talk about the story of the famous Christmas story of the three wise men and the gifts they offered the infant Jesus. I speculated how the gifts may have been three resins, Frankincense, Myrrh and Opopanax, not gold.  Why? Because in the language of the day, the words “gold” and “balsam” were both dha.  Also, all three trees were native to the middle east!  Isn’t that a fascinating possibility?!

The Basics
: Base

Geographical source: Somalia, Ethiopia, S. Arabia

Plant Part: Tree Resin

Oil Characteristics: Opoponax is a thick, sticky, amber-colored essential oil with a sweet, warm and resinous aroma.

Chemical Families: Monoterpenes, Sesquiterpenes

Therapeutic Properties:

  • Helps prevent and reduce diarrhea
  • Antispasmodic, helping to relieve spasms and cramps
  • Helps remove excess mucus from the respiratory system
  • Supports skin healing
  • Insect repellant
  • Reduces stress and anxiety


  • Add to any blend for a grounding, calming effect.
  • Use in aloe vera gel for weepy eczema or in a cream as a skin moisturizer.
  • Add to massage oil for soothing an overactive mind and to encourage sleep.
  • Add to several unscented incense cones or sticks, let dry for about 12 hours then burn for meditation purposes or as an insect repellant

Blends well with: Benzoin, Cinnamon, Clove, Elemi, Frankincense, Galbanum, Lavender,  Myrrh, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Rose, Spikenard, Vanilla.

A Recipe Using Opoponax:
Reduce Respiratory Mucus
6 drops Opopanax
5 drops Cypress
5 drops Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia)
Directions: Add essential oils to 2 oz of unscented cream or lotion ( has an amazing all-natural unscented lotion). Rub on your chest and throat and even over your sinuses.

Root-chakraSubtle Properties: (vibrational and energetic):  Because it is a base note and of red/dark brown color, Opopanax resonates with the base chakra, making it grounding and perfect for spiritual ceremonies and meditation. Used in perfumes, incense, and herbal formulas since biblical times, it has been used to guard against negative influences, strengthen the senses, and increase awareness and intuition. 

Fun Facts: Also known as scented myrrh, it is a yellowish-red sweet-smelling resin. Ancient Romans used it as incense in the temples. Somalia is considered the major exporter of Opoponax, but it is also harvested in parts of the Ogaden in Ethiopia. (

Safety Information:  Non-toxic and generally non-irritating, but may cause sensitization and skin irritation in some people. Use caution with children under two (2) years and hypersensitive, diseased or damaged skin. The IFRA (International Fragrance Association) at one time claimed that Opoponax was phototoxic. Tisserand states that recently, however, IFRA has dropped the idea of this oil is phototoxic. However, I have heard of those who have had the experience of a reaction with this oil and the sun. Err on the side of caution.

Where to Buy:  You can find all these essential oils at This is not my company, nor do I receive any commission from them.  However, I use all their products in my classroom because of the exceptional quality and customer service. Because the owner is a graduate of my Aromatherapy Certification Program, she does something very nice – anyone who listens to the Aromatic Wisdom Podcast gets a special code for a 15% discount on every order at Pompeii Organics! 

If you’d like to past Fragrant Friday posts,

check out the Fragrant Friday Archives

Related Posts: