You may be familiar with myrrh essential oil, but have you heard of sweet myrrh essential oil? Also known as opoponax, sweet myrrh essential oil is similar to both myrrh and frankincense, even though it has its own unique scent and healing properties. Although not one of the most well-known resin oils, sweet myrrh can be used to treat respiratory conditions, relieve stress and anxiety, and can be added to a wide variety of fragrance blends.
History of Sweet Myrrh
Sweet myrrh (opoponax) comes from the same plant family as frankincense and myrrh and is botanically known as Commiphora erythraea. The opoponax tree is native to Africa, primarily Somalia. The healing properties of sweet myrrh are similar to those of myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), even though sweet myrrh is not as widely used in aromatherapy.
Throughout history, the resin of sweet myrrh has been used as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Some have even claimed that it is the myrrh that the Song of Solomon referred to. It is a popular addition to incense blends and perfumes, and is especially popular as a fixative, allowing scents to linger for longer.1
The Composition of Sweet Myrrh Essential Oil
Sweet myrrh essential oil is steam distilled from the resin of Commiphora erythraea, commonly known as the opoponax tree. The resin is a deep, reddish-brown color, yet the oil is often pale yellow with a sweet, balsamic aroma similar to that of myrrh. However, the scent of sweet myrrh is often considered to be more delicate than that of traditional myrrh.
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Sweet myrrh essential oil is known to have antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic and sedative properties.2 This is all due to its composition, which is primarily:
- Germacrene D3
Common Uses of Sweet Myrrh Essential Oil
Treat Respiratory Conditions
Other than incense and perfumery, the most popular historical uses of sweet myrrh were treating wounds and clearing congestion of the respiratory system. Nowadays, the former isn’t nearly as common, but sweet myrrh is still known for its ability to ease respiratory symptoms.
If you are suffering from respiratory congestion, diffuse sweet myrrh essential oil throughout your home. You can also mix with a carrier oil and massage onto the chest and neck, or add a few drops into a bowl of steaming water and breathe in the vapors.
Relieve Stress and Anxiety
The sweet, balsamic aroma of sweet myrrh essential oil helps to ease stress and anxiety and is also particularly helpful during meditation. If you need to relax after a long day or simply clear your mind of all worries, diffuse sweet myrrh essential oil throughout your home. Sweet myrrh can also be found in MONQ’s personal essential oil diffuser Zen therapeutic fragrance blend! You can add a few drops to a warm bath, or mix with a carrier oil and use as a relaxing massage oil.
Prevent Infection and Ease Muscle Pain
The anti-inflammatory properties of sweet myrrh essential oil help to relieve muscle pain caused by inflammation and the antimicrobial properties help to keep wounds free of infection. Although sweet myrrh isn’t the most widely used essential oil to ease muscle pain or prevent infection, it is still a useful oil, especially if it is the only one you have on hand.
To ease muscle pain, mix a few drops of sweet myrrh essential oil to a carrier oil and massage onto sore areas. To prevent infections, mix a drop with a small amount of carrier oil and apply to wounds before covering with a bandage.
Add To Fragrance Blends
Sweet myrrh essential oil adds a delightful woody, sweet, balsamic scent to exotic perfume blends. Its use as a fixative allows scents to remain strong throughout the day. You can use sweet myrrh in your own fragrance blend, or add to homemade soaps, candles, or lotions.
Sweet myrrh is safe for topical and aromatic uses when being used with caution. It is known to be slightly photo-toxic, so direct sunlight should be avoided for at least 12 hours after topical use.5
When using essential oils topically, you should always conduct a patch test before use. For those with sensitive skin, it is recommended to always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
If pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consult a doctor before using any essential oils. Do not attempt to use essential oils to treat a chronic condition before first consulting a medical professional.
When stored correctly in a cool, dark place, sweet myrrh essential oil will last for 5-6 years.
Sweet myrrh essential oil is a delightful smelling oil that is most beneficial when used in fragrance blends or as a way to relax the mind. Although it has some therapeutic benefits, it has not as widely used in aromatherapy as its cousin’s frankincense and myrrh. Even so, it is a wonderful essential oil to have on hand if you are looking for an exotic oil to help promote feelings of peace and relaxation.