Opopanax is gum resin derived from Commiphora trees, particularly C. erythraea and C. kataf, which are native to Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. The resin is extracted by making incisions in the bark and collecting the exudate, which solidifies into brown lumps. Perfumery Opopanax is a resinoid extracted from the resin by dissolving it in a solvent, while Opopanax essential oil is produced through steam distillation.
Opopanax is sometimes referred to as Perfumed Bdellium or Bisabol, although technically Bdellium is an aromatic gum resin obtained from Commiphora africana (the African Myrrh tree) and C. wightii, (the Indian Bdellium-tree), while Bisabol is obtained from C. guidottii.
Opopanax gum resin is sold in the form of brown coloured lumps and contains a mixture of a water-soluble gum and an alcohol-soluble resin. Traditionally, it was believed to have medicinal properties and was used for embalming, but is now mainly used for its aromatic scent.
Opopanax is used as a constituent of incense for religious ceremonies, but is also used in joss sticks. It is sometimes called Perfumed Bdellium.
In the Personal Care industry, Opopanax resinoid and essential oil are used for producing perfumes with a warm balsamic and sweet, honey-like aroma, often used in oriental fragrances.