Opopanax chironium (Opopanax)

Resin, Rocks from Somalia (SKU 0425)

New stock of Opopanax gum resin, from Somalia.

Family: Umbelliferae (Carrot family)

This plant is the source of a rare and costly gum-resin called Opopanax. The gum is obtained through incisions in the roots at the base of the stems. It is sometimes in tears, but usually in irregular lumps or fragments, of a reddish-yellow color, speckled with white on the outside, paler within, and, when broken, exhibiting white pieces intermingled with the mass. The aromatic gum resin formerly used in medicine is now used in perfumery and some incense formulas. The gum is inflammable, burning brightly.

Other names: Opopanax chironium, Pastinaca opopanax, Opopanax, Rough Parsnip.

It is seldom used in medicine now, but in olden times was one of the gum resins thought to be applicable to almost all ills, hence the name Opopanax, meaning the "All-healing juice". It is now regarded as a medium of feeble powers, but was formerly considered of service in medicine. Now it is employed in cense formulas and perfumery. King Solomon allegedly regarded the Opoponax as the noblest of incense gums.

This plant from the Umbelliferae (Carrot family) called "Rough Parsnip", is indigenous to the south of Europe but also grows in cooler climates. A perennial, with a thick, fleshy root, yellowish in colour. It has a branching stem growing about 30-90 cm high, thick and rough near the base. Leaves pinnate, with long petioles and large serrate leaflets, the terminal one cordate, the rest deficient at the base, hairy underneath. The flowers, yellowish, are in large, flat umbels at the top of the branches.

On wounding the stalk-base, or the root, a yellowish lactescent juice exudes and concretes. This is Opopanax. The best grade is that which occurs in irregularly angular pieces, or sub-globular tears, varying in size, and of a reddish or yellowish-brown color. It readily fractures, displaying a waxy interior, and often exhibits imbedded fragments of vegetable tissues.

Besides vegetable impurities it contains starch 4.2%, wax, volatile oil, resin 42%, and gum 33.4%.

Its fragrance is strong and disagreeable to some. When warmed it becomes soft, exhaling an onion-like odor.

This is a natural product, used as incense or in perfumery, or as an ingredient of incense and other perfumery or potpourri preparations.
Some incense plants or products may have some history of other folklore purposes, but we offer this product for its use as incense. Not food grade, not for consumption.

Please read our Terms & Conditions before placing your order.

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