Helichrysum essential oil is one of the most popular varieties of essential oil that finds widespread use across spheres of aromatherapy and natural medicine.
Although many people believe the Helichrysum oil can heal and prevent a type of allergies, cough, and cold, inflammation conditions, insomnia, and liver anomalies, among many other things, science is yet to prove its medical benefits fully.
The name Helichrysum is derived from Greek words. ‘Helios’ meaning sun and ‘Chrysos’ meaning gold, referring symbolically to its numerous clusters of tiny yellow flowers. The genus Helichrysum originates from the family of Asteraceae. There are about 500 species of them spread across the world. However, only a few produce the essential oil.
The topics that we will cover in this article include Helichrysum oil’s origins, benefits, forms of use, the extraction process, main chemical components and risks, and precautions that you should be aware of.
Which Plant Is Helichrysum Essential Oil Derived from?
Helichrysum oil is derived from the Helichrysum Italicum plant (also known as Helichrysum angustifolium). The oil is present in all the green parts of the plant. The dried flowers of the Helichrysum Italicum and its extracted oil have great medicinal value like anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. The oil
What are The Alternative Names for Helichrysum Italicum ?
Helichrysum Italicum is also known as Italian Everlastings, Italian Strawflower or Immortelle.
What does Helichrysum Essential Oil smell and appear like?
We can call Helichrysum Italicum the “curry plant” because its leaves have a curry powder-like smell. The aromatic oil has a rich, sweet, medicinal, and spicy scent. The distinct aroma of the oil is usually hard for anyone to describe. It’s a blend of earthy, fruity, floral fragrance, much like honey, to a certain degree. Its color can range from pale yellow to red.
The Extraction Of Helichrysum Essential Oil
Helichrysum Italicum, the plant from which the oil is extracted naturally occurs in the Mediterranean areas, Africa, Central Asia, parts of Southern Europe, etc. In some countries like Croatia, Bosnia, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, it is grown for commercial purposes and extraction of essential oil. This evergreen and highly aromatic herb grows up- to 60cm. The curry plant is bushy with woody stems and silvery grey-green leaves. They thrive best on dry cliffs and sandy soil.
In Corsica, the harvest is usually done by July- August. At this time, the therapeutically active constituent, Neryl acetate, is maximum in the flowers. In Corsican oil, the constituent is more than 40%, but in the Balkan region, it is usually below 8%.
Steam Distillation Process
A process of steam distillation does the oil extraction from the Helichrysum Italicum plant. The flower head clusters are mostly hand-plucked. The flowers are placed in a chamber, and then they are pump steamed which prompts the extraction.
Steam and oil are moved into a condenser. Then cooling transforms the steam into water and oil is separated. The product is usually a reddish colored mobile liquid. The oil derived is gentle, which makes it a safe oil for most people to use.
High quality oil can be achieved if the distillation occurs within 24 hours of harvesting. The younger helichrysum plants yield greater quantities of oil. The yield is usually very low, i.e., 0.2%, which results in the high pricing of the oil.
What are the Main Chemical Components of Helichrysum Oil?
Some of the key chemical components, according to 2016 study, include:
What Can I Use if I Don’t Have Helichrysum Essential Oil?
Helichrysum Oil is very similar to Lavender, Sandalwood, Jasmine due to their anti-bacterial and other similar properties. The Orange and Lemon Essential Oils are also similar to it because they are natural mood enhancers. We can blend it well with other common oils like Rose, Clary Sage, Geranium, and other spices and citrus oils.
For those who are looking for a topical substitute, iLAVAHEMP TOUCH CBD cream can be just the right solution. It is made of high-quality helichrysum oil along with ten other essential oils and certified and laboratory tested hemp extract.
What are the Helichrysum Essential Oil Benefits?
There are many tentative benefits of using Helichrysum Oil that science is still on its way to prove fully. Since the times of ancient Greeks and Romans, herbalists throughout Europe have used this oil to heal many ailments.
Below you will read about the most common applications of Helichrysum Essential Oil and science’s opinion on each one, backed up by several pieces of research and facts.
Does Helichrysum Oil Help Against Allergies?
Health Sciences Research Centre  at the University of Beira in Portugal has conducted research to prove that helichrysum oil has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial properties. It is very effective against bacteria and fungus growth, which can result in skin irritations, rashes, infections, etc. It is also recommended by doctors to treat acne and sunburns.
How Beneficial is Helichrysum oil For Inflammation?
Helichrysum’s anti-inflammatory properties are quite useful in treating muscle and joint pain. Such conditions are often caused by arthritis in older people. The oil also brings quick relief to cramps and back pain, rheumatism, sprains, etc.
Is Helichrysum Oil helpful in Treating Cough and Cold?
The oil is beneficial in treating cough and cold and also can be useful in reducing phlegm. The “curry plant” oil also reduces swellings caused by bacteria that cause cough and cold because of the antibacterial properties that it has.
How Effective is Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil on Candidiasis (a Yeast infection)?
Candida is a type of fungus which is also known as Candida Albicans. It can cause thrush, yeast infection all over the body. Several studies and laboratory tests have consistently proved that Helichrysum oil, both in it’s liquid and vapor form can help in treating or can slow the growth of Candida.
The oil is effective against other common infections caused by staphylococcus aureus that causes pneumonia, streptococcus mutans can cause gum infections, etc.
Does Helichrysum Oil Help in Treating Tinnitus?
The immortelle oil is also believed to be effective in healing tinnitus. It is a swelling in the ear or problems in the nerves of ear and neck. It helps because it has antibacterial properties and is mildly choleretic and spasmolytic in nature.
Does Oil help to even out Scars, Burns, and Heal Wounds?
Helichrysum oil combined with antibiotics is useful in healing infection in wounds. As mentioned by doctors, if it is applied quickly to the injury, it reduces the bruise of trauma that usually develops into black- blue patches on the skin. It is very helpful to even out the burn marks. It is also said to lighten the scars and spots on the skin.
How Rejuvenating is the Oil for both Skin and Hair?
To maintain good skin health and hair quality, Helichrysum Oil, in particular, could do wonders. For smooth and even-toned skin, you can use immortelle oil regularly. It controls and effectively reduces the appearance of fine facial lines and wrinkles. The oil can also be applied directly to the spots on skin and stretch marks to reduce them. Helichrysum oil also improves hair texture and softness. It prevents hair loss and greying.
The oil helps in keeping the skin hydrated throughout the day. It also blocks the harmful UV rays of the sun and prevents sunburn and skin cancer.
Does It Really Help During Burnout and Exhaustion?
The helichrysum essential oil helps to reduce mental exhaustion and burnouts. It is very effective when used as a blend of basil, peppermint, and helichrysum. It helps in relaxation and is therefore quite popular in aromatherapy.
Some other Helichrysum Oil Uses Worth Mentioning
Helichrysum Oil is reported to have anti-malarial properties. It can, therefore, help in fighting parasite-causing malaria.
Helps in fixing gall- bladder and digestive disorder
In many European countries, people use Helichrysum oil to treat gall-bladder disorders. The gall-bladder inflammation and the pain is relieved by the use of this oil.
We can also use it in treating digestive disorders, which are mainly caused by liver dysfunction. It helps to treat stomach-aches, Constipation, acid reflux, bloating, it also reduces intestinal spasms.
Massaging it on the temples and the back of the neck can prove to be very useful. The aroma of the oil serves as a stress buster. It helps the psyche to cope with difficult emotions or trauma. It nurtures and promotes inner calm.
Valerie Ann Worwood, one of the world’s leading aromatherapist, has expressed the sacred properties of the Helichrysum in her book, Aromatherapy for the Soul:
Other Claimed Benefits of Helichrysum Oil – Currently Not Proven by Research
There are a few more benefits of Helichrysum essential oil that are not yet proven scientifically. However, the question remains of how effective the oil is when it comes to these problems mentioned below:
It is widely believed that Helichrysum oil can be a cure for acne and particularly acne- scars. Still, there is a need for stronger scientific evidence to prove that.
In certain parts of Europe, Immortelle oil is considered a natural treatment for malfunctioning liver. It is said to detoxify the liver and kidneys. It also helps in the thinning of the blood and removes traces of heavy metal, toxins, and other pollutants, from the liver, helping it to remain healthy.
In its traditional application, Helichrysum oil us used for healing insomnia or sleeplessness as it is believed to have a relaxing effect on such patients.
Other Traditional Usages
The traditional usages include treating snake bites, hematomas as well as menstrual and urinary tract problems.
How to Use Helichrysum Oil
- Blended with any carrier oil: Helichrysum Oil can be blended with other carrier oils and can be used by massaging it on painful joints and also heals cuts and bruises.
- In creams and lotions: When mixed with creams and lotions, it has a rejuvenating effect on the skin. It helps in healing spots, blemishes, fine lines and is also effective on wrinkles, acne. It prevents infection of any wounds or cuts and also is effective on dermatitis or any other fungal infections.
- Vapour Therapy and Baths: Vapour therapy with Helichrysum essential oil can help in getting relief from respiratory problems. A few drops of it can also be poured into the bath to get rid of muscle aches and bacterial infection or wounds on the skin.
- Can It be Directly be Applied on Face? The oil can be applied directly to wrinkles and scars to fade them out. To inhale the aroma directly by rubbing it on the palms is a great way to ease the mind. A light-handed massage of this oil on the solar plexus and onto the temples and back of the neck can prove to be very refreshing!
- Can the oil be Consumed Internally? Should it Be Diluted Before Consuming? Unlike other Essential Oils, it can be consumed directly as a part of the daily natural cleansing routine. However, you can consume it only after you have already diluted it.
Risks and Precautions Of Helichrysum Essential Oil
Although Helichrysum Oil is non-toxic, non-irritant but overuse of any oil can lead to skin sensitization.
- Those with an allergy to plants from the Asteraceae family should initially apply the oil on a small patch of skin to check sensitivity. This oil should be kept out of eyes, ears, and nose and should not be used on children below 12 years of age.
- Helichrysum Oil is generally safe to use, but it is best to avoid if someone has undergone recent surgery or is prone to internal hemorrhages because this oil is an anticoagulant.
- People with gallstones and blocked bile ducts are also advised to avoid using Helichrysum Oil because it can trigger colic cramps and can stimulate bile flow.
- A study of 1997 has brought up rare cases of adverse reactions of fragrance and certain oils. It can sometimes cause respiratory issues, contact dermatitis, etc. Experiments on animal cells in 2002 and on human cells in 2010 have brought up some similar cases. It is also observed that Helichrysum Oil, in some cases, can stop some liver enzymes from functioning correctly.
Is it safe to use Helichrysum Oil during pregnancy?
Despite all the side effects mentioned above, there are a lot of benefits of Helichrysum Oil for most people. During pregnancy, it proves to be very useful by blending it with certain oils :
- A certain blend of Peppermint, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, and Helichrysum oils in equal amounts with a carrier oil and massaging it onto areas that hurt and are sore can help them get rid of the pain.
- To get rid of stretch-marks during pregnancy Helichrysum, Lavender, and Frankincense oils are essential. Mixing 4 drops of each oil with coconut oil, or another carrier oil, with six capsules of vitamin E and massaging onto stomach, breasts, and thighs helps!
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), essential oils are very important for women who are expecting. It helps them to get rid of nauseous tendencies, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, et
Helichrysum Oil can be slightly more expensive for you than other oils because it is not readily available. With the Latin name (Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil) written on the bottle, you can be sure of its high quality. It can be found in many health food stores and can also be purchased online.
This multi-purpose oil is generally used for aromatherapy. It also has so many medicinal and pharmaceutical properties that many people cherish it as a gift of nature to humanity.
Science workers have been performing advanced research and associated tests to prove its potential and side-effects completely. Scientists are hopeful of bringing to limelight many other beneficial properties of the plant, which are yet to be discovered in the future.
We advise you always to use the oil with precautions and remember to seek medical help if you feel some unexpected and potentially dangerous side effects for your health.
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- Code of Federal Regulations (2019). TITLE 21–FOOD AND DRUGS. CHAPTER I–FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. Sec. 182.20
- Genotoxicity and antigenotoxicity of some essential oils evaluated by wing spot test of Drosophila melanogaster (2002). DOI: 10.1016/S1383-5718(01)00287-X
- Reversible inhibition of three important human liver cytochrome p450 enzymes by tiliroside (2010). DOI: 10.1002/ptr.3189
- The safety issue in aromatherapy (2006) Aromatherapy Science (ISBN: 0 85369 578 4) © Pharmaceutical Press 2006
- Contact Dermatitis. (2013). Allergic contact dermatitis caused by Helichrysum italicum contained in an emollient cream. DOI:10.1111/cod.12049
- National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. Factors that influence the safety of essential oils
- Saudi Pharm J. (2016). Bouzid Djihane, Nouioua Wafa, Soltani Elkhamssa, De Haro Juan Pedro, Angeles Esteban Maria, and Zerroug Mohamed Mihouba. Chemical constituents of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don essential oil and their antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, filamentous fungi and Candida albicans. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsps.2016.11.001
Does it expires
Most will last at least two years before starting to degrade, unless they contain one of the unstable carrier oils mentioned earlier. And some can last for as long as 15 years without losing their effectiveness. Many experts advise replacing essential oils every three years to be safe.