About Helichrysum Italicum – Immortelle – Healing properties
Also called: Immortelle, Everlasting, Helichrysum Italicum, Curry Plant…
Antic history of helichrysum italicum
According to a Greek legend, told in Homer’s Odyssey, Helichrysum Italicum, or Immortelle would exist even before the 8th Century Before Christ. This legend says that Ulysses, during his odyssey, was once shipwrecked on an island called Phaeacia. There he met the king’s daughter, Nausicaa. She was renowned for her beauty which she attributed to her use of a precious golden oil extracted from Immortelle flowers. To help Ulysses recover she gave him a vial of this famous Immortelle essential oil and after applying it to his body he regained his strength and beauty and continued on his voyage.
Another myth say that the Greek god Apollo is at the entrance to Delphi wore a tiara of special flower, which is to remind the world of his immortality.
Legends from the slightly recent past past says that Napoleon when returning by ship to Corsica could smell his island even before sighting it. This legend is easy to confirm because here in Herzegovina at the time of flowering the smell is felt for miles around our farm.
Although this is only a legends, it is known that there is a flower that does not wither, even when it is harvested.
It is an everlasting, lat. Helichrysum italicum, our domestic plant that is prevalent in the Mediterranean region, especially on sunny rockeries. Helichrysum is a typical Mediterranean plant with sweet, honey fragrance. It can usually be found to grow near other medicinal and aromatic plants like rosemary, myrtle, sage, wild carrot, mint, ruta, rockrose, fennel and others.
About Helichrysum italicum
Helichrysum italicum is a flowering plant of the daisy family Asteraceae syn. Compositae.
The word Helichrysum is derived from the Greek word helios meaning sun and chrysos meaning gold., probably because of its golden color.
Also the name Immortelle ( Everlasting ) comes because flowers retains yellow color even when dried.
We would add to these that this is a very resistant plant, and we
have had cases where we found in the wild only dry branches who knows
how old immortelle, and once we provide enough light and some water plant would be
miraculously revived again.
GC analysis – Main components:
- Diketone content: italidione
- Ester content: specifically neryl acetate
- Sesquiterpenes content: b-carophyllene and γ-curcumene
- Terpene alpha pinene.
In nature Helichrysum italicum grows on dry, rocky or sandy ground around the Mediterranean. It need lots of sun ( after all sun is in his name ). Our farm is near Mostar, city with most sunny day in Europe. Summer temperatures exceed 40 degrees Celsius.
Fully grown plants are woody at the base and can reach about 60 cm in
height. If the climate is favorable throughout the year helichrysum can
give two harvests, in June and October. Our experience so far are that
this will happen very rarely, if we want a quality essential oil,
because for oil quality immortelle must be collected at the time of full
Helichrysum plant ( essential oil ) possess anti-inflammatory,
anti-oxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral and and anti-HIV properties. This
plant is sometimes used as a spice.
Some of the Helichrysum helaing properties
Modern science these days confirms what old people have known for decades and centuries. Immortelle essential oil contains unique properties that make it an antioxidant, ananti-inflammatory, an antibacterial and antifungal.
Traditional Mediterranean medicine use helichrysum oil for centuries. Also Helichrysums are well known and popular as traditional South Africa medicine.
Its flowers and leaves are the most useful parts of the plant. There is numerous different ways preparing helichrysum to treat conditions like:
- Prevents Allergies
- Fight and lessen frequency of fevers
- Provide warmth to the respiratory system, treats cough
- Relieves Inflammation
- Promote faster healing of wounds
- Promotes Digestion ( Indigestion and Acid Reflux )
- Liver diseases
- Gallbladder disorders
- Inflammation of the muscles and joints
- Clear blood clots by liquefying/thinning them
- Fight Infections
- Protects Nervous System
- Various kind of skin disease, psoriasis etc
- Prevents Skin Dehydration
Current most popular uses are for treating wounds,scars, infections, digestive problems, helping the nervous system and heart health, and healing respiratory conditions making these plant and essential oil almost too good to be true.
Word of Caution: No toxic or irritating effects have been observed or reported from the use of this oil. But since it is anticoagulant, people who have undergone surgery or have chances of internal hemorrhaging should avoid using .
Most of its traditionally claimed applications are not yet scientifically proven, but research from day to day prove more and more healing effects of these miracle plant that nature gave to us.
How to use helichrysum oil
Helichrysum oil can be use in 3 ways:
- Aromatically: Open the bottle and take deep sniff. Also you can put three to four drops into a diffuser or into your steam bath.
- Topically: Mix helichrysum with carrier oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil and use as a massage oil, or add to a cream or lotion, or even make your own cream or mixture.
- Internally: One drop of the oil in four ounces of liquid. Unlike some other essential oils, this essential oil can be taken internally, provided that it’s diluted like stated before.
Blending with other EO: Helichrysum essential oil blends well with Lavender, Geranium, Rose, Lime, Orange, Petit Grain, Neroli, Sage, and Ylang-Ylang oil.
Helichrysum Essential Oil and its Use in Medicine and Aromatherapy
The essential oil of Helichrysum is obtained from biomass of various geographical origins (e.g., the Balkan Peninsula, Ukraine, Corsica, Sardinia, Provence, and Spain), and once was used mainly for the aromatization of pipe tobacco.
Factors related to the Balkan wars of the 1990s as well as Helichrysum’s increased popularity in aromatherapy, perfumery, and cosmetics, led to a shortage of plant material that stimulated cultivation and collection in the Western part of the Mediterranean region, especially in Corsica and Sardinia.
The absolute is used only in perfumery, while the essential oil is employed in medicine and aromatherapy. The introduction of the oil of H. italicum in aromatherapy originated in France, and was popularized in English-speaking countries by aromatherapist and author dr Kurt Schnaubelt, who notably considers interchangeable the many uses of the pinene- and neryl ester-rich oils.
Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt on essential oils
Lets see what dr. Kurt Schnaubelt that one of the field’s leading experts says on essential oils , esspecially helichrysum. Part below is taken from dr. Schnaubelt official blog.
“Often I get asked, what is your favourite oil. And I think about it and cannot really come up with an answer. So I thought some more about it and arrived at the following. There are oils I use more than others and there are oils I gravitate to. Typically these are staples as one would use oils for day in day out purposes, i.e. using oils in the shower just because, or using oils for prevention or relaxation, to balance the autonomic nervous system after a stressful day.
But the point is that just naming the oils would really not tell the whole story. What makes an oil a favourite of mine is that I have used it in the past, gravitated back to it and that I am viscerally aware of its authenticity.
Lets take Helichrysum. An oil that one almost cannot live without once you have experienced what it does. And if you look on our list we generally try and offer a variety of Helichrysum oils from different origins. Now the reflex question is which one is most effective or which one is, drumroll, ‘the best’ of all of them. I do not think that one is better than the other. I do know that many aromatherapy enthusiasts will prefer the Corsican varieties because of their higher ester (Neryl acetate) content. But then there is the Italian provenances which are very similar to the Corsican.
And then there is of course the Bosnian varieties. We are proud of the verifiable authenticity of all our oils. We have been to their place of production, saw them being harvested on Mediterranean hillsides be it in a village in Corsica or a small town in Bosnia Herzegovina.
I personally like to use the oil from Bosnia we list as number 118. It may not be the most spectacular, and I cannot find a logical reason. I do believe it may be somewhat mystical why we develop more intimate relations with one oil over the other. I also know that other individuals have developed the same intimate and mystical preference for the Corsican oils like our staple 4135. While all our oils are of distinct authenticity it may remain difficult to specify why our bodies and minds develop these mysterious preferences”
Helichrysum oil recipes
Some fast usage tips
- Mix a drop or two to your favorite toner cream, or moisturizer to fight off blemishes, wrinkles and agging skin.
- Massage 1-2 drops of the oil directly onto scars.
- Place 10-20 drops in the bathwater and soak in it for at least 10 minutes. Relieve muscle and nerve pain and also helps you relax and chase away any anxiety and negativity.
- Open bottle and inhale to ease anger, frustration, sadness or other negative emotions.
- Put a few drops in diffuser to set a joyful mood.
- Inhale a drop or two from a handkerchief to ease cough, congestion or itchy throat.
Helichrysum morning and night cream
It is necessary to obtain 5 ml ( 0,67 OZ ) of helichrysum oil as well as 50 grams of beeswax and 50 grams cocoa paste. All the ingredients are submerged in one of the rectilinear vessels to melt and squeeze. Spread them until you get a compact bend, so when it becomes homogeneous, take the court out of the fire and let the mass cool. Before it starts to cling, move it to the appropriate tile or plastic tile.
Use this cream in the morning and in the evening. Apply in thin layer on face. The cream is suitable for all skin types. You will feel in a very short time that the skin is gentle, soft and smooth. Keep the cream well closed in the fridge, and its shelf life is up to 6 months.
Mix 30 ml of wild rose ( Rosa canina ) fruit oil and 8 drops of helichrysum italicum. Aply this mixture of oil on the face skin in a thin layer, just before bedtime. The skin quickly becomes brilliant and radiant.
2 drops of helichrysum essential oil
2 drops of lavender oil
1 tsp. of aloe vera
Apply this mixture on the sunburnt skin. Elixir will soothe and heal the skin at the same time.
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Aromatic International and A. Butje. Notes on Helichrysum italicum from website: http://www.aromaticsinternational.com/ retrieved on October 28, 2007.
The school for aromatic studies – https://aromaticstudies.com/helichrysum-helichrysum-italicum/