Helichrysum italicum is Mediterranean aromatic plant with yellow flowers which grows wild in the southern Europe in the regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Spain, France and in north Africa. The essential oil is present in all the green parts of the plant and is obtained in the process of steam distillation.

Candida albicans is naturally occurring fungus (yeast) that lives on human body in small amounts and is primary located in mouth, skin and intestines. More than 150 species of the Candida are known but the most common is Candida albicans causing the majority of human fungal infections.

Helichrysum italicum essential oil is a promising way of treatment Candida albicans infections. Research conducted by Mastelic et al. at University of Split in 2004. showed that Helichrysum italicum essential oil exhibits significant antimicrobial activity against Candida albicans.

Candidiasis

Candidiasis infection is overgrowth of Candida albicans. Its growth is controlled by healthy bacteria or microbiome. If healthy levels are disrupted or the immune system is weakened candidiasis occur. Candida skin infections can be found on almost any area of the body, but are more common in regions where two skin areas touch or rub each other e.g. armpits, groin, skin fold and area between fingers and toes. Candida grows in warm, moist and sweaty conditions.

Depending on the place of overgrowth on body candidiasis can occur as oral thrush, nail fungus, athlete’s foot, diaper rush, jock itch and vaginal yeast infections.

Some of the causes of Candida albicans overgrowth are antibiotics, steroids, hormones, contraceptives, high sugar and refined carbohydrates diet, high alcohol consumption, weak immune system, uncontrolled diabetes (high blood sugar), overweight and working in wet/humid conditions.

Most common symptoms of candida infection are itchy red skin or rash, blisters, white patches, pain or soreness, burning and discharge.

Helichrysum italicum chemical composition

The content of components in the essential oil depends primary on the genotype, cycle of vegetation and environmental conditions (soil, climate etc) in which plant grows. The chemical composition of Helichrysum italicum essential oils from Bosnia and Herzegovina (and our essential oil) is similar to those from Croatia and southeastern Italy. Bosnian-Herzegovinian essential oils can be characterized as a α-pinene, neryl acetate, γ-curcumene and β-diketone type. Croatian essential oils are categorized as α-pinene, neryl acetate and γ-curcumene type (Talić et al., 2021).

Research by Mastelić et al. used Helichrysum italicum essential oil from Croatia with the main components: α-pinene (10.2%), neryl acetate (11.5%), γ-curcumene, gerany acetate (4.7%), α-curcumene (2,3%) and α-cedrene (9.6%).

Novi Dan d.o.o. farm and distillery is located in southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and our Helichrysum italicum EO posses specific chemical composition and is organically produced which gives it high quality and geographic distinctiveness. Chemical composition of essential oil is determined with GC/MS analysis and naturally batches slightly differ from harvest to harvest. The main components of helichrysum italicum essential oil (July 2023 harvest, Lot MEOH231) are α-pinene (20.899%), γ-curcumene (17.997%), neryl acetate (7.498%), caryophillene (6.738%), α-selinene (6.584%), italicene (6.452%), α-curcumene (6.078%), copaene (4.518%) and italidiones (4.041% – italidione  II MW=210 + italidione II MW=224 + italidione III MW=238).

Research results

The helichrysum italicum essential oil was evaluated for antibacterial and antifungal activities by Mastelić et al. at University of Split in 2004. The screening of antimicrobial activity was conducted by disc diffusion test and the minimum inhibitory (MIC) concentration was determined. Minimum inhibitory concentration is lowest concentration of antimicrobial compound that inhibits the growth of microorganism.

Helichrysum essential oil has been shown to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans. Agar method showed C. albicans growth was inhibited at a minimal concentration (MIC) helichrysum essential oil of 5 μg/mL (0.0005%). Disc diffusion method showed inhibition zone of 9 mm for the C. albicans. This antimicrobial activity is probably due to the main components of tested essential oil but also the synergism of the minor components should also be considered.

Candida albicans helichrysum italicum (immortelle) essential oil treatment

Our helichrsum italicum essential oil has low allergens content and therefore can be used undiluted directly on skin. It can also be diluted in the carrier oil and applied on the affected area. Some of the best carrier oils are organic cold pressed sweet almond and jojoba oil. Dilute 1-3 drops (0,05 – 0,15g) of our organic helichrysum italicum essential oil in 1 spoon of carrier oil and apply several times a day to reduce and eliminate candida.

Author information: Katarina Stanić, Master of process engineering, Novi Dan d.o.o.

Resources:

Aničić N D, Dimitrijević S I, Ristić M S, Petrović S P, Petrović S D: Antimicrobial activity of essential oil of helichrysum italicum L. , Asteraceae. 4th Conference on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of South-East Europan Countries, 2006.

Mastelic J, Politeo O, Jekovic I, Radosevic N: Composition and antimicrobial activity of Helichrysum italicum essential oil and its terpene and terpenoid fractions. Chemistry of Natural Compounds, 2005.

Talic S, Odak I, Lukic T, Brkljaca M, Martinovic Bevanda A, Lasic A: Chemodiversity of Helichrysum Italicum (Roth) G. Don Subsp. Italicum essential oils from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 2021.


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