Helichrysum Essential Oil: A Potent Remedial With A Gentle Hand


| 8/29/2019 7:39:00 PM


Helichrysum essential oil is yellow-to-slightly reddish in color with a pungent, distinctive, earthy, warm, honey-like scent which some say reminds them of sweet curry spice. It is a relative newcomer to the essential oil market, but demand for it is high, given its undisputed ability to help heal damaged skin tissue and soothe achy, inflammatory conditions. Like lavender, helichrysum essential oil is a complete medicine chest in a bottle!

A strongly aromatic, shrubby herb, helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum, syn. H. angustifolium) produces small clusters of bright yellow, semi-dry flowers that can be kept for years in a dried arrangement; in fact, helichrysum is also known as immortelle  or everlasting.  The name helichrysum is derived from the Greek helios (sun) and chrysos (gold).  Usually taken in the form of an infusion (tea), helichrysum has long been valued for its astounding number of medicinal properties, especially in Mediterranean countries, where it has been used as a remedy for liver ailments, skin conditions, respiratory complaints, headaches, inflammatory conditions such as muscular aches, sprains, and strains, and rheumatism.  African cultures prized the plant as a wound healer and burned the fragrant leaves as ceremonial incense.

Extremely gentle but highly efficacious, helichrysum essential oil is a powerful wound mender; a wonderful skin rejuvenative for aging and environmentally-damaged skin, as well as skin exhibiting eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis; and a superb anti-inflammatory.  I especially like it for its ability to ease arthritic pain, sciatica, sprains, strains, and muscle spasms, including menstrual cramps.  It is recommended for soothing achy hands and feet, too. 

helichrysum and cobalt bottle
Photo by Mars Vilaubi, c2018, used with permission from Storey Publishing

From Herb To Oil

 Helichrysum is native to the Mediterranean region and North Africa, and its essential oil is mainly produced in Italy, Spain, France, Croatia, Corsica, Hungary, and Bulgaria.  It takes approximately 1 ton of hand-harvested helichrysum flowering tops to produce just over 2 pounds of essential oil by steam distillation.  Thank goodness a little goes a long way!



Psychological Benefits:  Helichrysum is considered generally uplifting, harmonizing, nurturing, and calming, which is helpful when you’re dealing with issues of depression, apprehension, phobias, lethargy, stress, mental unrest/exhaustion, irritability, and shock.  Thought to open the heart, it provides warmth and grounding to those dealing with emotional coldness and fear.



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