What Is Helichrysum Oil?
There are over 600 species of helichrysum. However, the most common helichrysum essential oil is Helichrysum italicum. It's native to the Mediterranean area and Asia, and it's harvested mostly in Italy, the Balkans, Spain and France.1 The name "helichrysum" originates from the Greek word "helios," which means sun, and "chrysos," which means gold, referring to the flower's color.2 Helichrysum belongs to sunflower (asteraceae) family; hence the resemblance.
Helichrysum oil is also known by other names such as "immortelle" and "everlasting." Considered to be a very expensive and scarcely available essential oil, the shelf life of helichrysum oil compensates for its costly price as it can be stored for a very long time.3 The essential oil has a distinct and intense scent. It has a rich, fruit-like odor with honey undertones. The color ranges from yellow to red with a watery viscosity.4
Uses of Helichrysum Oil
Historically, the plant was widely used in Eastern, Western, and Southern African culture. Different tribes in Africa have used helichrysum mostly for medicinal purposes like healing wounds and treating fever, chest complaints, sores, and coughs, to name a few. The leaves of the plant were also burned and used for incense.5,6
Helichrysum oil is used primarily for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. It helps your skin stay soft, smooth and moisturized, and prevents it from being dehydrated and from cracking.7 This essential oil is also used for medicinal purposes as it has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-allergenic properties.
Composition of Helichrysum Oil
Helichrysum essential oil is made up of 21.7 percent pinene, 10.4 percent curcumene and 8 percent italidiones.8
Benefits of Helichrysum Oil
Helichrysum essential oil boasts many remarkable health benefits. As an antiallergenic compound, it can help your liver, spleen, internal organs and nervous system fight allergies, as this is where allergies often first manifest.9Moreover, it promotes cell health by encouraging the recycling of dead cells and stimulating production of new ones. It may also help:
- Relieve spasms and coughs
- Clear blood clots by liquefying/thinning them
- Fight and lessen frequency of fevers
- Promote faster healing of wounds
- Provide warmth to the respiratory system
- Promote discharge of bile and neutralize acids to promote digestion, cure acidity and decrease symptoms of acidosis
How to Make Helichrysum Oil
High-quality helichrysum oil is obtained from the flower tops of the herb through steam distillation within 24 hours of harvesting. The younger plants yield greater quantities of essential oil.10
How Does Helichrysum Oil Work?
You have three options to choose from when you want to use helichrysum oil:
• Aromatically: Open the bottle and give it a whiff or put three to four drops into a diffuser or into your steam bath11,12
• Topically: Mix with carrier oils like coconut or olive oil and use as a massage oil, or add to a cream or lotion13
• Internally: Dilute one drop of the oil in four ounces of liquid
Is Helichrysum Oil Safe?
Helichrysum oil is safe to use for most people, but it's best to avoid it if you have recently undergone surgery or are prone to internal hemorrhages, as the oil is an anticoagulant. Unlike other essential oils, as mentioned earlier, this essential oil can be taken internally, provided that it's diluted.
Children under age 6 should not be given this oil. Older children and pregnant women should also refrain from using it without consulting with your physician first. recommend taking an allergen patch test as well.
Side Effects of Helichrysum Oil
There are no known side effects of helichrysum oil, but contact with sensitive areas like the eyes and inner ears is a no-no since it can cause skin irritation. Helichrysum oil isn’t advised for people who are pregnant and breastfeeding, because there is not enough information that supports this oil’s safety for these groups of women.14
People who have gallstones must avoid using helichrysum oil since it can trigger colic or stomach cramps. The same goes for people with a blocked bile duct too since it can stimulate bile flow. Lastly, this type of essential oil can trigger allergies in people who are sensitive to members of the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Aside from ragweed and daisies, other known members of this plant family include marigolds and chrysanthemums.1 Cheryl's Herbs
Sources and References
Sources and References
2 The Ida
3, 7 Organic Facts
4 Essential Oils
5 “African Helichrysum Species,” Herbal Africa
6 “Uses And Abuses Of Plant-Derived Smoke: Its Ethnobotany As Hallucinogen, Perfume, Incense, And Medicine,” Oxford University Press, July 15, 2010
8 Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice, Jennifer Peace Rhind, p. 148
9 Helichrysum Italicum: From Traditional Use to Scientific Data
10 “Helichrysum Essential Oil,” OilHealthBenefits
11 Nourishing Treasures, June 7, 2013
13 Home Remedy Central
14 Immortelle: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings - WebMD