Essential Oil of the Month: Helichrysum
Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) may be my favorite single essential oil, which is saying something since I love nearly all essential oils! It has so many uses and benefits, the results of which surprise me even after years of practice. Helichrysum italicum is arguably one of the greatest gifts of the natural world. Its Latin name is as regal as its essential oil benefits, from remarkable skin regeneration to wound healing to inflammation and trauma relief. It has the ability to treat wounds, then heal the scars that follow.
The name itself is derived from the Greek word helios meaning 'sun' and chrysos meaning 'gold'. The plant reflects the earth in its warm aroma and the sun in its golden flowers. Indeed, it has proved as valuable as gold in my personal experience.
Helichrysum is commonly known as Immortelle or Everlasting, the “flower that never fades.” This is due to the fact that the flowers’ delicious golden yellow color and comforting scent last long after it has been picked and dried.
Unrivaled in its regenerative effects, it is often used in high end skincare to smooth out signs of aging, scars, and other physical characteristics we incur while living our lives. Helichrysum is a healing and restorative powerhouse. It soothes inflammation, while also reducing pain with its analgesic properties. Immortelle is renowned for both its restorative properties and its effectiveness on scarred or damaged skin and is often used in the treatment of acne scars and inflamed blemishes. Immortelle oil is also known for reducing redness while restoring a healthy glow to skin by renewing the skin through detoxification and collagen production.
It is interesting to note that there are several other essential oils available distilled from other varieties of Helichrysum, particularly Helichrysum bracteiferum, Helichrysum gymnocephalum and Helichrysum splendidum. Each species of Helichrysum essential oil has very different aromatic and therapeutic properties, so it's important to ensure that you doublecheck the botanical name of the oil that you are working with.
Helichrysum Throuout History:
Helichrysum’s powers and properties have been valued since ancient times. Ancient Greeks considered it the symbol of love. It was reputed to heal the wounds of warriors and to clear the lungs. Both ancient Romans and Greeks decorated the statues of gods with wreaths of Helichrysum flowerheads, a practice mentioned by classic writers since the 7th century BCE. Its distinctive odor note was mentioned in the 1st century CE by Pliny the Elder, who, in his work Naturalis Historia, described it as not-at-all unpleasant and as being able to protect clothes from moths and that it resolves hardness and inflammation, relieves burns in local application, lumbar pain and snakebites.
According to the Odyssey (Homer), the hero of Greek mythology, Ulysses, was shipwrecked on an island. He eventually met a woman named Nausicaa, the beautiful daughter of the king of the Pheacians, who took in Odysseus by order of the goddess Athena. Her beauty secret? The oil of Helichrysum Italicum, of course!
Greek mythology also associates Immortelle with the god Apollo, who is said to sometimes wear a tiara of the golden flowers to remind everyone of his own immortality.
In today’s world we treasure Helichrysum for its anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, analgesic, and anticoagulant properties. In effect, it is good for pains, sprains, bruises, and inflammation. You may notice it in many expensive skincare products.
On an emotional level, Helichrysum may help with stress and trauma, assist with opening the heart, and clearing old emotional wounds and suffering. It creates a nurturing environment that promotes inner calm and fosters spiritual practice. It is also said to help those who did not receive enough love as children or those who feel alienated or lonely. (The Aromatherapy Bible, Farrer-Halls).
Helichrysum italicum can be expensive, as it takes up to one ton of flowers to produce one liter of essential oil, but it is so worth it! Its unique qualities can help in all areas of the human experience; physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Rx blend for pain, sprains, bruises, and inflammation:
2 drops Helichrysum
3 drops Lavender
1 drop Blue Chamomile
Mix into 5 drops of ARNICA FLOWER - 10% IN JOJOBA
And 10 ml (1/3 oz) carrier oil or unscented lotion.
Apply sparingly to a small area.
Product Suggestions Featuring Helichrysum
Precautions: Not for use during pregnancy or breast feeding, or on children under 12. As with
all essential oils, consult your physician before using especially if you have
epilepsy or seizures or are on medication, particularly anti-coagulants.