Helichrysum (Immortelle) Oil

Everlasting and Immortelle are the common names of Helichrysum that denote the eternal bliss and never ending health benefits of these sunshine flowers to mankind. Scientifically known as Helichrysum italicum, this plant is a limb of the sunflower family Asteraceae. The essential oil is extracted from the bright yellow flowers by steam distillation method.

As one of the most desired essential oil, Helichrysum is known to heal a wide range of illnesses in this civilized world and may seem to be a vital part of the modern Aromatherapy. But the miracle is that it has been traditionally used to heal various health disorders in Ayurveda before 5,000 years including bronchial irritation, scavenging of free radicals, sprains, inflammation, digestive problems, scars, sports injuries, skin problems and certain other serious injuries also.

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Historical uses of Helichrysum: The name Helichrysum is derived from the Greek words ‘Helios’ meaning Sun and ‘Chrysos’ meaning Gold. It is indigenous to South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Spain and Italy. There are about 250 species of Helichrysum plant that dwell in South Africa.

Helichrysum has been carved in the history as an excellent traditional medicine and as a culinary plant used in various cultures. Holmes says about Helichrysum as “the plant has been used in herbal medicine since ancient Greece”. He also says that the essential oil of Helichrysum has “a deeply-saturated sweet, green floral scent”.

Helichrysum is known as Geelsewejaartjie in Africa which means that these bright yellow flowers last for seven years when kept in the house. It is used as a potent traditional medicine in South Africa for treating rheumatism and is also used in potpourri for its lasting fragrance. The petals of Helichrysum flowers were used as a strewing herb in Europe during the medieval period.

This herb has been used as an effective remedy in folk medicine for healing scars and other major skin problems due to aging. With a curry-like quality, Helichrysum is used in Italy for flavoring sauces and in many other food items.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Helichrysum essential oil: The significant chemical components of Helichrysum essential oil are 1,4 and 1,8-cineole, camphene, terpinen-4-ol, caryophyllene, a-pinene, myrcene, linalool, nerol, limonene, eugenol, b-diketones, neryl acetate, b-pinene, geraniol, flavonol glycosides and b-bisabolene.

These constituents contribute to its remedial values like expectorant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-allergenic, nervine, cytophylactic, vulnerary, cholagogue, diuretic, antispasmodic, cell-regenerative, astringent and anti-haematomal.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Helichrysum essential oil: Ayurveda is nothing but nature’s own way to health and harmony. This ancient science or knowledge of life preaches the best practices to lead a healthy life for longevity, aging in the pink and the prevention of illnesses rather its treatment alone.

Ayurvedic texts recommend the use of herbs, essential oils, yoga, physical exercises, meditation and spiritual oneness for healing humanity. It strongly states that no two human beings are same and in the much similar way their illnesses should also be treated in a unique manner rather than prescribing the same medicines for two different people even for the same illness. For this identification, Ayurveda follows the principles of the three predominant biological energies known as doshas.

These bio-energies are found throughout the human mind and body and combine together to form the unique individual constitution. Every individual has a unique combination of these doshas with the predominance of any one of these doshas, which determines their personal traits, behavior, character and physical attributes. Ayurvedic theory revolves around the core concept that health is representation of perfect balance between these three doshas namely vata, pitta and kapha.

Ayurvedic remedies are prescribed in such a way to intensify the deficit dosha or decrease the aggravated energy. Helichrysum essential oil is said to reduce pitta and kapha in excess and increase vata. It’s time to take a look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Helichrysum essential oil:

1. Excellent oil for athletes and sports injuries: Helichrysum essential oil is the most sought-after oil when it comes to sports injuries, sprains, blood clot, inflammation, bruises, micro tears, pain and muscular aches. Many a times these types of injuries cause swelling, leakage of blood from the injured capillaries, cellular damage, death of surrounding cells and damage to the connective tissues.

Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt in his book Advanced Aromatherapy says “The pain- reducing, analgesic, and regenerative effect of everlasting (Helichrysum) is unique: If applied in time, it prevents hemorrhaging. It is also very effective for joint pain. Generally, Helichrysum italicum works for all conditions in which inflamed tissue needs to be calmed down and regenerated.”

2 drops of Helichrysum essential oil blended with 1 ml of sesame oil acts as an excellent remedy for mending injuries like twists, bruises and blood clots. Massaging the affected parts with this healing blend assists in relieving pain, muscular tension, tears of muscles and ligaments. Applying it immediately after an injury aids in preventing from additional damages like hematoma and swelling. You can also add 2 drops of this oil in hot compress and rub down the painful areas.

2. Fights aging symptoms and clears acne and scars speedily: Helichrysum essential oil is said to work hundred times better than the best anti-aging creams in the market. Its ability to stimulate cellular regeneration and nurture the natural glow of the skin from within helps greatly in treating wrinkles, dark circles, uneven pigmentation and oxidative skin damages.

Aging slows the down the process of repair, cause wrinkles, encourage the growth of cutaneous problems and augment the risk of toxicological damages to the skin. Helichrysum checks aging and its adverse effects on the skin with its cytophylactic properties that assist in promoting the health of the cellular structure and encourage the production of new skin cells by supporting the recycling of dead cells.

Being a natural emollient, Helichrysum essential oil is said to retain the moisture of the skin and prevents the development of cracks and dehydration. Helichrysum essential oil is not restricted to people with aging symptoms and adverse skin conditions but it is also a proven natural remedy for fading away marks, scars and acne. This oil also heals raw chapped skin and burns. With its cicatrisant properties, Helichrysum oil speeds up the healing of wounds, cuts and other skin regularities while assisting in clearing up marks and scars including acne marks and stretch marks.

Add 2 to 3 drops of Helichrysum oil to your regular skin care cream that is mild and gentle. Massage it soothingly onto your skin and enjoy the difference of a smooth, refreshing, clean and youthful looking skin. This blend also has the power to lessen the oxidative damage caused by free radicals, tones and tightens the maturing skin that lack elasticity. Regular massaging of your skin with this medicated cream will be of great help in clearing your marks, scars and other blemishes and leave your skin glowing, supple and healthy.

3. Grants emotional support and absolute peace: The mild, invigorating and long lasting aroma of Helichrysum essential oil helps in lending an emotional support and complete peace to the mind and body. In the book ‘Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit’, Gabriel Mojay says “Those (emotions) that are most indicated…are enduring resentment, half-conscious anger, bitterness of spirit, and a stubbornly negative attitude.” 2 to 3 drops of Helichrysum essential oil added to burner, diffuser or aromatic lamps can work as an exceptional remedy for treating emotional and physical pain, agony, stress, fatigue and anxiety. Inhaling the sweet aroma of this oil paves way for tranquility and mental clarity.

It is considered as a sacred oil for its intense emotional and spiritual effects. Dr. Streicher says “emotionally it can help an individual get in touch with unresolved feelings, emotions that have been denied and/or buried. It is also helpful in restoring memories that have been buried deep in the past.” He also prescribes its use in psychotherapy to support a patient in dealing with emotional traumas and assists in releasing defense mechanisms.

4. Cures respiratory troubles: Helichrysum essential oil has natural expectorant, mucolytic and anti-tussive properties that witness its use as an effective natural remedy for treating cold, cough, bronchitis, asthma and sinusitis. Excess of kapha energy is responsible for cold and other respiratory problems. Helichrysum oil being a kapha suppressant aids in thinning and clearing excess mucous and phlegm deposits that block the nasal passages, bronchial passage and the respiratory tract.

Add 2 drops of Helichrysum essential oil to steam inhalation and inhale the medicated steam for instant relief from cough, blocked nose, congestion and breathing difficulties. You can also add 2 drops of this oil to your vaporub and apply it on your chest, back and throat for complete relief from respiratory problems.

5. Treats high blood pressure and heart palpitations: The essential oil of Helichrysum is said to control blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations and the risk of stroke with its anti-coagulant or blood thinning properties. A study by the University of Nigeria explored that the presence of caryophyllene and curcumene in Helichrysum essential oils assists in lowering blood pressure. Massage your body with 5 drops of Helichrysum oil blended with 2.5 ml coconut oil for regulating your blood pressure and for treating heart disorders due to increased blood pressure.

Other health benefits: Helichrysum essential oil is also effective in treating digestive problems like flatulence, ulcer, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach aches and allergic reactions in the stomach and intestines. It is also helpful in treating psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, allergies, urinary infections, wounds and fungal infections. Using this oil on a regular basis is known to stimulate digestion, support absorption, promote detoxification, lessen inflammation, enhance the immune system and strengthen the entire system from within.

Disclaimer: This article is only for educational reasons and is not recommended to diagnose or substitute professional medical advice or prescribed medicines. Never take essential oils internally. Always ensure to use essential oils in a diluted form as pure and organic essential oils are extremely concentrated liquids and can cause harm if used directly for topical application. Seek advice from your Ayurvedic professional before choosing the right essential oil for your unique individual constitution and state of health. Please be cautious in using this oil if you are pregnant or a nursing mother.

Thought for the day:

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul into. -Henry Ward Beecher

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy by Kurt Schnaubelt
  2. The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood and Emotion by Valerie Ann Worwood
  3. Natural Medicine First Aid Remedies: Self-Care Treatments for 100+ Common Conditions by Stephanie Marohn
  4. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils In Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, and Well Being by Julia Lawless

Reference Links:

  1. Helichrysum italicum by Wikipedia
  2. Helichrysum italicum by The East-West School For Herbal & Aromatic Studies
  3. Helichrysum italicum by Dr. Christoph Streicher and Sheryll Ryan
  4. Use the healing properties of Helichrysum essential oil by Natural News.com
  5. How Helichrysum italicum Essential Oil Can Bring Healing to Your Life by ArticlesFactory.com