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All about Helichrysum italicum essential oil

The Origin of Helichrysum italicum

About the Plant

Helichrysum italicum, commonly known as Immortelle or Everlasting, is a resilient perennial herb. It originates in the Mediterranean but is now cultivated across Europe. The plant has silver-green leaves and clusters of tiny, golden blossoms. These capture the essence of sun-drenched hillsides and coastal beauty. The botanical name, italicum, hints at its Italian origins, where it has thrived for centuries. ‘Immortelle’ refers to the plant’s ability to survive the harsh, mountainous conditions. This species is also sometimes known as ‘Curry Plant’. This refers to the curry-like aroma of some varieties.

Botanical Family

Helichrysum italicum belongs to the Asteraceae family. This family includes other well-known plants like sunflowers and camomile. It’s worth noting that whilst there are many species of Helichrysum, only a few of these produce an essential oil. Helichrysum italicum should not be confused with the other oil-producing species. Helichrysum ‘gymnocephalum’, bracteiferum’ and ‘splendidum’ plants all yield an essential oil but the oils from these species have a very different chemical profile. These oils have a different range of therapeutic properties and therefore cannot be used interchangeably with the italicum types.

If a recipe or blend calls for ‘Helichrysum’ it’s likely that the italicum type is intended. Throughout this article we will refer to Helichrysum italicum simply as ‘Helichrysum’.

Cultural Significance

In the sun-drenched lands of the Mediterranean, Helichrysum italicum is deeply embedded in cultural practices and traditions.

Symbol of Everlasting Love

Helichrysum italicum holds a special place in ceremonies celebrating love and life. In Mediterranean cultures, the vibrant golden blossoms are often incorporated into weddings. They symbolise eternal love and the enduring nature of commitment.

Celebrations of Life

Beyond weddings, the Immortelle flower takes centre stage in celebrations of life. Its presence in festivals and gatherings speaks to the cultural reverence for the cycle of life. The everlasting quality of the blossoms serves as a reminder of the resilience and continuity of life’s journey.

Herbal Remedies and Skincare Traditions

The cultural significance of Helichrysum italicum extends to its practical applications. Communities in the Mediterranean have incorporated the plant into herbal remedies and skincare traditions for generations. Its therapeutic properties make it a trusted ally in promoting skin health and overall well-being. The name Immortelle also applies rather aptly to the popularity of this oil in anti-ageing skincare formulations.

Symbolism in Art and Literature

Artists and writers in the Mediterranean are captivated by the beauty and symbolism of Helichrysum italicum. The golden blossoms find their way into paintings, literature, and poems. They have, become a metaphor for resilience, immortality, and enduring beauty.

Chemistry

Key Constituents

Helichrysum italicum contains a diverse array of constituents. Each of these components contributes to the oil’s unique properties.

  • Neryl Acetate: Known for its sweet, fruity aroma, neryl acetate lends a delicate floral note.
  • α-Pinene: This compound contributes to the fresh, pine-like scent of Helichrysum, adding a touch of crispness.
  • γ-Curcumene: γ-curcumene brings a hint of spiciness to the oil, complementing its warm and herbaceous notes. It is recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties,
  • Italidiones: These unique compounds are exclusive to Helichrysum italicum. They play a significant role in its potential therapeutic applications, particularly in skincare.

Therapeutic Potential

The rich chemical profile of Helichrysum italicum underpins its reputation as a powerhouse in aromatherapy.

  • Anti-Inflammatory: γ-curcumene, among other compounds, is associated with anti-inflammatory properties. This makes Helichrysum italicum a sought-after choice for difficult or troublesome skin.
  • Antioxidant: The oil’s antioxidant properties contribute to its potential in combating oxidative stress. This is a common factor in the aging process and accounts for the oil’s popularity in anti-ageing skincare.
  • Skin-Nourishing: Italidiones, in particular, are believed to offer skin-nourishing benefits. This makes Helichrysum italicum a valuable addition to skincare formulations.

Aroma

The aroma of Helichrysum italicum can be described as a symphony of warmth, herbaceous freshness. It has a subtle sweetness with a touch of spice. Let’s break down its aromatic profile:

  • Warm: A comforting warmth envelopes the senses, creating a cocoon of relaxation. This characteristic makes Helichrysum italicum a popular choice for promoting emotional well-being.
  • Herbaceous: The herbaceous notes contribute a grounding quality. This connects the fragrance to the earthy origins of the Mediterranean hillsides where the plant thrives.
  • Sweet: A delicate sweetness softens the overall bouquet, adding a gentle and inviting quality to the aroma.
  • Slightly Spicy: A nuanced spiciness lingers in the background. This provides depth and complexity to the fragrance without overpowering the senses.

Emotional Well-being

Helichrysum italicum’s aromatic profile goes beyond mere olfactory delight; it has the potential to influence emotional well-being. The warm and grounding notes offer a sense of comfort and balance; perfect for moments of reflection and relaxation. In aromatherapy, Helichrysum italicum is often user to promote emotional resilience. Its subtle sweetness and herbaceous freshness create an uplifting atmosphere. This helps to foster a positive mental state, helping individuals navigate the challenges of everyday life.

Harvesting, production and sustainability

Helichrysum essential oil is produced from both wild grown plants and farmed crops. The finest Helichrysum italicum is said to come from the island of Corsica. Here, both wild and organically farmed variants are available.

Due to the popularity of this oil in high end skincare, production has now expanded to the mountainous regions of Croatia. The plants are carefully steam distilled using a low temperature and pressure. This yields a high quality oil with a rich and complex aroma.

Interesting facts: The price of this oil has gone up about threefold in the past 10 years. One reason for this is that a well-known skincare brand became aware of the massive benefits that this oil gives. The best oil comes from Corsica where it is now cost-effective for distillers to collect wild-growing flowers from the high mountains using helicopters!

How to use Helichrysum essential oil

From diffusion to massage, discover how this golden elixir can be integrated into your daily life. If you use herbal oils such as Clary Sage, Angelica or Camomile oils then you will enjoy Helichrysum.

Diffusion

Invigorating Atmosphere: Add a few drops of Helichrysum italicum essential oil to your diffuser to create an invigorating atmosphere. The warm, herbaceous notes will fill your space, promoting a sense of tranquility and emotional well-being. This diffusion method is perfect for unwinding after a long day.

Focus and Concentration: Harness the aromatic power of Helichrysum to enhance focus and concentration. Diffuse during work or study sessions to create a conducive environment for clarity and productivity.

Topical Application

Skincare Elixir: Blend Helichrysum italicum with a carrier oil like Jojoba or Rosehip seed oil for a nourishing skincare elixir. Apply to the face to promote skin health and reduce the appearance of blemishes. The oil’s antioxidative properties make it a valuable addition to your skincare routine.

Spot Treatment for Skin Support: For targeted skin support, apply a diluted solution of Helichrysum italicum on areas of concern. Its skin-nourishing properties can assist in promoting a clear and revitalized complexion.

Massage

Relaxing Massage Blend: Unwind with a luxurious massage blend featuring Helichrysum italicum. Mix a few drops with a carrier oil and indulge in a calming massage. The oil’s soothing properties make it an ideal choice for promoting relaxation and easing tension.

Joint and Muscle Support: Create a massage blend to support joint and muscle health. The warming sensation of Helichrysum promotes comfort and ease. Helichrysum is a valuable addition to a blend for everyday aches and pains or following exercise.

Bath

Aromatic Bath Soak: Enhance your bath experience by adding Helichrysum italicum essential oil. Blend a few drops with a carrier oil or bath salts for a luxurious soak. The aroma will envelop you, promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being.

Stress-Relief Bath Blend: Craft a stress-relief bath blend by combining Helichrysum with Lavender and Camomile. Indulge in this calming bath ritual to unwind and melt away stress.

Personal Inhalation

On-the-Go Aromatherapy: Experience the benefits of Helichrysum italicum wherever you go by creating a personal inhalation blend. Place a drop on a tissue or inhale directly from the bottle for a quick pick-me-up during the day. Or, you can use a personal inhaler stick.

Emotional Support Inhaler: Prepare an emotional support inhaler stick with Helichrysum, Bergamot, and Frankincense. Inhale this uplifting blend to navigate emotional challenges with grace.

Helichrysum Hydrosol Organic, Helichrysum italicumContraindications & General Safety

While Helichrysum italicum is generally considered safe for topical and aromatic use, it’s essential to be mindful of individual sensitivities. Perform a patch test before applying topically, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Contraindications:
Avoid direct contact with eyes.
If pregnant, nursing, or under medical supervision, consult a healthcare professional before use.

General Safety:
Dilute before applying to the skin to prevent irritation.
Store in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight.
Keep out of reach of children.

 

Blending with Helichrysum

Helichrysum italicum plays well with a variety of essential oils, offering endless possibilities for crafting aromatic blends.

Soothing Sleep Blend:
3 drops Lavender
2 drops Roman Chamomile
2 drops Helichrysum italicum

Diffuse this blend in your bedroom for a soothing atmosphere that promotes restful sleep.

Revitalizing Skincare Blend:
2 drops Helichrysum italicum
2 drops Frankincense
2 drops Rose

Dilute in a carrier oil and apply to your face for a revitalizing and nourishing skincare routine.

Focus and Clarity Blend:
3 drops Peppermint
2 drops Rosemary
2 drops Helichrysum italicum
Diffuse this blend in your workspace to enhance focus and mental clarity.

Relaxing Bath Soak:
4 drops Helichrysum italicum
3 drops Lavender
2 drops Bergamot

Add this blend to your bath for a relaxing soak that melts away stress and tension.

Uplifting Personal Inhalation:
1 drop Helichrysum italicum
1 drop Lemon
1 drop Ylang Ylang

Inhale this blend directly from the bottle for a quick mood boost throughout the day.

Remember to experiment and adjust the ratios based on your personal preferences. Blending with Helichrysum italicum allows you to tailor aromas to suit your mood and needs.

Experiences of Helichrysum essential oil

Whilst Helichrysum is often best known for its use in skincare it also has a profound effect on the psyche. It is especially suited to the relief of ’emotional bruising’. Read one customer’s experience of using Helichrysum essential oil:

I wanted to write you a note of infinite thanks. Remember all that talking we did about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Helichrysum? One of the drawbacks of being psychically sensitive and having PTSD is that no action in the physical world is required to precipitate a PTSD incident for me. Just being around violent thoughts or things that have been touched when someone is thinking violent thoughts can have this effect on me. I had such an incident last week and it was an intense one. It lasted for days, continuously intensifying. Even though I was conscious enough about it to try to control my thoughts, I was failing… and failing utterly.

Finally, days into the incident, I remembered our conversation and decided to go for the ‘big guns’ and diffuse Helichrysum. It was perfect. For the next half hour I could feel days of pent-up stress draining out of my body with each breath. The effects were incredibly dramatic. Soon after, I was able to get my spiritual perspective back and see the truth about the source of my stress and then, finally, the source of myself again. The whole renewal took about 45 minutes with incremental, noticeable improvements every moment. Quite miraculous, really!

Find out more about the delightful Helichrysum italicum essential oil with Oshadhi founder Malte Hozzel’s plant portrait:

Oshadhi’s selection of Helichrysum essential oils

Oshadhi supplies the finest Helichrysum from Corsica in organically farmed and wild-grown variants. Due to high demand for the Corsican oils the price is generally higher than oils from other sources. The Corsican oils are however chemically different due to the environmental conditions where the plants grow and have properties that are much sought-after.

https://oshadhi.co.uk/helichrysum-organic-essential-oil/

https://oshadhi.co.uk/helichrysum-wild-organic/

Helichrysum oils from Eastern Europe tend to be less costly. The chemistry is different to the Corsican oils however the properties and therapeutic effects are similar.

https://oshadhi.co.uk/helichrysum-essential-oil/

Helichrysum italicum is also available as a 3% dilution in Jojoba oil. This blend can be used directly on the skin as a facial oil or for topical use to maintain calm and healthy skin.

https://oshadhi.co.uk/jojoba-helichrysum/

In addition to the different types of Helichrysum italicum there are also a number of oils from different Helichrysum species. These oils tend to have a higher content of components such as 1,8-cineol and are therefore more commonly used to support the respiratory system. These Helichrysum essential oils cannot be used interchangeably with the italicum types however they have therapeutic value in their own right.

https://oshadhi.co.uk/helichrysum-bracteiferum-essential-oil/

https://oshadhi.co.uk/helichrysum-gymnocephalum-essential-oil/

https://oshadhi.co.uk/helichrysum-splendidum-essential-oil/