In the United States, common use of the term ‘Aromatherapy’ is a bit misleading. The practice has been given a ‘touchy-feely’, ‘soft-science’ status to the general public through mainstream media. In much of the rest of the world, however, the therapeutic use of essential oils has a more elevated, scientifically-backed status. In the realm of medical aromatherapy, Helichrysum italicum essential oil holds an important place for its extremely broad range of healing action, which can benefit individuals from many walks of life.
There are many, many species of the Helichrysum plant; it is crucial to find oil distilled from a particular variety for therapeutic use. The most potent oil is distilled from the tiny gold flower of the italicum species; the serotinum sub-species is noted by some authors as the most healing of all. Though oils from other Helichrysum species are available, their therapeutic actions are not as dramatic. To make matters more complicated, Helichrysum essential oil is also known as Immortelle’ and Everlasting’ check the Latin name to be sure of the oil’s source.
The Helichrysum flower is native to the Mediterranean, where much of the finest oil is distilled. Exceptional oils are finally being distilled in America as well; GCMS testing has shown some of these oils have possibly some of the most healing molecular structures seen in Helichrysum available today. These domestically produced oils are a great bargain compared to the imported oils, with their high therapeutic efficacy and lower costs. Wherever the origin of the oil, ensure it is therapeutic grade from a reliable supplier to obtain the most benefits.
So what are the wonderful healing effects of this oil? Helichrysum has a brilliant synergy of naturally active molecular ingredients. It is the only essential oil known to contain regenerative di-ketones’, chemicals which signal living tissues to heal themselves. A few other essential oils contain ketones, though most of these are employed in very limited applications due to safety concerns. Essential oil steam distilled from the Helichrysum flower, along with its active molecules, is extremely safe. Helichrysum also contains curcumene molecules recently being studied for their strong anti-inflammatory properties, and spasmolytic esters’ (muscle and tissue relaxants).
As Dr. Schnaubelt notes: “The pain-reducing, analgesic, and regenerative effect is unique…Generally, Helichrysum italicum works for all conditions in which inflamed tissue needs to be calmed down and regenerated.” The oil has a great variety of applications due to this broad range of action. It is regularly used for skin, muscle and connective tissue injuries and healing with profound results. Most simply, the essential oil may be applied directly to larger cuts, scrapes and even surgical incisions to speed healing (true Lavender oil works well for small wounds add a little Tea Tree in either case for a stronger anti-microbial effect).
It is an excellent remedy to have available when sports enthusiasts young and old are at play. Helichrysum is used neat’ (undiluted) on injuries such as bruises and twists that have just occurred to prevent further damage from swelling and hematoma. If applied immediately, a bruise may not even appear; if application is delayed, the oil will still speed healing. Tendonitis may be addressed with a blend of 1% Helichrysum, 1% Lemon Eucalyptus and 1% Yarrow oils in a base of Comfrey cream applied regularly to the area.
Helichrysum is included in many therapeutic blends for the skin. It is consistently noted in the aromatherapy literature as being anti-inflammatory, regenerative, and scar reducing. To treat scars, old and new, use 25 drops Helichrysum, 25 drops Rosemary Verbenone and 75 drops Calophyllum (Tamanu) in each ounce of Hazelnut oil. Apply regularly to the scar; this formula is even used for smoothing of old keloid scars over a period of six months. To futher enhance the mixture, create a base of Hazelnut and Rosehip seed oils in a 75/25 ratio. Helichrysum is used in blends to reduce stretch marks after pregnancy: Use a 3% dilution of Helichrysum oil in Hazelnut with 20% Rosehip seed as the base and apply regularly. During pregnancy, a low dilution blend (1% total essential oils) of Neroli and Cypress in Hazelnut oil is recommended to prevent the marks from occurring. Hemorrhoids may be relieved with 1% Helichrysum and 1% German Chamomile in Sesame oil. Allergic skin reactions and eczema may be calmed with 1% each Helichrysum and Blue Tansy essential oils in Hazelnut oil.
The oil’s use is described in the liturature for a wide variety of other ailments. In brief, it is chosen to support the healing of neuropathy; its regenerative properties may be helpful, and its pain-relieving action can be of great support. Use the oil at a 1-5% dilution as a massage blend for painful or tingling areas. One drop is placed on a cotton ball and put in the ear each night for two weeks to relieve tinnitus. Helichrysum can help when blended with other oils such as Spike Lavender, Peppermint and Thyme for Fibromyalgia; Arthritis pain may be relieved and circulation improved with the addition of Black Pepper and Ginger in a base of cold-pressed Sesame oil. Helichrysum acts as an anti-coagulant, and is supportive of the veins and in cases of thrombophlebitis (where vein degeneration has lead to clot formation). The antispasmodic, anticatarrhal, and decongestive actions can offer support in cases of coughs, colds and asthma. It is further used for headaches, relief of nervous tension, and exhaustion due to stress.
The spicy-floral aroma of Helichrysum is uplifting and grounding, with an effect on the psyche that may help release stuck’ emotions. According to Gabriel Mojay’s Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit’: “Those (emotions) that are most indicated are enduring resentment, half-conscious anger, bitterness of spirit, and a stubbornly negative attitude.” The essential oil is a key ingredient in massage recipes; the physical and psychological actions of the oil offer synergistic support to individuals experiencing pain. The touch of caring therapeutic massage using the wonderful properties of Helichrysum is likely to bring profound relief for many people.
So whether you’ve got energetic kids, you’re active sports enthusiast, you’re healing your skin in one of many ways, or have other muscular, nerve, joint or vascular conditions, essential oil of the Helichrysum italicum flower may bring welcome healing action. The essential oil can be used regularly and often by health professionals with its excellent safety profile.
The oil is precious the flowers only yields a small amount, though a little goes a long way (as with most essential oils). It is only used undiluted in acute cases; otherwise a dilution of 3% or less is often called for. Helichrysum is one of aromatherapy’s stand-out healing oils, coming highly recommended by many natural healers, and deserves a place in nearly everyone’s medicine chest.