Helichrysum Essential Oil

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Helichrysum essential oil is a well renowned and popular essential oil obtained from helichrysum flowers. This oil is excellent for healing scars and sports injuries. It has been studied extensively for its health benefits and thus it has many uses. In aromatherapy, it is used to induce feelings of comfort and security. There are different varieties of Helichrysum flowers, so there are slight differences in their essential oils too.



Source

Helichrysum essential oil comes from one of the several flowering species in Helichrysum. The most commonly used flower is the Helichrysum italicum. There are other varieties of Helichrysum that are worthy of extracting an essential oil although they are generally not used, like Helichrysum cymosum and Helichrysum arenarium. This essential oil is prepared by steam distillation. However, it has to meet certain standards before it is accepted as helichrysum essential oil.

helichrysum italicum for making helichrysum essential oil
helichrysum italicum for making helichrysum essential oil ( Photo credit : duncanh1 )

The plant helichrysum has religious significance in Greek culture. It also has many medicinal uses. Helichrysum is a combination of two Greek works, helisso ( means turning around ) and chrysos ( gold ). It grows in Africa and the Mediterranean.

Helichrysum essential oil is known by other names like Everlasting oil and Immortelle oil.



Standards

This essential oil may be adulterated with other aromatic plants that smell like helichrysum. The 100 % pure and undiluted helichrysum essential oil is made fully from the flowers of Helichrysum italicum ( also Helichrysum angustifloium ). It should contain a specific compound called neryl acetate in concentration more than 25 %. This compound is sensitive to climatic factors at the time of picking the flowers, therefore it needs a high degree of quality and technological equipment to control the process. Helichrysum plants are monitored and plucked when the climatic conditions are just right. The essential oil extracted should be analysed by chromatography and lots that have lower amount of neryl acetate should be discarded. That is pure helichryum essential oil.

Properties

Helichrysum Essential Oil
Helichrysum Essential Oil (Image:Shutterstock)

Helichrysum essential oil is brimming with useful and healing properties. It exerts a regenerative action on skin cells and has many other properties.

  • Regenerative – It promotes regrowth of skin ( also called as Cytophylactic ) [1]
  • Cicatrizant – It promotes healing of wounds and cuts.
  • Anticoagulant – It prevents coagulation of blood, which is useful for some and harmful for some others.
  • Anti-Inflammatory [2]
  • Anti-viral – It is effective against certain virus species.
  • Antispasmodic – It alleviates a spasm.
  • Antiallergenic – It is helpful in curbing allergies.
  • Antiseptic – It prevents infection in wounds.
  • Febrifuge – reduces fevers.
  • Cholagogue – Promotes the release of bile from the liver and thus improves digestion.
  • Antifungal – It is a strong fungicide.
  • Antibacterial – Kills some species of bacteria. [3]
  • Expectorant – Aids in expelling phlegm.
  • Hepatic stimulant – It stimulates the liver.
  • Splenic – It stimulates the spleen.
  • Diuretic – Promotes release of urine.
  • Mucolytic – It is mucilaginous and protects the mucus membrane of the throat and intestines.
  • Detoxifier – It promotes release of toxins.
  • Stimulant – It stimulates the various channels inside our body.
  • Nervine – Tonic for the nervous system.
  • Anti-cholesterol – It aids in maintaining a healthy cholesterol profile.
  • Anti-phlogistic – reduces inflammation associated with fevers.
  • Anti-hematoma – reduces hematoma, like blue bruises and black eyes.
  • Insecticidal, specially Antimalarial – It has been found to be effective mosquito species that causes malaria.
  • Astringent – Shrinks the skin.
  • Antioxidant – It has got a mild antioxidant capacity. [2]
  • Anti-Aging – Because of its antioxidant and cytophylactic properties, it acts as an anti-aging agent.
  • Analgesic – It relieves pain.

Color and Aroma

Helichrysum essential oil is a beautiful looking with predominant yellow color with a hint of red. This makes the oil look a bit orange. It has a wonderful sweet smell that is like burnt sugar. Its smell is fruity and like the aroma of honey. Its smell is thus very soothing for some people.

Blends Well With

In Aromatherapy, helichrysum essential oil blends with essential oil of lavender, lemon, bergamot, rosemary, cypress, juniper, neroli and geranium.

Health Benefits

Helichrysum essential oil has a plethora of health benefits. It is versatile and can be used in many home remedies.



Helichrysum essential oil for Scars

One can apply helichrysum oil on skin as a regular emollient. It has to be diluted in a base oil though. It prevents the growth of bacterial and fungal infections. However, the strongest effect is seen on scars. Helichrysum essential oil has profound scar healing capabilities. One can apply it on various kinds of scars, like box car scars, ice pick scars, keloids, acne scars, stretch marks, left over marks of injuries. This is how to use. Take about 5 ml of  a base oil, like olive oil. Add 5 drops of helichrysum essential oil. Apply it on the scar using a cotton ball. Let the oil stay there and seep into the skin. It promotes sloughing of outer skin and thus brings new skin on to the top. The collagen and elastin fibers are stimulated to fill up gaps, or tears. This heals the scars and diminishes its appearance. Within a few weeks, the scar lightens. For acne scars. one should use a non-comedogenic oil, like jojoba oil as base oil.

Sports Injuries

Sportsmen regularly face injuries that lead to hematoma. It is a pooling of blood within the soft tissues right underneath the skin due to an injury, like a fall, sprain, hard object impact. It is just a bruise. But, these can take many days to go away. One can apply helichrysum essential oil on hematoma to help it recover faster. Here too, this essential oil should be diluted in a base oil. One can use about 10 drops for an ounce of base oil. Make sure to do a patch test on healthy skin first.

Skin Diseases

Helichrysum essential oil provides relief in psoriasis and eczema. One can use a convenient, non irritating base oil like coconut oil and add a few drops of helichrysum essential oil to it. Apply this on psoriasis or eczema lesions 2 – 3 times per day. It promotes healing of lesions and reduces inflammation. It can be used in massage formulation to deal with dry, chapped skin.

Varicose Veins

Helichrysum essential oil is a powerful natural remedy for varicose veins. One should massage the legs with helichrysum oil diluted in a carrier oil, like sesame oil. This massage helps to relieve stress on the veins and reduce varicose veins.

Muscle Cramps and Pain

Helichrysum essential oil is effective in relieving muscular cramps and chronic body pain, like back pain. One should put about 20 drops of helichrysum oil in a bath tub full of warm water and take bath in this water. It provides relief from the cramps and pain. If the pain is sharp, one can massage helichrysum oil onto the painful area. It can be applied on painful joints to provide some relief from arthritis.

Anti-Aging effects

This is an area of application of helichrysum essential oil which is receiving considerable attention. It can provide powerful anti-aging benefits because of its skin regenerative capabilities. One should use it a base oil which is also applicable for anti-aging. Some of the best carrier oils for anti-aging are rosehip seed oil and pomegranate seed oil. Dilute helichrysum essential oil in rosehip seed oil and massage on the face every night. Only a small amount is needed. It can help to get rid of wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and liver spots.

Burns

Helichrysum essential oil is also helpful in treating minor burns. It exerts a soothing effect and promotes the skin to heal much faster. One can use aloe vera oil as base oil in this condition.

Tinnitus

People who suffer from tinnitus know how deeply it impacts the quality of sleep, and even the quality of life. There are not many things that are effective for tinnitus ( ringing in the ears ). Helichrysum essential oil can help in tinnitus. For this condition, dilute helichrysum essential oil and Juniper essential oil in a convenient base oil. Massage this oil on the outside of the ear, all around it. Do not put this inside the ear canal. Regular application of these oils helps to constrict the blood vessels pressing on the nerves which might be the cause of tinnitus.

Aromatherapy

Helichrysum oil is praised for its wonderful, fragrant smell which is intense. Even a few drops in the vaporizer are enough to fill a room with its aroma. It is therefore used in aromatherapy and steam baths to perform some therapeutic effects.

  • It is used to provide respiratory relief. Its aroma calms down spasms and helps to expel mucus from the throat. This helps the person breathe easily.
  • It boosts feelings of mental calmness and emotional security.
  • Its aroma can prevent air borne allergies. It is believed that this essential oil stops the allergen from creating an allergenic response in the body.
  • It improves blood circulation.
  • When used in oil packs, it stimulates the liver and spleen. It aids the liver in releasing bile and can help with gallbladder conditions.

Nervous system related pain

Helichrysum essential oil is a nervine. It is used to alleviate pain that is caused nervous issues, like neuropathy and neuritis. One should apply it all along the painful nerve. For example, in sciatica, apply helichrysum oil from the lower back down to the back of the knee upto the heel. Helichrysum essential oil reduces inflammation in the nerve and promotes it to heal. Thus the cause of nervous pain is alleviated. This is quite helpful as nerve pains are generally excruciating. They are sharp, tingling, burning and almost feel like a rush of electricity.

Helichrysum essential oil is a nice home remedy for insect bites.

Uses

Apart from its health benefits, helichrysum essential oil is used for many purposes, some of which are of commercial importance.

  • Perfumes – Its intense aroma makes it ideal for perfumes.
  • Incense sticks – Helichrysum essential oil is used in compositions for incense sticks.
  • Mosquito larvae killer – It is used in large scale applications to kill mosquito larvae and thus control their population.

Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues

Helichrysum essential oil is generally among the gentle essential oil with little side effects. In fact, many adults can use undiluted on their skin. It should not be ingested internally unless under the supervision of a trained therapist or a doctor. Helichrysum essential oil should not be used by people who are going for a surgery or who have undergone it. Its anticoagulant effects can lead to excessive bleeding during the surgery and may even prevent the post operative scar from healing.

Nutritional and Medicinal Information

Let us look at the nutrition facts of helichrysum essential oil. These are the compounds that are behind its terrific healing and regenerative properties.

Nutritional Profile and Chemical Composition of Helichrysum Essential Oil

Nutrient Percentage
Neryl acetate 26.6 %
Neryl propionate 14.1 %
γ – Curcumene 11.4 %
Roslfollol 6.4 %
Linalool 14.9 %
Limonene 5.9 %
Nerol 8.6 %
α – Terpineol 0.7 %
ar – Curcumene 1.1 %
Gualol 0.7 %

Source : 4

Nerol and its derivatives are the major compounds in helichrysum essential oil. Nerol is used in perfumes and so is neryl acetate. Neryl propionate is used in food flavorings. The curcumes are from the same class of compounds as alpha curcumene which is found in turmeric. Curcumene has a powerful anti-inflammatory activity. Linalool is a stress relieving compound. Limonene which is commonly extracted from citrus peels is used to make sanitizers, lotions and creams. It has a citrus smell. It has been identified to be effective in preventing cancer.

Antioxidant Capacity

An important property of any compound is its ORAC value ( oxygen radical absorbance capacity ). Helichrysum essential oil has an ORAC value of 1780 μ mol TE / 100 gm. This is somewhat on the lower side for an essential oil. But, it still helps the skin fight free radicals like from pollutants and in the air naturally.

Buying and Storage

Before buying helichrysum essential oil, one should make sure that it is absolutely pure and has the minimum amount of neryl acetate. It should be kept in a dark bottle away from sunlight.

References

1. Blended oil skin moisturizer and skin repairer. US 20130095196 A1
2. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Helichrysum italicum. Araceli Sala et. al.Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
3. Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of Helichrysum italicum Essential Oil and Its Terpene and Terpenoid Fractions. J. Mastelic, O. Politeo, I. Jerkovic, N. Radosevic. Chemistry of Natural Compounds
4. Chemical Composition, Plant Genetic Differences, and Antifungal Activity of the Essential Oil of Helichrysum italicum . G. Don ssp. microphyllum (Willd) Nym. ALBERTO ANGION et. al. JF025940C

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1 COMMENT

  1. Hi there,

    Thank you for such good article.

    I’d love to know bit more about the neryl acetate numbers you list. Helicrysum Italliicum has several strains, I grow it myself in the mountains in Herzegovina and our farm is 100% organic, and all the work is done by hand. Neryl acetate percentage in our oil is only 8%, however our alpha pinae is high. You havent mentioned anything about the alpha pinae which is one of the main components of the oil, esecially if medicinal properties are to be harvested from it.

    Could you tell me where did you obtain the information on the neryl a. I’d love to learn more to see how and what we can do better.

    Thank you!

    M

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