The essential oil of Helichrysum is relatively unknown
in the United States, though interest in this natural healing phenomenon is
growing, and with very good reason. Helichrysum is one of the most potent,
dramatically healing essential oils used in medical aromatherapy today. As
noted in ‘Medical Aromatherapy: Healing With Essential Oils’, the effects of
this oil are “so convincing” as to have “never met with any kind of
criticism.” What is this little known oil, where does it come from, and what
are its healing actions? Let’s have a look!
With so many species of Helichrysum grown, and several essential oils
distilled from these, it is important to recognize the most important of the
therapeutic varieties. It is the ‘italicum’ species of the Helichrysum plant
that is mentioned with highest regard in the aromatherapy literature;
moreover, the ‘serotinum’ sub-species may be the most potent. When looking
for the oil, be sure it is 100% pure, undiluted, Helichrysum italicum for
The Helichrysum flower is native to the Mediterranean, where much of the
finest oil is distilled. Because of the growing popularity of the oil,
outstanding varieties are now being produced in the United States, with
laboratory test results showing exceptionally high concentrations of the
principal active constituents – as high or higher than even the fine
European varieties. These domestically produced oils are a great bargain
compared to the imported oils, with their high therapeutic efficacy and
lower costs. Whichever source you choose, be sure it is pure Helichrysum
italicum essential oil you use for therapeutic purposes.
By now you’re likely asking: “So what does it DO?” Ah, well, a great many
things! Helichrysum italicum is a unique essential oil in its distinct
synergy of molecular components. It is the only oil known to contain safe
but powerful regenerative di-ketones. Its curcumene components have been
studied for their anti-inflammatory action; further, the oil contains what
are known as ‘spasmolytic esters’ which cause tissues to relax. Relaxing,
anti-inflammatory and regenerative – a wonderful combination in a single
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 and fitness
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 found in many recipes for healing and supporting skin health.
It is found often as a primary component to reduce the appearance of acne
and keloid scars: use 1 milliliter Helichrysum and 1 milliliter Rosemary c.t.
Verbenone in each ounce of a 25/75 blend of Rosehip seed and Hazelnut oils.
While older scars may take up to six months of application, the effects are
said to be surprisingly dramatic. Stretch marks post-partum and after
significant weight loss may also be reduced using the same blend.
Helichrysum essential oil has been used for a great many other conditions.
Briefly, the oil is employed to ease symptoms of neuralgia; 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. It may offer support for other physical conditions such as
fibromyalgia and arthritis in a similar blend - other warming oils may be
added for improved circulation (Black Pepper and Ginger are often used, in a
base of Sesame). 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. One drop is
placed on a cotton ball and put in the ear each night for two weeks to
relieve tinnitus. It is further used for headaches, relief of nervous
tension, and exhaustio!
n due to stress. Ask your healthcare provider if Helichrysum makes sense as
a part of your overall program for any of these ailments.
More esoterically, the oil may be used ‘aroma’ therapeutically for those
with emotional pain, and physical pain or conditions associated with the
emotional wounding. It is particularly noted to support release of deeply
rooted or stuck emotions such as enduring resentment, suppressed anger, or a
persistently bitter or negative attitude. Massage is the most healing of
modalities for employing the oil, as healing touch can affect the psyche as
much as the body. Use the oil at a low concentration in any common massage
base alone or with other soothing essential oils such as Lavender or
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. As a natural health professional,
you may employ Helichrysum regularly, as it is a safe essential oil with no
contraindications. The oil is precious – the flower 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.