The helichrysum plant is a member of the sunflower family with the oil being steam distilled from its deep yellow flowers. Its name comes from helios (sun) and chrysos (gold). It is also known as “immortelle” or “everlasting” because the blooms do not wither and the vibrant colour remains even if they are picked and dried. The oil itself also has a super long shelf life.
Due to its rarity, helichrysum essential oil can be one of the most expensive oils around. However, because of its stunning array of health benefits, it’s also one of the most useful to have in your arsenal.
An important note to make here is that there are many different helichrysum species, each with a distinct chemistry and set of therapeutic properties (we’ll be reviewing Helichrysum italicum, Helichrysum gymnocephalum, Helichrysum bracteiferum a little later). But to begin, let’s look at the many universal benefits helichrysum oil has to offer.
- Skin Care. It’s antiseptic and antimicrobial, so it is particularly useful in wound care. It helps speed the healing of wounds and cuts, and also minimises scarring. The oil has also been shown to reduce the appearance of bruising . It has strong emollient properties, promoting smooth, soft skin.
- Blood Health. The anticoagulant properties of helichrysum essential oil can prevent artery blockages by preventing the blood from thickening. It also helps to break up blood clots by stimulating enzymes that dissolve the clots. When used in combination with ylang-ylang essential oil, it can help lower blood pressure.
- Fever and Inflammation. Helichrysum is one of the strongest naturally occurring anti-inflammatories to be found. It can help soothe muscle tension and relieve headaches, particularly migraines. It also reduces the aches associated with fever.
- Heart Health. Helichrysum essential oil is effective in treating irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations. It is also useful for preventing and treating stroke.
- Respiratory System. Helichrysum has antitussive properties, so it helps to relieve coughs caused by excess phlegm. But it is also an expectorant, so it helps to remove the phlegm and prevents new phlegm from building up. Because it is mucolytic, it helps to thin mucous, preventing it from hardening or clogging the respiratory tracts. This oil is often useful for clearing up coughs that resist other treatments.
In addition to the many physical health benefits, helichrysum essential oil also has many emotional uses. It has been used since ancient times—often in conjunction with myrrh, spikenard, frankincense, and rose—to encourage spiritual growth and meditation. It unleashes creativity and increases the vividness of dreams. It is also helpful in resolving emotions or memories that have been suppressed.
Like most essential oils, helichrysum can be used in many different ways.
- Inhalation: Use a diffuser or simply smell an open bottle. This is particularly useful for meditation or emotion therapies.
- Topical: This is the most common way to use this oil. In most cases, helichrysum can be used undiluted. However, because it is so powerful, a little goes a long way. Diluting with a carrier oil allows you to use less oil and still reap the same benefits. It also works synergistically with many other oils, so an oil blend is another way to use less oil. Simply massage the oil or blend over the affected areas.
- Internal: Although some sources say helichrysum is safe to use internally, it must be significantly diluted (1 drop to 100 grams of liquid). Internal use should be performed with caution and is not recommended by the author.
Helichrysum Essential Oil Side Effects
Helichrysum essential oil does not seem to produce any side effects, but like many essential oils, it is not recommended for use with pregnant women or children. Some essential oils may cause irritation or allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin so it is wise to do a patch test before using regularly.