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Why Helichrysum Essential Oil Belongs In Your Medicine Cabinet

Jul 12, 2008
The precious essential oil of Helichrysum is relatively unknown in the United States, even in natural health and wellness circles. Interest and experience with this natural healing phenomenon is growing rapidly, however - and with very good reason. Helichrysum is one of the most potent, dramatically healing essential oils used in European medical aromatherapy today. As noted by Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt, America's leading medical aromatherapist, the effects of this oil are "so convincing that it has never met with any kind of criticism." An essential oil so useful, even those who consider aromatherapy a pseudo-science do not challenge its wonderful effects! So what is Helichrysum oil, and how can it benefit the newcomer to aromatherapy?

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 healing essential oil is extracted from the small golden flowers of the Helichrysum 'italicum' species, with the 'serotinum' sub-species being the most highly regarded. 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. 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 therapeutic oil.

As Dr. Schnaubelt notes in Medical Aromatherapy: "The pain-reducing, analgesic, and regenerative effect is unique...(the oil) works for all conditions in which inflamed tissue needs to be calmed down and regenerated." Its most common use is for healing skin, muscle and connective tissue. Helichrysum may be applied directly to cuts and scrapes, perhaps with a small amount of Tea Tree oil for additional antibacterial action. It has been recommended for surgical wounds, applied beginning seven days after a procedure. Continued application may significantly reduce scar formation, and can even treat old scars of various origins (we'll get to the recipes for this shortly!)

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 also considered a cicatrisant, which means it reduces scars, both old and new. For acne scars, stretch marks, and even older keloid scars, apply a blend of 25 drops each Helichrysum and Rosemary (Verbenone chemotype) in each ounce of a 10/90 mix of Tamanu Nut and Hazelnut oils. Rosehip seed oil may be effectively be used instead of the rarer Tamanu at a 25/75 ratio with the Hazelnut oil if desired. Apply frequently - the older the scar, the longer it may take to see a change, but results have been said to be surprising even for older scars when used for a duration of six months.

Helichrysum essential oil is indicated for many other conditions, and should be discussed with your healthcare provider to see if it makes sense as an adjunct therapy. The oil may ease symptoms of neuralgia through its regenerative and analgesic properties - apply a 3% dilution of the oil in Hazelnut or Jojoba to tingling or painful areas. It may offer support for other physical conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis in a similar concentration, with added warming oils may be added for improved. Helichrysum acts as an anti-coagulant, and is supportive of the veins. It is considered effective for reducing tinnitus: a drop is placed on a cotton ball and put in the ear each night for two weeks - some recommend simply placing a drop on the pinky and massaging the ear canal. The antispasmodic and decongestive actions help with coughs, colds and asthma. It also can offer great support for stress related exhaustion and headaches.

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 Chamomile.

So as you can see, Helichrysum is well-suited to a great many individuals concerned with natural health, wellness and fitness. Whether you've got active children, you're active sports enthusiast or have one in your family, you're healing your skin or improving its appearance, or have other muscular, nerve, joint or vascular conditions, Helichrysum italicum oil may offer welcome healing action. Helichrysum can be applied regularly, as it is a safe essential oil with no contraindications. The oil is still relatively rare, and the flowers only yields a small amount, so the cost may seem a little high - but a little goes a long way. It is only used undiluted in acute situations; otherwise a low dilution is often used. Helichrysum italicum 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.
About the Author
The author is a natural health professional utilizing organic essential oils and blends.
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