Helichrysum, or the “everlasting flower” as it is sometimes called, is an essential oil superstar. The oil is an anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antispasmodic, antifungal, anticoagulant, antimicrobial, antiseptic … the list goes on. Helichrysum is a highly versatile oil that makes a great addition to anyone’s essential oil collection (or first aid kit).
With an aroma that is a bit earthy and a bit herby, helichrysum oil is refreshing, grounding, and soothing. Helichrysum offers an array of benefits from anti-aging skincare, to muscle relief and wound healing, to improving digestion.
Helichrysum essential oil can be a bit elusive, but it has been in the shadows for far too long. We’ve put together this guide to help you learn about this oil and how to incorporate it into your routine.
The History of Helichrysum
Helichrysum essential oil comes from Helichrysum italicum, a flowing plant in the daisy family. These flowers grow around the Mediterranean and are named after the Greek “Helios,” or sun, and “chrysos,” which translates to gold.
The Helichrysum flower was well-known in ancient Greece for its beauty, as well as its medicinal properties. It is thought that these flowers were once dried and arranged as an offering to the Greek Gods. Additionally, the plants and their oil have been used across Europe and Africa for centuries to help heal wounds and treat various illnesses. The aromatic leaves were also burned as incense.1
Sometimes called the curry plant, helichrysum is occasionally used as an herb in Mediterranean cooking. The flavor is different from the curry common in Indian cuisine; the bright yellow coloring of the helichrysum flowers actually gives the plant this nickname. The flowers produce very little oil and are often harvested when they are very young to be steam distilled.
Today, helichrysum is commonly harvested in Croatia and around the Mediterranean. The essential oil, which boasts an impressively long shelf life, is primarily used in cosmetic and skincare products or in various medicinal salves and creams. The flowers continue to be a favorite to add to dried floral arrangements, and the oil can still be used in a diffuser for aromatherapy.
There are quite a few naturally occurring chemicals present in helichrysum that allow it to be classified as a renewing essential oil.
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Helichrysum oil is made up of several esters, most predominantly Neryl acetate, which is known to promote relaxation and can have a calming effect on mood. Esters may also help reduce the appearance of acne, making helichrysum a great addition to daily skincare.
Alpha-pinene is also known for being incredibly beneficial for skin health. Its presence in the composition of helichrysum oil helps prevent oily skin and remove blemishes while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As you may have been able to tell from its name, Alpha-pinene also provides Helichrysum with a light scent of pine.
Many other chemical components make up the unique structure of helichrysum essential oil. They include:
- 1, 8-cineole
Uses for Helichrysum Essential Oil
From ancient Greece to today, helichrysum has been used for a multitude of purposes from cosmetics to the common cold. The leaves and flowers of the plant are used in cooking and decoration, but the real power of the “everlasting flower” lies in the oil it produces. There are plenty of ways to use helichrysum essential oil—some of the most common ones are highlighted below.
Improves Appearance of Skin
Helichrysum’s claim to fame is its magnificent contribution to skincare. The oil is gentle enough for sensitive skin but powerful enough to help reduce facial oils, especially around the nose or on the forehead. Furthermore, the astringent and antibacterial properties of the oil make it an effective treatment for acne. The diketones in helichrysum oil may even help reduce the appearance of age spots, sun damage, and other skin discolorations.3
Helichrysum oil can be incredibly moisturizing (even while clearing up oily skin). When mixed with a carrier oil, helichrysum can be applied to the face, hands, elbows, feet, or other areas where the skin is dry and cracked.
Some consider helichrysum oil to be a Fountain of Youth—after all, there has to be a reason the flower is also called “everlasting.” One of the biggest benefits of helichrysum oil is its ability to slow and even reverse signs of aging. The oil works through high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help repair and restore cells and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots while reviving dull skin.4 Try mixing helichrysum essential oil with a carrier oil that is also known to rejuvenate the skin for maximum results.
Helichrysum does not simply treat the cosmetic signs of aging but can be an effective pain reliever. It’s no secret that our bodies ache more as we age, and thankfully, the power of the everlasting flower can be an effective, natural treatment.
The oil can provide relief from muscle cramps when used topically. The anti-inflammatory properties in helichrysum are responsible for the relief the oil provides.5 It increases circulation while decreasing swelling, which allows muscle tissue and joints to heal.
For pain relief with added relaxation, try adding Helichrysum to a massage oil, and apply topically to the affected area. Alternatively, add a few drops of this oil to a bath to help soak pain away. Spikenard is one of the three main ingredients in MONQ’s relieve personal essential oil diffuser that can help your aches and pains.
Heals Skin Irritations
Find a home for Helichrysum in your medicine cabinet. This essential oil has antibiotic and antifungal properties that make it an effective treatment for various skin irritations.6 Helichrysum oil can treat and prevent fungal growths such as athlete’s foot or ringworm. It can also treat irritations like rashes and hives, eczema, psoriasis, and shaving bumps.
Applying helichrysum to a scrape, cut, or other wounds can clean the area and promote healing.7 The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties in helichrysum oil can also prevent infection in an open wound.
If a wound is already closed, helichrysum oil can still be beneficial. This essential oil helps reduce skin discoloration, including the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Helichrysum oil can also make blue bruises appear lighter, help heal black eyes, and promote regrowth of healthy skin.8
Helichrysum essential oil is also an effective way to relieve pain from a sunburn. The oil provides needed hydration to burnt skin and can even reduce signs of aging caused by extended sun exposure or damage from UV rays. Be sure to mix with a carrier oil such as aloe vera to prevent skin irritation.
Provides Cough and Cold Symptom Relief
As an expectorant and a mucolytic, helichrysum essential oil is a great option for the treatment of a cough, cold, flu, and even allergy symptoms. When used aromatically in a diffuser or humidifier, helichrysum helps thin excess and hardened mucus and promotes its removal from the body. The antibacterial properties of the oil may prevent sinus infection or shorten the time of illness.
Helichrysum oil can provide relief from irritating or chronic coughs by removing phlegm, supporting the health of the mucous membranes and reducing itchiness in the throat. The oil also provides warmth to the respiratory system and can prevent throat and chest spasms that may lead to a cough.
Colds and flu are often accompanied by uncomfortable fevers. Helichrysum can help treat fever to lower internal body temperature. The oil is antiphlogistic, meaning it can reduce fever as well as the frequency of fever.
This essential oil offers anti-allergenic properties that ward off common allergens when added to cleaning solutions or when diffused. Keep air-borne allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander at bay by diffusing helichrysum oil or mixing with water and spraying around the house.
Using helichrysum essential oil for respiratory relief is best done through aromatic use. Try mixing a few drops of oil into a humidifier or diffuser and breathe deeply. Alternatively, boost the power of shower steam by placing a few drops of helichrysum oil at the bottom of the tub before showing.
The earthy, somewhat piney scent of helichrysum can be grounding. The aroma promotes calm feelings and can be restorative in emotional healing. Using Helichrysum oil in a massage or in the bath is known to reduce stress and encourage a positive mood.
Try helichrysum oil as a natural stress-reliever. Diffuse at home or enjoy the benefits of essential oils anywhere with a portable oil diffuser. Mix with other others like lavender, frankincense, and myrrh for added relaxation as you breathe deeply and exhale your worries away.
Safety and Precautions
As is the case with most essential oils, helichrysum is perfectly safe for healthy adults who use the oil as directed. In fact, helichrysum poses few side effects and is approved for long-term use. There are a few cautions to be aware of, however, before including helichrysum oil in your daily routine.
When using Helichrysum oil topically, always dilute using a carrier oil or lotion. For instance, add a couple of drops to a night cream to take advantage of helichrysum’s benefits for the healthy skin. Be sure to avoid the eye area and seek medical attention if helichrysum oil gets into the eyes. Always test a new oil such as helichrysum, on a small patch of skin to ensure no irritation or an allergic reaction occurs.
Because the oil has not been extensively studied for use on pregnant women and infants, it is best to talk to your doctor or avoid using helichrysum oil when pregnant or breastfeeding.
While helichrysum essential oil can be effective at treating wounds, it is best to see a medical professional for serious injuries and illnesses, including but not limited to, deep cuts, puncture wounds, rashes, and advanced fungal infections.
Furthermore, the anticoagulant functions of the oil can be harmful to those who have undergone surgeries or are otherwise at risk for internal bleeding. A doctor may be able to recommend helichrysum as part of a comprehensive recovery plan, but the oil won’t replace stitches or prescription-grade antibiotics. If in doubt, schedule a doctor’s appointment.
Helichrysum is a superstar when it comes to essential oils—it’s time we treat it like the champion it is! A few drops of this oil can accomplish so much. Helichrysum helps heal wounds, treats illnesses and infections, boost mood, and act as an all-around great addition to skincare routines.
Try this essential oil topically for benefits to the skin, or add it to an aromatherapy mix for a grounding, relaxing experience. Use alongside any of MONQ®’s personal essential oil diffusers for portable relaxation that’s just a breath away.