History and Benefits of Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil
Helichrysum essential oil comes from the Helichrysum italicum plant, which is a member of the Asteraceae plant family, originating in the Mediterranean region. The plant is a small perennial herb with silver, hairy leaves and yellow, ball shaped flowers. It has been used for medicinal purposes for literally thousands of years, especially in countries such as Herzegovina, Bosnia, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Historical information about helichrysum is scant, although the oil does appear to enjoy a history of medicinal and culinary usage in more than one culture.Helichrysum comes from the Greek term, “Helios,” which signifies the sun, and the word, “chrysos,” which means gold.
This refers to the bright color of the flowers. In Africa, it is called, “swewjaartjie,” which is based on the belief that the flower heads last “sewe” (seven) years (jaar).The essential oil of the helichrysum plant is extracted via steam distillation of the flower petals.
What is Steam Distillation?
Steam distillation is a specific type of a separation process or distillation that is used for temperature sensitive compounds, such as natural aromatic materials. At one time, it was used by scientists to purify organic compounds, but because of the invention of vacuum distillation, it is no longer used for this purpose.Extracting essential oils by steam distillation takes place three different ways:
- Straight steam
- Water distillation
- Steam/water distillation
Extracting essential oils using straight steam entails forcing steam through the plant material, then collecting the oil.
Water distillation is the method used when plant material is submerged into boiling water. The oils and steam are physically captured, then separated. Essential oils are the result.
The steam/water distillation method of essential oil extraction take place when water and steam are pushed through and around the plant material. As the oils and steam are collected, they are separated to produce the essential oil.
Uses for Helichrysum Essential Oil
Helichrysum essential oil can be effectively used in the following ways:
- Soap Making
According to Organic Facts, helichrysum essential oil can be used to both treat and prevent unwanted or excessive body contractions. In cases where people have high cholesterol and blood that is coagulated, it can be used as an anticoagulant to provide immediate relief by liquifying or thinning the blood.
As an anti-hematic, helichrysum essential oil can be used to clear accumulated blood, or blood clots, which appear as the aftermath of hemorrhaging. It works by simulating the enzymes produced by the body that melt away clots. It can also be used in case of an allergenic emergency.
Fever is a symptom that indicates when the immune system is combating an infection or unwanted substance. It accompanies viral infections, colds, baacterial infections and infections from wounds, biols, pox, arthritis or allergic reactions.
Helichrysum essential oil helps to both cure the root cause of the fever, but also works to reduce the fever itself.
As an anti-phlogistic, helichrysum oil can be used to reduce inflammation that sometimes results from a fever. It also helps combat the fatigue that is sometimes associated with fevers. Helichrysum's anti-inflammatory properties work to provide relief from inflammation due to a number of causes, including fever.
People who have a continuous cough can benefit by using helichrysum essential oil, because it is an antitussive. It works best on the types of coughs stimulated by phlegm found in the respiratory tract, as well as those coughs generated by an itchy sensation in the throat. The latter type of cough is caused by infections.
As an expectorant, the oil provides warmth to the respiratory system to loosen phlegm deposits, and prevents new phlegm from being deposited, providing relief from congestion that shows as a sign of illness or infection, or from continuous coughs.
Helichrysum essential oil can help keep the human nervous system in check by strengthening and protecting it from disorders. Its regular use can protect against the types of nervous disorders that occur as people age, and can help reduce anxiety and stress levels.
When cuts and wounds occur on the human body, helichrysum essential oil not only works to heal the wounds quickly. It also helps to heal scars. As an antimicrobial, the oil inhibits the growth of microbes, and protects the body against infection.
It works as an antiseptic to prevent wounds from becoming septic.
As a cholagogue, the essential oil of helichrysum helps neutralize stomach acids, and promotes the release of bile into the stomach. This works to promote digestion and to reduce the symptoms of acidosis.
People who have dry, itchy skin can help make it smooth by using helichrysum essential oil. Its emollient properties helps keep the skin soft and smooth as it helps it to retain moisture.
The oil prevents cracking of the skin and other symptoms of dehydration.
As a fungicidal, helichrysum oil prohibits fungal infections.
As a diuretic, helichrysum oil acts to facilitate urination, both in quantity and in frequency. This help remove toxic substances from the blood. It can also lower the blood pressure, help with weight loss, eliminate fat and aid in digestion. The oil also works as a splenic, to help keep the spleen healthy, and is especially beneficial for those suffering from anemia.
Cell health is enhanced through the use of helichrysum essential oil, which encourages the recycling of dead cells, and the stimulation of new cell production. As a hepatic, it soothes the liver, regulates its discharges, reduces inflammation and protects it from infections.
Helichrysum Essential Oil is often blended with the Following Oils:
- Ylang Ylang
- Petit Grain
Allergens and Precautions
People who have a continuous cough can benefit by using helichrysum essential oil, because it is an antitussive. It works best on the types of coughs stimulated by phlegm found in the respiratory tract, as well as those coughs generated by an itchy sensation in the throat…