What herb would you choose in case you had a cut, a rash, acne, or even a stomachache? If you know about Helichrysum oil, then you know that all of those problems, and many more, respond to it.
Those few maladies are just a peek into the versatility of this herb. It is one of the most important herbal medicines to keep handy for treating a host of ills.
For those in the know, Helichrysum oil is a no-brainer to have in your health arsenal. Unfortunately, it is not as well-known as other herbal oils. Oils from lavender, eucalyptus, lemon grass, peppermint, oregano, and tea tree come to most people’s minds first. However, any truly valuable guide to herbal oils has to include Helichrysum.
What Is Helichrysum Oil?
The genus Helichrysum includes an estimated 600 species. One species, Helichrysum italicum, is the source of the medicinal oil of folk medicine. It is native to the Mediterranean region, where it has been used for centuries as an herbal medicine.
Currently, H. italicum is widely cultivated in Mediterranean-type climates around the world. Cultivation makes it convenient to harvest the young flowering tops for their fresh essence—i.e., their essential oils. Optimal quality of Helichrysum oil requires that the herb be steam distilled within 24 hours of harvest, then stored in airtight dark containers.
Without such careful processing, essential oils such as those from Helichrysum often dry out or degrade through oxidization in air.
Uses for Helichrysum Oil
Historically, Helichrysum oil was used primarily for healing wounds and sores and for treating fever, chest discomfort, and coughs. Fast-forward to the present and a more complete list of its uses now include the following:
- Skin inflammation
- Wound healing
- Indigestion and acid reflux
- Liver diseases
- Gallbladder disorders
- Inflammation of the muscles and joints
And that’s not all!
Because of its well-known benefits for skin health, Helichrysum oil is also a popular ingredient in herbal skincare products.
When added to cosmetics, it helps to moisturize skin and to reduce the appearance of age spots and discoloration.
Moreover, it is so gentle on skin that it is even recommended for children.
Depending on what benefits you want, you can use Helichrysum oil in any of the following ways:
Aromatherapy: Either sniff an open bottle directly or put 3-4 drops into a diffuser or steam bath.
Topically: Mix the oil with a carrier such as coconut oil or olive oil and massage it into your skin.
Internally: Add one drop of the oil to four ounces of liquid and drink it down.
Cautions About Helichrysum Oil
Helichrysum oil is generally safe. However, since it is an anticoagulant, it is best avoided immediately prior to or after surgery.
In addition, Helichrysum oil may trigger colic or stomach cramps in people who have gallstones. The oil stimulates bile flow, which can be problematic if you have a blocked bile duct.
Based on its traditional and modern uses (2014), Helichrysum oil is a valuable addition to your herbal medicine chest. Get some and keep it on hand for whenever the need arises.
Sooner or later it will come in handy.