Are you ready to take your essential oil collection to the next level?
Feeling like you’re ready for an “advanced” oil?
It’s time to learn about helichrysum essential oil. This is one of those oils that’s less commonly discussed than the likes of lavender or sandalwood, and really, it’s a shame. If you’re interested in skin care even a tiny bit, this is an oil you need to get friendly with, and quick.
Let’s learn why:
What is Helichrysum Oil?
It’s important to understand that the word helichrysum actually refers to a genus of plants—in which there are somewhere around 600 different species. So when someone says “helichrysum oil,” that’s not anywhere near specific enough.
When you buy helichrysum oil, what you’re actually getting is the essential oil of the helichrysum italicum plant species. In some rare cases you may find essential oil made from the helichrysum splendidum variety, but unfortunately this species hasn’t had much modern research. This post will focus on the italicum variety since it’s (by far) the most popular and well researched version of helichrysum oil.
Sorry for the botany lesson, but it’s important to know these things!
Helichrysum italicum (henceforth just “helichrysum”) is a flowering plant that grows naturally in the Mediterranean region. This hardy plant thrives in dry conditions, often spotted growing even in rocky or sandy ground, which is probably where its nickname came from: immortelle (immortal).
Helichrysum has been used in traditional and homeopathic medicine for centuries. In fact, its use goes back so far that researchers aren’t really sure when people started using it. What we do know is that helichrysum has effective anti-inflammatory, astringent, and fungicidal properties.
Studies like this one have confirmed what traditional healers have known since time immemorial: helichrysum is a powerful healing agent.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the major benefits of helichrysum oil:
Helichrysum Oil Soothes Skin
Helichrysum oil has components capable of not only fighting off bad bacteria, but also reducing inflammation of the skin. These compounds—unique terpene compounds and flavonoids—are excellent for encouraging skin healing and soothing minor skin rashes. Helichrysum is an anti-allergen as well, making it an ideal choice to soothe and discourage skin hives.
That’s just the beginning. If you or someone you know has acne, this next bit is huge: acne sufferers who have sensitive skin often find themselves in a very tough situation. They want to be rid of their acne (obviously), but often get ridiculously bad side effects including very dry skin, redness, skin sensitivity, and so on.
Since helichrysum oil doesn’t dry out the skin, its antibacterial and antioxidant properties work as all-natural acne fighters. Studies have shown it to be an effective tool against acne for those who have sensitive skin and/or suffer from negative side effects caused by chemical acne medications.
Helichrysum Essential Oil Can Help Digestion and Reduce Bloating
When consumed safely, helichrysum—either from the leaves of the flower or as an essential oil—is a diuretic. Basically, this means that it makes you have to go to the bathroom (and sometimes, that’s a good thing).
Once consumed, the compounds within the helichrysum will encourage the gastric “juices” in your stomach. Your body needs these juices to break down nutrients. The better you can break things down, the less likely you are to feel bloated or suffer from indigestion.
In traditional medicine, helichrysum is used to soothe stomach aches and reduce bloating. This can be done with a tea made from dried helichrysum flowers, or with the essential oil. A single drop in a glass of warm water can work wonders.
Helichrysum Oil Fights Unwanted Bacteria and Pathogens
Studies like this one have shown that Helichrysum may be a powerful tool against unwanted bacteria or pathogens. Bacteria can affect the skin, mouth, intestines, and yes, “down there.”
While we don’t recommend helichrysum oil as your only tool against unwanted bacteria or pathogens—at least not until we have more scientific studies—we do know enough to say that it can be used as a preventative measure.
Next, we’ll discuss some of the ways you can put helichrysum to work in your daily life with a few easy DIY projects.
Easy DIY Helichrysum Oil Skin Soothing Blend
We’ve established that helichrysum oil is great for your skin. If you have just a couple other oils in your collection, you can make a quick ‘n easy blend that can tremendously soothe…
- Poison oak/ivy skin irritation
- Shaving rashes/redness
- Minor rashes
- Minor hives
Combine helichrysum oil, lavender oil, and just a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil with a skin-nourishing carrier oil like coconut oil or almond oil. If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you should already know why lavender oil is so awesome. The peppermint oil will provide a cooling sensation for the irritated skin. Of course, the helichrysum will work its magic and
Note that this concoction is also useful to promote healthy healing of damaged areas of the skin. Scars or blemishes can be reduced noticeably with regular daily application. You can leave out the peppermint oil if you don’t want/need the cooling sensation.
Take a Helichrysum Oil Bath for Muscle Relaxation, Enhanced Mood, and Skin Nourishment
If you enjoy the aroma of helichrysum, you have to try it in a bath. Since helichrysum is so good for your skin, an infused bath will make sure to nourish every inch of you. There’s other benefits too, namely muscle relaxation and mood enhancement. This is also a great way to soothe skin irritations and minor rashes.
If you remember the post published on the blog about a year ago, you know that there’s a bit more to enjoying a proper essential oil bath than just dropping your oils in the water. If you haven’t yet, make sure to read our post Relaxing & Fun Recipes: How to Make the Perfect Essential Oil Infused Bath.
Here’s the Cliff’s notes: adding helichrysum or any other essential oil directly to the bath won’t provide an optimal experience because the oil won’t properly mix with the water. Mix your oil with unscented castile soap to help it properly disperse. The difference is huge.
Helichrysum Oil Safety Precautions
Helichrysum oil—that’s helichrysum italcum specifically—is generally considered to be remarkably safe, even among essential oils. Mild allergic reactions or minor side effects have only been recorded rarely.
Having said that, please do follow your usual set of safety precautions with this oil, especially when using it for the first time. Use a small amount of diluted helichrysum oil on a patch of skin on the back of your hand and wait a half hour or so before using it anywhere else on your body.
If you want to use helichrysum oil internally (e.g., a drop or two in a glass of warm water to reduce bloating), make sure you only ever use small, recommended amounts—this is true of any essential oil.
If you’re pregnant or nursing, be sure to get cleared by your doctor before using any essential oil internally or externally.
Will You Try Helichrysum Essential Oil?
As always, I hope that you’ve found this post in our “Everything You Need to Know About…” series helpful and educational. We hope to begin exploring some of the more “obscure” oils like helichrysum so that you can expand your collection with more uniquely lovely oils.
Remember, a lot of these posts have been written at the behest of readers like you, so don’t hesitate to let us know if there’s a particular oil you’d like to see covered.
Until next time, happy oiling!