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Immortelle (Helichrysum italicum)
Immortelle, Helichrysum italicum G. Don (Compositae), is a shrub commonly found in dry, sandy and stony areas of Mediterranean regions. In the eastern part of the Mediterranean a reddish oil is distilled, whereas in the French and Italian Alps a blue-green oil is distilled. Immortelle (Helichrysum italicum) is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and antimicrobial activity.
Essential Oil of Immortelle
(Helichrysum italicum var serotinum - "Immortelle" or "Everlasting")
Immortelle as a herb has been revered since the time of Homer and the ancient Greeks for its great wound healing ability.
Helichrysum italicum G. Don (Compositae) is a shrub with yellow flowers, native to Europe and widespread in the Mediterranean regions, which grows in arid, sandy and stony areas. The flowering tops find application in folk medicine, for their anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, and in cosmetics for treatment of skin sunburn and erythema (Nostro, et al., 2001).
Through phytochemical studies several constituents have been isolated and identified from H. italicum, among them essential oils, acethophenone, phloroglucinol and flavonoids. In the eastern part of the Mediterranean a reddish oil is distilled, whereas in the French and Italian Alps a blue-green oil is distilled.
Fifteen years ago French aromatherapists started to distill several variations and investigated possible therapeutic uses of this oil. After having experimented with many types of everlasting oils, aromatherapists found one variety, Helichrysum italicum variety serotinum, with absolutely extraordinary healing qualities, but only if the oil is distilled from the flower alone.
Along with Frankincense, Myrrh, Spikenard, and Rose, Helichrysum ranks as one of the most ancient and valuable healing substances. It is said to heal physical and emotional scarring, opens the heart, connects body and spirit and opens human beings to spiritual life.
Uses in Natural Skin Care:
Immortelle, or Helichrysum, essential oil has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory, cell-regenerating, pain reducing, calming, uplifting proparties and is possibly a liver stimulant.
It can be added to a carrier oil and applied to stretch marks, acne scars, surgical scars, and wounds of all kinds. Immortelle is used in skin care products for its skin-rejuvenating properties and its soothing effects on sensitive and inflamed skin.
Traditional Medicinal Uses:
Helichrysum is used for healing scar tissue, whether from a recent wound, operation, or tissue that has been scarred for years. It stops bleeding, promots scab formation and tissue to repair.
The anti-inflammatory and tissue regenerating properties of Helichrysum aid in the repair of swollen or weak veins and is beneficial in some cardio-vascular conditions.
Immortelle helps in detoxification from alcohol, drugs and nicotine, releasing the body and mind from addictive patterns. Helichrysum's ability to heal emotional scarring, enhance the flow of subtle heart energy and connect the body with spirit makes it an invaluable aid for spiritual growth.
Species of the genus Helichrysum are also known for their antimicrobial activity. Recent studies have demonstrated that the ethanol extracts from H. armenium, graveolens, plicatum and H. italicum were active against Staphylococcus aureus. Some authors reported the sensitivity of Gram positive bacteria to dichloromethane extract from H. aureonitens and H. stoechas. In a previous comparative study on the antimicrobial properties of plant extracts, we showed that H. italicum diethyl ether extract gave the best antimicrobial activity against S. aureus (Nostro, et al., 2001).
Antonia Nostro, Giuseppe Bisignano, Maria Angela Cannatelli, Giuseppe Crisafi, Maria Paola Germanò and Vittorio Alonzo (2001) Effects of Helichrysum italicum extract on growth and enzymatic activity of Staphylococcus aureus. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. 17(6), 517-520.
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Susan and Danny practice Western herbal medicine, Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Remedial body therapies at their private practice in the lower Blue Mountains, West of Sydney.
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