It is a strongly aromatic shrub with many branched stems tat are woody at the base and can grow up to 0.6 meters high. When dried the brightly colored, daisy-like flowers retain their color and shape; – hence the name “Everlasting” or “Immortelle”. The plant grows wild and is cultivated in the south of France, Italy, former Yugoslavia and other Mediterranean countries.
There are over 600 species in the Helichrysum genus occurring in temperate regions throughout the world. The genus includes annuals, herbaceous perennials and shrubs. Helichrysum species thrive in sunshine, and enjoy growing in arid, sandy, stony areas and along mountainsides. Over 250 different species reside in South Africa. The name is derived from the Greek “helios” meaning sun and “chrysos” meaning gold, referring to the color of many of the flowers of species in this genus. The reason that Helichrsyum italicum essential oil is expensive is because one ton of hand-harvested helichrysum flowering tops yields about one kilogram of essential oil.
About The Oil
There are many species of Helichrysum, though it is only the ‘italicum’ species that is true ‘Immortelle’ or ‘Everlasting’ with the regenerative actions attributed to this wonderful oil. Further, the Corsican variety is actually considered a sub-species, noted as Helichrysum italicum spp. serotinum. The island is known for producing oils with consistently high levels of neryl acetate, which adds a floral note to the oil. Neryl acetate is an ‘ester’, considered strongly antispasmodic. Note that ALL sources from the Mediterranean are used for their therapeutic activity.
The unique natural molecular components of these Helichrysum italicum oils include anti-inflammatory alpha, beta and gamma-curcumenes (think ‘curcumin’, the anti-inflammatory extract from turmeric), and high amounts of regenerative di-ketones. While ketone-containing essential oils are generally to be avoided, the di-ketones (specifically ‘Italidiones’ in Helichrysum) are perfectly safe.
Helichrysum’s curcumenes, found in Ginger essential oil as well, are also chelators of metals from the body (some users will massage a diluted formula into their feet to support removal of metals from the body). The specific di-ketones are not found in any other essential oil (hence the name ‘Italidiones’, from Helichrysum italicum). Corsica essential oils are thought to be potent aids in stimulating tissue regeneration. This is one of the reasons you’ll frequently find Helichrysum in scar-reduction and wound healing formulas.
The Balkan variety has the highest levels of potentially anti-inflammatory curcumenes, with an aroma very similar to the Corsican.
The French variety (a ‘reserve’, of which we also have a very limited stock) also known as the Corsica essential oil has the highest levels of neryl acetate at 41%.
Our other Corsican variety has similar – and very balanced – chemistry, and its aroma will continue to get better with age.