HISTORY OF HELICHRYSUM
The genus name, Helichrysum, refers to the golden yellow flowers and comes from the Greek words helios meaning sun and chrysos meaning gold. Helichrysum has 244 species occuring in Southern Africa where they are widely distributed.
Helichrysum oil is used in traditional medicines, but H. odoratissimum is widely used as a perfume and to repel insects. Southern Sotho women make a perfumed ointment from this plant. Leaves and stems are widely used as incense to invoke the goodwill of the ancestors; the smoke is sedative and helpful for insomnia. In the Eastern Cape people inhale it as a protective cleanser and it is also used medicinally for coughs and colds.
Helichrysum oil is extracted from the flowering leaves via steam distillation.
Helichrysum oil can be blended with massage carrier oils, used in steam therapy or mixed with lotions and creams.
When used in aromatherapy, the scent of helichrysum essential oil is said to fight conditions such as allergies, arthritis, eczema, and anxiety. In addition, helichrysum is said to reduce inflammation, promote the healing of wounds and burns, stimulate digestion, boost the immune system, and soothe body and mind.
Helichrysum essential oil is generally considered safe, without adverse side effects. However, few studies have been done on whether helichrysum oil is safe for humans.
BEFORE GETTING STARTED
Before getting started, there are a few basics to remember when working with essential oils:
When applying oils topically, always use a carrier oil. These are oils used to dilute essential oils, like olive, coconut or avocado oil.
Always do a patch test before applying anything to larger areas of your skin.
Many essential oils are toxic and shouldn’t be taken by mouth unless under the specific care of a healthcare professional.
Buy 100% pure essential oils. There are a variety of perfumed oils that don’t contain the same benefits.