Helichrysum: An Essential Oil with a History

The classic example of an essential oil that is highly effective in dilution is Helichrysum italicum, the oil that may be aromatherapy`s most easily recognizable success story. Its undisputed ability to heal skin tissue steadily increases the demand for this oil. The aromatherapy literature is full of praise and testimonials for this oil. This essential oil, also known as Everlasting or Immortelle, impresses with its extreme gentleness and high efficacy. There is hardly a better wound healer and antiaging agent than this oil.

In the last ten years, production of Helichrysum from the hillsides of Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina has returned to the market. This has not necessarily led to a decrease in prices, as a large multinational corporation has launched a skincare line based on Helichrysum italicum essential oil. Oils purportedly originating from mainland France appear to be spurious, as it is illegal to harvest the plant there. Corsica and Bosina-Herzegovina remain main sourcing area of this oil.


Oils from Corsica and Bosnia-Herzegovina work equally well for wound and scar treatments, despite the fact they have moderately different chemical composition. Recent analyses have shown very few or no diketones (an organic compound responsible for therapeutic behavior) in some samples of the Bosnian oil. This may be a consequence of harvesting at the earliest possible time. It would be interesting to ascertain whether diketones accumulate in Helichrysum oil later rather than earlier in its flowering state. Even though conventional thinking attributes the qualities of Helichrysum essential oil to its content of diketones, the oils with no (or very few) diketones seemingly work equally well. The would-healing quality of Helichrysum oil arises at the level of the whole plant and not at the level of a specific molecule.

If essential oils are not standardized (altered in any way), they offer an inexhaustible reservoir of diversity and are the best way to provide modern man with a pleasant, safe, effective, and accessible means to utilize the pharmacologically active ingredients found in plants. Due to their complexity, genuine essential oils have achieved results that their mass-produced, standardized, watered-down namesakes can never hope to equal.

Resource: The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.

  • Advanced Aromatherapy by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.