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Helichrysum italicum

Helichrysum italicum

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Curry plant, immortelle, everlasting.

Original Habitat

The origin of H. italicum is thought to be the South of France. It is presently found all over Southern Europe, North Africa and West Asia. The plant is a small evergreen shrub that thrives in sunny, well drained soil. It has hermaphrodite, aromatic flowers which bloom from July to August. Its use in Aromatherapy is fairly recent, probably beginning in France in the mid 1980’s.[1]

Plant Part Used

Flowers and flowering tops


The essential oil of H. italicum is found primarily in body care products and as single oil and in formulas used in therapeutic aromatherapy.


The thin oil is steam distilled from the flowers and flowering tops producing oil that is a deep yellow to red in colour depending upon region and time harvested. It has a fresh and herbaceous scent with a medium note.

Chemical Constituents

Terpenic esters (80%)
Ketones: Beta-diones (15-20%)

There have been several studies designed to identify many of the chemical constituents of H. italicum. [2][3][4] One study identified fifty-two compounds which included α-pinene, α-cedrene, aromadendrene, β-caryophyllene, limonene, neryl acetate, 2-methylcyclohexyl pentanoate, 2-methylcyclohexyl octanoate, and geranyl acetate.[5]

Medicinal Uses

Antihematoma (fibrinolytic ) ++++
Anticoagulant, antiphlebitic +++
Anticatarrhal, mucolytic +++
Antispasmodic +++ [6][7][8]

AntimicrobialThe essential oil of H. italicum was found to demonstrate strong antimicrobial properties and to reduce the multi-drug resistance of Enterobacter aerogenes, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii.[9] Another study indicated that the antimicrobial activity of the oil and of its terpenoid fraction were well demonstrated against Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans.[5]

Traditional Use

Hematoma, phlebitis, scabies ++++
Arthritis, polyarthritis +++
Wounds+++ [6][8]

There is limited pre-clinical and clinical data available for the essential oil of H. italicum, possibly due to its recent introduction to aromatherapy. Most of the studies available are on the extract of the plant, not the oil. However, in clinical practice, it is reportedly used as an antiseptic on wounds, for improving the appearance of scars, and to prevent wound swelling and inflammation.[10]

Contraindications and Precautions

Not for long-term use.



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


  1. Martin I. Aromotherapy for Massage Practioners. Lippincott:Williams & Wilkins.; 2006.
  2. Bianchini A, Tomi P, Bernardini  A, Morelli I, Flamini G, Cioni PL,  Usaï M, Marchetti  M. A comparative study of volatile constituents of two Helichrysum italicum (Roth) Guss. Don Fil subspecies growing in Corsica (France), Tuscany and Sardinia (Italy). Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 18(6):487 -491.
  3. Mastelić J, Politeo O, Jerković I. Contribution to the analysis of the essential oil of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don. Determination of ester bonded acids and phenols. Molecules. 7 Apr2008;13(4):795-803.
  4. Bianchini A, Tomi P,  Costa J, Bernardini  AF. Composition of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don fil. subsp. italicum essential oils from Corsica (France). Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 16(1).
  5. Mastelic J, Politeo O, Jerkovic I, Radosevic N. Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of Helichrysum italicum Essential Oil and Its Terpene and Terpenoid Fractions. Journal Chemistry of Natural Compounds. Jan2005;41(1).
  6. Price L. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals. Philadelphia PA: Elsevier Health Sciences; 1999.
  7. Clark S, Tisserand R. Essential Chemistry for Safe Aromatherapy.  Philadelphia PA: Elsevier Health Sciences; 2002.
  8. Leddy H. Integrative Health Promotion: Conceptual Bases for Nursing Practice. Ontario:Jones & Bartlet; 2003.
  9. Lorenzi V, Muselli A, Bernardini AF, Berti L, Pagès JM, Amaral L, Bolla JM. Geraniol restores antibiotic activities on multi-drug resistant isolates from Gram-negative species. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2 Mar 2009.
  10. Schnaubelt K. Medical Aromatherapy. Berkeley:Frog Books;1999.

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