Helichrysum Oil – The Healing Powers of the “Fleur Immortelle”

Written by Shehnaz Shirazi

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Helichrysum Oil – The Healing Powers of the “Fleur Immortelle”

The Helichrysum essential oil is packed with antioxidants, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a highly potent ingredient for healing and anti-aging in luxury cosmetic products. [1]

Loved by big brands like L’Occitane, doTerra, Saint Jane, and Theorie, it’s one of the most sought-after oils in the cosmetic industry, and rightly so, it’s worth every single drop!

So what’s so special about the aromatic elixir distilled from the immortelle flowers, and why is it creating such a buzz?

Read on to find out more …

What is Helichrysum and Where Does it Come From?

Helichrysum italicum

Helichrysum is a flowering plant found mainly in Italy, France, Greece, the Balkans, and other neighboring Mediterranean countries. It’s not a single plant but a collection of more than 600 different species that belong to the sunflower botanical family Asteraceae.

Among the many species, Helichrysum Italicum (Angustifolium) is the main variety used to produce the aromatic oil, which is extracted from its cluster of golden yellow ball-shaped flowers.

This plant is also commonly known as:

  • Curry plant
  • Licorice plant
  • Italian Strawflower
  • St. John’s Herb
  • Smilja flower
  • La fleur d’immortelle
  • Life everlasting plant
  • The golden flower of healing

With a sweet, medicinal, and spicy scent, it has a distinct fragrance that will make you spell-bound and feel like you’re luxuriating in the scents of the Mediterranean.

Why is it Called Immortelle (The Immortal Flower)?

L’Occitane calls it: “A flower that defies time …”

Saint Janes describes it as: “The flower that never fades, even when it is picked.”

Pangea Cosmetics refers to it as the “Sempre Vivo (always living)” …

The Greek god Apollo was often seen wearing a crown made from the immortelle flowers to remind the world of his immortality.

Helichrysum is one of nature’s greatest gifts, and there’s nothing mystical or magical about it. It’s called immortal because of its resistance to extreme climate conditions.

These plants thrive in rocky mountains and terrains and can live for months without water, hence the name “everlasting”!

La Fleur Immortelle is Adored by the Greek Gods

Helichrysum-oil-use/essential oil Helichrysum

The word Helichrysum originates from the Greek and Latin words: Sun (Helios) and Gold (Chrysos), meaning Sun Gold.

Historically, the Greeks used Helichrysum oil to heal wounds on soldiers coming back from battles. According to Greek Mythology, the enchanting Helichrysum flowers were also used for crowning the gods.

Legend also has it that Napoleon (Emperor of France from 1804 to 1815) could smell these aromatic flowers from far away before even reaching the island when traveling to Corsica by ship.

The Immortelle Essential Oil

According to The Odyssey, an epic poem from the Greek Mythology, Helichrysum Italicum, would exist even before the 8th Century BC.

The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus, who was shipwrecked on an island called Phaeacia, where he met the king’s daughter, Nausicaa.

Nausicaa was renowned for her flawless and impeccable beauty, a trait she attributed to using an alchemical concoction extracted from Immortelle flowers.

To help Odysseus recover and regain his strength to continue his voyage, she offered him a bottle of this famous Immortelle essential oil to heal his body and mind.

For centuries, herbalists have used the herb as a tincture or fluid extract to fight inflammation, bacterial infections, and rejuvenate the body and mind.

Its influence has been so remarkable that nowadays, it’s widely adopted and used in many medicinal practices and cosmetics products.

Helichrysum Essential Oil Medicinal Benefits

treat cure or prevent inflammation

Anti Inflammatory

The Helichrysum essential oil can cure inflammation by inhibiting its free-radical scavenging activity and corticoid-like effects to reduce redness, swelling, and other inflammatory conditions. [2]

Wound Healing

The Helichrysum essential oil also has antiseptic and healing properties that make it an ideal ingredient in skin care products for people with cuts, bruises, burns, scratches, scrapes, and other abrasions.

According to the American Herbalists Guild Journal, some herbalists would use the Immortelle essential oil in their holistic first aid kit as a topical application to bumps and bruises.

Anti Aging Cell Renewal

According to a study to determine the efficacy of a night cream’s ability to reduce clinical signs of aging, the results proved that a product that contained Helichrysum Italicum extract significantly reduced oxidative stress in the human skin improving hydration by 64% and reducing wrinkles by up to 18% [3].

Boosts Antioxidants

The Helichrysum essential oil is also known to protect the body from radiation by boosting natural antioxidants in the blood and strengthening the immune system.

In various in-vivo and in-vitro experimental models, Helichrysum Italicum showed significant activity in free-radical scavenging activity and corticoid-like effects to ward off oxidative damage [4].

Helichrysum Essential Oil Can Rejuvenate Your Hair Too!

Helichrysum essential oil has the ability to rejuvenate your hair by healing damage, improving hydration, and boosting growth by keeping your scalp healthy. Haircare brand Theorie, for example, has proven how incorporating these herbal extracts into its haircare products can be a real game-changer for those who suffer hair damage from chemical treatments like keratin.

So here’s how you can use Helichrysum extracts to boost your hair:

Heals Damage From Colouring

The active ingredient in hair dye is peroxide. Although excellent for coloring the hair, it can damage it too – sometimes severely.

The reason for this has to do with how hair dye works. To permanently dye your hair, hair dye has to overcome a couple of barriers – and to do that; it has to get through the cuticle, the sheath that protects the hair underneath.

Once the cuticle is broken, hair loses its strength and vitality. Helichrysum oil helps reverse this process, giving your hair much-needed protection, keeping the exposed hair nourished, even after damage caused by dyes.

Keeps Hair Moisturized

The causes of dry hair are many. Common causes include things like washing your hair too often (which removes your natural oils), exposing your hair to the elements (particularly in winter), applying chemical dyes and perms, and the frequent use of straighteners.

You can improve the moisture content of your hair by washing it less frequently, washing it with natural products, and avoiding harmful dyes or perms. Helichrysum essential oil helps with dry hair, too, nourishing the hair from root to tip and making it bouncy and fuller once more.

It Promotes Scalp Health

Because Helichrysum essential oil is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant, it helps treat scalp problems such as psoriasis (a chronic skin infection), itching, dandruff, and eczema. It prevents the growth of harmful bacteria that can hinder hair growth.

Beautiful Fragrance

Wearing the scent of Helichrysum in your hair will make you feel like you’re having a restorative nap on the verdant coasts of Corsica. It’s actually so intoxicating; you’ll want to douse your whole body in it.

How Helichrysum Essential Oil is Produced

The Immortelle essential oil is distilled from the flowering tops of the plant. And the plants should be distilled when the flowers are still fresh to preserve maximum therapeutic efficacy.

Check out this video to discover more about how these herbaceous shrubs are harvested and distilled into highly concentrated oils:

Immortelle: The Golden Flower of Healing
© Credit: Floracopeia YouTube.

While the oil can be produced from many different species combined, the Immortelle oil made for clinical therapeutic aromatherapy is usually distilled from a single species.

Always look for oils made through a process of natural steam distillation.


Because this process ensures that the healing properties of the essential oil remain intact, heavy processing removes many of the beneficial properties of the oil, reducing its effectiveness.

To make sure you’re getting the best, always buy from reputable sellers and look for these details:

  • 25-30% Neryl Acetate
  • 4-6% Italidiones
  • 6-12% Gamma Curcumene
  • 3% a-Pinene

Helichrysum oil should contain at least 25 percent Neryl Acetate – one of the key active ingredients.

How the plant is harvested and processed also affects the proportion of this factor in the essential oil. Changes in climate or picking the flower too early or too late in the season to reduce the Neryl Acetate concentration in the oil and has a deleterious effect on its capacity to improve your hair.

How to Use The Helichrysum Plant Extracts Oil

Helichrysum is a powerful oil when it comes to skin reactions and side effects. Never apply directly without diluting with a carrier oil.

As a Topical application:

You only need a small amount of this essential oil when combined with carrier oils like jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado oil. Once diluted and thoroughly mixed, you can massage the mixture on your skin or add it to your baths.

In hair products:

Helichrysum can be found in shampoos, hair serums, and moisturizing masques. Check out the Theorie Haircare brand, which has an exclusive range of products that use Helichrysum as the base ingredient.

Precautions When Using Helichrysum Oil

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Helichrysum essential oil is generally recognized as safe. [5]

However, for skin application, caution should still be taken. Essential oils can irritate the skin, so it’s best to mix them with a carrier oil before applying.

Do a test patch before using it.

Avoid direct sunlight

It’s vital to keep Helichrysum essential oil away from your eyes.

Essential oils are considered very concentrated extracts of the plants they came from, so be careful not to get any Helichrysum in your eyes as it may irritate.

Keep out of reach of children

Essential oils can pose a serious risk to children because a child may pick up the bottle and gulp some down. Always lock them out of sight and out of reach from children.

DoTerra, a world-famous brand that makes essential oils, have created a useful guide on how to handle essential oils around children in a safe manner:

You can read more here: Essential Oils and children – The DoTerra ebook

During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

While there aren’t any major issues associated with using essential oils, it’s always advised to proceed with caution during pregnancy. The same thing goes for breastfeeding – talk to your doctor first if you intend to use it.

Here is some helpful information you can read:

Select the Correct Formulation

Not all variations of the plant will deliver the same desirable effects.

Before selecting your oil, make sure to check which plant has been used to produce the oil and whether it will work for your specific condition.

Helichrysum Essential Oil Uses and Side Effects

Like any other essential oil, side effects like allergic dermatitis, itching, and rashes are potential risks.

  • Always do a skin patch test before use
  • And make sure you dilute it with a carrier oil
  • Consult with your GP (doctor) before using it

Best Helichrysum Essential Oils

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Youth Oil

doTERRA Immortelle Essential Oil AntiAging

Plant Therapy Organic Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil 100% Pure

Majestic Pure Helichrysum Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil

References & Citations

  1. Djihane, Bouzid et al. Chemical constituents of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don essential oil and their antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, filamentous fungi and Candida albicans. Saudi pharmaceutical journal : SPJ : the official publication of the Saudi Pharmaceutical Society vol. 25,5 (2017): 780-787. doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2016.11.001
  2. Sala A, Recio M, Giner RM, et al. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Helichrysum italicum. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2002;54(3):365-371. doi:10.1211/0022357021778600
  3. Granger C, Brown A, Aladren S, Narda M. Night Cream Containing Melatonin, Carnosine and Helichrysum italicum Extract Helps Reduce Skin Reactivity and Signs of Photodamage: Ex Vivo and Clinical Studies. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2020;10(6):1315-1329. doi:10.1007/s13555-020-00443-2
  4. Araceli Sala, Maria del Carmen Recio, Rosa Maria Giner, Salvador Manez, Horacio Tournier, Guillermo Schinella, Jose-Luis Rios, Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Helichrysum italicum, Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Volume 54, Issue 3, March 2002, Pages 365-371, https://doi.org/10.1211/0022357021778600
  5. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 – https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=182.20..

About the Author

Shehnaz ShiraziShehnaz Shirazi

Shehnaz Shirazi has been writing in the beauty and cosmetics industry for over 8 years, sharing her expansive hair care and beauty knowledge. Shehnaz researches and tests new hair care trends and publishes her insights here.