Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil (Immortelle Essential Oil)
Helichrysum is also sometimes known as Everlasting or Immortelle.
This profile pertains specifically to Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil.
When most sellers and people refer to Helichrysum oil, they are typically referring to the essential oil that is steam distilled from the species Helichrysum italicum. However, there are several other oils available distilled from other varieties of Helichrysum, particularly Helichrysum bracteiferum, Helichrysum gymnocephalum and Helichrysum splendidum. Each species of Helichrysum Essential Oil has very different aromatic and therapeutic properties, so it's important to ensure that you doublecheck the botanical name of the oil that you are working with.
Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) is such an important essential oil to me for its potent anti-inflammatory benefits.
Steffen Arctander describes the aroma of Helichrysum Oil as being "...powerful and diffusive, but pleasant and rich, common with those of the extracted material (everlasting absolute), and these topnotes are not exactly attractive at high concentration. The sweetness is so rich and overwhelming, honeylike and deep, that it takes more than the average of imagination to appreciate the odor of this oil. However, the sweet-fruity and tea-like, delicate undertone is unique, and the tenacity is quite outstanding." I personally find it hard to fully describe the aroma of Helichrysum, and find that Arctander's description does the aroma justice. [Reference: Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin (Reprint Edition. Elizabeth, NJ: Pathfinder., 2017), 291.]
When I first smelled Helichrysum Essential Oil twenty years ago, I had a powerful emotional reaction and flashback. I haven't had that same type of encounter with any other essential oil as when I first smelled Helichrysum, but it still gives me goosebumps when I recall that experience. It was a very enlightening moment that was bittersweet yet simultaneously comforting and reassuring. I never had that same powerful emotional reaction again, but I have found Helichrysum to be a wonderful oil for use during meditation, reflection and self growth.
Joni Keim Loughran and Ruah Bull say that "This powerful essential oil grounds us in Divine love and guidance, fostering understanding an compassionate insight." [Reference: Joni Keim Loughran and Ruah Bull, Aromatherapy Anointing Oils (Berkeley, CA: Frog, Ltd., 2001), 52.]
Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil is the only essential oil to my knowledge that contains several diketones known as italidiones. Italidiones make up only a small percentage of the oil's total composition, but they are said to be largely responsible for Helichrysum Essential Oil's anti-inflammatory action. Essential oils steam distilled from other Helichrysum species do not contain italidiones. For more information about the composition of Helichrysum Italicum Oil, see the Major Constituents section further down on this page.
Helichrysum Essential Oil distilled from plants grown in Corsica tend to be preferred. Regardless of the country of origin, I recommend taking a close look at the composition of the oil as there can be big differences in the composition of the oil, even when only comparing oils sourced from Corsica.
Common Method of Extraction
Plant Part Typically Used
Strength of Initial Aroma
Medium - Strong
Helichrysum Essential Oil smells fresh, earthy, herbaceous with subtle tea-like characteristics.
Helichrysum Essential Oil Uses
- Muscular Aches And Pains
- Bronchial Congestion
- Irritated Skin
- Nervous Exhaustion
- Neryls Purchon and Lora Cantele, Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness (Toronto ON: Robert Rose, 2014), 64.
- Valerie Ann Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2016), 548.
- Julia Lawless, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Updated Edition) (London: Harper Thorsons, 2014), 113-114.
From the ranges I have personally seen, Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil lots from reputable sellers tend to have approximately 25-30% Neryl Acetate, 4-6% Italidiones, 6-12% Gamma Curcumene, and <3% a-Pinene. However, this should not be treated as a definitive guideline.
Dr. Robert Pappas of Essential Oil University has shared that "Chemically the best [Helichrysum italicum] oil will be fairly high in neryl acetate low in alpha-pinene and have healthy levels of italidiones..."
Robert Tisserand indicates that the ranges of the key components present in Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil tend to fall within the below ranges:
- Neryl Acetate: 6-40%
- a-Pinene: 3-30%
- Gamma-Curcumene: 8-15%
- Italidiones: 3-10%
- Robert Tisserand, Tisserand Institute Facebook Post March 27, 2017 (Accessed April 26, 2020).
- Dr. Robert Pappas, Essential Oil University Facebook Post September 27, 2019 (Accessed April 26, 2020).
Key Constituents Listed in Essential Oil Safety Edition 2:
- Neryl Acetate
- Italidione I
See Essential Oil Safety for a more complete list of typical constituents.
Source: P. Weyerstahl, Isolation and Synthesis of Compounds from the Essential oil of Helichrysum italicum. (In: Bruke, E.J. (Ed.), Progress in Essential Oil Research, De Gruyter, Berlin, 1986), 177-195. Source cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 309.
Helichrysum Essential Oil Safety Information
Tisserand and Young do not indicate any special precautions when using Helichrysum Essential Oil. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 309.]
General Safety Information
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. For general dilution information, read AromaWeb's Guide to Diluting Essential Oils. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. Consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. Before using this or any essential oil, carefully read AromaWeb's Essential Oil Safety Information page. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
Important Information About the Profiles
The essential oil information provided on AromaWeb is intended for educational purposes only. The references to safety information, constituents and percentages is generalized information. The data is not necessary complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The essential oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, essential oil color can vary based on harvesting, distillation, age of the essential oil and other factors. Profiles for several absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.