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We look at Helichrysum in the September 2010 Ageless herbal newsletter

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The herb Helichrysum (Immortelle, Everlasting)

This month we have a look at one of the stepchildren of the herbal family – and the reason could only be that it doesn’t have very pretty flowers, nor does it contain a wonderful fragrance – yet, having these disadvantages, everlasting is still a very versatile herb and the oil extracted from the Helichrysum plant has excellent anti-aging and regenerating properties.

It belongs to the Asteraceae family and the genus and specie is Helichrysum arenarium but is also known as everlasting and immortelle.

Helichrysum is an evergreen shrub with aromatic leaves and small button-like flowers. There are about 500 different plants in this genus, and although H. italicum (H. angustifolia) (curry plant), as well as H. dioica (cat's ear) are more well known as H. arenarium, it is more often used in cosmetic applications. It is also known as St. John's herb (but please do NOT confuse it with St. John's Wort which refers to Hypericum perforatum).

Helichrysum petals were used throughout Europe as a strewing herb in medieval times.

When the plant material is used as an herb (tincture or concoction), it has choleretic and diuretic properties and is used for peptic discomfort. It helps to relieve water retention, while the curry plant (H. italicum) has good anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-allergic properties – especially useful in chest complaints.

The herb contains flavonoids, bitter tasting naringenin, narigenin-5-O-diglucoside, helichrysin A and B and glycosides of apigenin, luteolin, kaempferol and quercetin plus an unidentified antibacterial compound (named arenarin).

Folk medicine presents the herbal use of Helichrysum as a great help for fighting the ravages of aging and the therapeutic property of stimulating new cell growth would underscore this, since it encourages the growth and regeneration of new skin cells.

It has great regenerating qualities and can assist in the healing of scars, acne, dermatitis, stretch marks, boils and abscesses and is great for use on aging skin - especially is the skin is sagging a bit.

Essential oil of Helichrysum everlasting, helichrysum, immortelle

The flowering heads are used for extracting Helichrysum essential oil. It has a strong herbal smell – and although not unpleasant, it will however dominate finer more fragile fragrances.

helichrysum essential oil

To best describe it – it has a strong straw-like, fruity/herby smell, with a honey and tea undertone.

The color of the oil can range from pale yellow to red. It has a watery viscosity and its main constituents are neryl acetate, nerol, geraniol, pinene, and linalool.

High quality oil is obtained if distillation of the plant material occurs within 24 hours of harvesting, and younger plants yield greater quantities of essential oil than older more “stalky” plants.

The oil is extracted from the fresh or dried flowering-head clusters by steam distillation.

The therapeutic properties of Helichrysum oil are that it contains anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent qualities.

It promotes new cell growth and also has good antioxidant qualities.

This specialist essential oil is used in aromatherapy in cases dealing with of phobias, after shock, as well as depression and is a powerful cell rejuvenating, regenerating and tissue rebuilding oil.

It energizes the body, boosts the immune system and help with allergies.

It is one of the best oils to use on the skin if rejuvenating and regenerating is required and is a great boon to help heal scars, acne and other skin problems.

The therapeutic properties are anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, as well as cytophylactic.

Chemical composition of Helichrysum oil

The main constituents are flavonoids, tannins, essential oil, resin and phytosterin, with the essential oil containing neryl acetate, nerol, geraniol, pinene, and linalool. The plant also contains isosalipurposide, naringenin, naringenin-5-O-diglucoside, helichrysum A, helichrysum B and glucosides of apigenin, luteolin, kaempferol and quercetin.

Apart from this it also contains an unidentified antibacterial mixture called arenarin.

Further research is also currently being undertaken on its main component - alkyl carbonic acids

Precautions when using Helichrysum oil everlasting, helichrysum, immortelle

Helichrysum oil is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing, but should not be used on children under 12 years.

General benefits

Helichrysum oil is helpful for circulatory disorders; it can help relieve the pain of rheumatism and arthritis and has a beneficial effect on colds, flu, bronchitis, coughs and asthma.

Helichrysum oil has superb regenerating qualities and can assist in the healing of scars, acne, dermatitis, stretch marks, boils and abscesses. Folk medicine also presents this as a great boon for healing scars and fighting the ravages of aging.

It aids the digestive system, reducing liver and spleen congestion.


Using the essential oil in vapor therapy or in a bath

In vapor therapy or diluted in the bath, helichrysum oil can help with muscle aches and pains, respiratory problems and the digestive system.

Blended massage oil

As a blended massage oil, helichrysum oil can assist with muscle aches and pains, respiratory problems and the digestive system.

Creams and lotions

In a cream or as a lotion, helichrysum oil can be beneficial to dermatitis, acne and the healing of scars as well as countering the effects of aging.

Helichrysum oil blends well with

Although most essential oils blend well together, helichrysum oil blends particularly well with bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, lavender, mandarin and rosewood.

Helichrysum oil in skin care cosmetics everlasting, helichrysum, immortelle

Helichrysum (everlasting) as cosmetic ingredient to help tighten loose hanging and sagging skin.

It is a well-known medical herb, but not that well known for its cosmetic use. Literally hundreds of species exist of this plant, and although they do differ, the main function of them is nearly the same.

The cytophylactic properties of this herb help to stimulate cellular regeneration and are therefore a boon for anti-aging skincare.

It furthermore has good antioxidant qualities, which helps to reduce free-radical oxidative damage that can also lead to premature aging.

In traditional medicine the plant is often used as wound dressing as its anti-microbial properties assists with wound healing, yet clinical tests could not confirm that it stimulates primary human fibroblast production .

In folk medicine it is used for fighting the ravages of aging. The cytophylactic properties would underscore this use, since it encourages the growth and regeneration of new skin cells.

Previous newsletters everlasting, helichrysum, immortelle

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Skin care

  • Healing cream
    • To assist in wound healing while soothing skin complaints – such as eczema and psoriasis, acne and piles and moisturizing and protecting the skin. This product has shown its effectiveness over a wide range of problems and judging from sales over more than a decade – it is the trusted healing cream to help with all mishaps, allergic reactions, irritated, burning, itchy and uncomfortable skin conditions.
  • Face wash
    • This face wash will properly clean your face and remove all impurities and environmental pollutants, without drying the skin. It contains eight herbal extracts to help promote a clear, vital and healthy complexion and a younger looking skin.
  • Moisturizing day cream
    • This day cream is formulated to help fight the signs of aging on various fronts. It helps to reduce free radical damage which, if left unchecked, leads to premature aging. The herbal extracts help to promote cell rejuvenation and regeneration and provide moisture and hydration to the skin.
  • Nourishing night cream
    • This nourishing night cream penetrates the skin extremely well and does not make the skin feel oily. It contains a host of herbal extracts to help in the fight against premature aging and has added vitamin E as well. Apart from the moisturizing effect and the anti-aging properties it also softens and smoothes the skin.
  • Eye gel
    • An effective refreshing eye gel to help reduce puffiness and dark rings around the eyes, while fighting wrinkles and lines. This is a very clever combination of herbal extracts and the base formula has its roots in a clinically proven formula.
  • Mud face mask
    • With this skin treatment product we combined a special selection of herbs in a base of thermal mud with oligoelements. This recommended weekly treatment will boost circulation to the skin, help to fight wrinkles and lines, improve firmness while at the same time improving suppleness and elasticity of the skin.


Hair care

  • Shampoo with rosemary extract + 7 other herbals
    • Our shampoo is in a class of its own – and granted – it is far more expensive than cheap supermarket shampoos, but no other shampoo has the active ingredients we have in our shampoo. The rosemary will boost the health of the hair and scalp, while the other seven herbal extracts will help strengthen the hair and make it shine, increase the volume and make it manageable.
  • Rosemary hair treatment conditioner
    • We have found that this hair conditioner should really be used as a conditioning treatment. This then removes the need to condition the hair every time you wash – and can be used once a month. It is a superb hair tonic and helps in the control of sebum secretion of the scalp. Although not formulated for dandruff – the ingredients will assist with this as well, while supporting the health of the scalp.


Specialized herbal gels and lotions

  • Hand and body lotion
    • When formulating this hand and body lotion we created a rich nourishing, protecting and reviving lotion, which will not leave the skin oily or tacky, but will create a well moisturized, hydrated and supple skin. After applying this lotion it will quickly be absorbed by the skin, leaving it silky soft, smooth and well moisturized.
  • Stretch mark gel
    • Although nothing can remove already formed stretch marks (only surgery can do that) – thousands of satisfied clients confirm that this gel improves the appearance of old stretch marks. The gel will help in PREVENTING stretch marks (a 92% success rate) and is used with great success by expectant mothers and body builders who may form marks when bulking-up. The formula of this gel is based on clinical studies done in France, to which we added other herbal extracts.
  • Cellulite gel
    • Fighting cellulite is easy with this herbal cellulite gel. It contains a patented extract of Bayberry (Myriceline) and nine other plant extracts and essential oils. The gel will help to get rid of cellulite (which has been clinically proven) and will also help to prevent cellulite from forming. So now it is easy to get your soft body contours back again.


Herbal supplements

  • Apple cider vinegar (liquid) with Centella asiatica
    • The health benefits of apple cider vinegar are combined with the therapeutic properties of Centella asiatica. This old folk remedy is still used with great effect by thousands of people daily.
  • Digest capsules
    • If your digestive system is under-par and you struggle with constipation or you simply need to boost the health of your digestive system then this capsule is for you. Fenugreek is a general digestive tonic and psyllium is a magical bulking agent that will help proper bowel movements, without using a laxative.
  • Detox capsules
    • Our modern day lifestyle exposes us to many unwanted additive and our diet also places stress on the body. To help the body get rid of toxins and waste materials naturally we combined fennel, basil, celery and parsley to help the body remove these toxins. It peps-up your metabolism and helps the bladder, kidneys and liver to do their work more effectively.
  • Urinary and bladder health capsules
    • Using an all natural approach, our capsules will help the discomfort and burning urine sensation of urinary tract infection and help clear up foul smelling urine. We combined cranberry, dandelion, uva ursi and vitamin C in a single capsule to effectively fight bladder infections and to stop the burning sensation when urinating.
  • Tri- Mushroom blend capsules
    • If you need an immune system boost then have a look at our combination of maitake, reishi and shiitake mushrooms. These mushrooms have showed to be a great help in boosting the immune system – and form a good nutritional supplement support for HIV/Aids patients and people receiving chemotherapy. Any person with even a slightly compromised immune system may benefit from this supplement.
  • Olive leaf extract capsules
    • This natural detoxifier helps with a variety of ailments and people with chronic fatigue syndrome, infections, glandular fever (Epstein Barr), and even candida and herpes have found it of value. Olive leaf extract helps to fight bacteria, viruses, retroviruses, and protozoa and yeast strains. Apart from fighting all of these problems it also helps to improve kidney function and fights free radicals.
  • Sexual supplement (previously known as Vuka Nkuzi)
    • Men normally don’t admit when they have a declining libido although it is a most common problem. We combine in this supplement seven different natural ingredients to boost sexual health – without any side effects often experienced with such medication. After more than a decade, and thousands of regular Vuka Nkuzi clients we still offer this well priced supplement to boost the libido.


Other products

  • Jojoba oil
    • This liquid golden ester not only moisturizes and penetrates the skin but also helps to fight wrinkles and lines while promoting a clear and unblemished skin. Jojoba does not clog the pores but helps to restore skin elasticity and smoothness. It will leave the skin supple and velvety soft without any oiliness and can be used neat on the skin.
  • Almond oil
    • This light and deeply moisturizing oil has a softening effect on the skin and can be used on the face and body. Almond oil has excellent emollient properties and helps to balance water and moisture loss in the skin. It can be used neat on the skin and also makes an excellent massage base.

Herbal information

Herbal encyclopedia

Different uses of medicinal herbs

Explanation of the therapeutic properties of herbs

List of ailments and herbs that may be useful

Information on individual herbs

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