Our Helichrysum Italicum essential oil is produced and crafted with the intention of being used medicinally for its healing properties. Distilling is not just a job, it’s a way of life ! We invite you to share our passion with us
Helichrysum is one of the most fragrant plants which contribute to giving the Corsican “maquis” its characteristic perfume. The flowering head buds, called “The flowery summit” which are treated the day after picking, are traditionally hand cut thus leaving the Maquis unspoilt by modern machinery. Harvesting takes place from June to July when flowering commences. Over a ton of flower heads are needed to make about 0,85 kg of essential oil! This is why it is quite expensive.
The Helichrysum Italicum essential oil is obtained by distilling, usually by steam in a copper free steam process. The Mediterranean Helichrysum is much richer in Terpenes has more Neryle acetate and Diones. Helichrysum from other countrieshave also good therapeutic qualities for the human body. In fact there are good comparisions that can be made with the excellent and unique Helichrysum Italicum coming from Corsica but also from good distillers in the Balkans . Neryl Acetate is not everything contrary to what a lot of people think and other factors are equaly important...
It is true to say that content of Neryl Acetate in the Immortelle coming from Corsica is higher and sometimes it may account a large % content of the helichrysum oil. This oil is added in small quantities, as an active ingredient, to anti-wrinkle creams and other skin care products that contain the natural helichrysum extracts.
Ketones present in Helichrysum italicum essential oil aid quick skin regeneration. They appear in larger proportions in helichrysum oils which have been produced from the early shoots prior to flowering.
The group of molecules sesquiterpene hydrocarbons give helichrysum oil: anti-inflammatory,anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties. One of the most impressive effects of helichrysum oil is how quickly bruises, wounds and inflamed tissues are relieved, a further study concludes that: "the anti-inflammatory activity of Helichrysum italicum can be explained by multiple effects, including inflammatory enzyme inhibition, free-radical scavenging activity and corticoid-like effects".
Factors Effecting Oil Quality
The composition of helichrysum oil will vary depending upon several factors. The part of the plant which is harvested, the stage of the life cycle and when it is harvested, which chemotype and genotype has been grown and where geographically this was. This naturally affects the properties of the extract. For example an Italian study shows how plants from different areas can display large variations in antioxidant and antifungal properties. Neryl acetate is the constituent which varies most in quantity. It occurs more when the helichrysum oil is produced from the flowers harvested during full bloom.
Recent studies have also shown that some plants native to both Italy and Corsica can have in excess of 40% neryl acetate as the main ingredient, but that others from areas nearby may have far less. Further north the proportion of neryl acetate in Helichrysum italicum essential oil is usually far lower, this may be for various reasons. One suggestion made by Hadjikyriakou in his book, titled Aromatic and Spicy Plants in Cyprus, is that the climate influences the chemical composition and quality of the essential oils... [of] aromatic and spicy plants. In this respect, the views of Theophratus are illuminating:' ... the most excellent and fragrant of all come from Asia and the sunny regions'.
Likewise the fragrance, neryl acetate, can be found as larger fractions in helichrysum oils produced in the southern sunny Mediterranean regions. Despite this natural variation, the effects of helichrysum oil are consistently remarkable. This is the nature of essential oils and indeed life, each production is highly complex and unique. Quoting from Katya et al, research scientists, from their study which looked at bioactivity of essential oils.
Procedure: Distilling is completed by water vapour.
Distilled parts: Flower heads mostly.
Botanical name: Helichrysum Italicum ssp serotinum
Country of origin: South of Europe, the Balkans & Corsica, also known as “the island of beauty”
Quality: 100% pure and natural.
Visual aspect: A limpid, fluid liquid.
Its natural combination of chemical constituents creates one of the most profoundly healing essential oils available.
Today, most common essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus, are distilled. Raw plant material, consisting of the flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, or peel, is put into an alembic also known as a distillation apparatus and placed over water. As the water is heated the steam passes through the harvested plants, vaporizing the volatile compounds. The vapours flow through a coil where they condense back to liquid, which is then collected in the receiving vessel.
Most oils are distilled in a single process. One exception is Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata), which takes 22 hours to complete through a fractional distillation.
The recondensed water is referred to as a hydrosol, hydrolat, herbal distillate or plant water essence, which may be sold as another fragrant product. The most common name for it is quite simply floral water; it has the same proprieties as the essential oil but in a less concentrated percentage. Popular hydrosols are rose water, lavender water, lemon balm, clary sage and orange blossom water. The use of herbal distillates in cosmetics is increasing.
Some plant hydrosols have unpleasant smells and are therefore not sold. Such as Yarrow for example.
Note on the Curry Plant : Although called "curry plant" it has nothing whatsoever to do with the mixture of spices used in Indian cooking, nor with the curry tree (Murraya koenigii). It has been claimed on some gardening forums that the curry plant is as effective a cat deterrent as the "scaredy-cat" plant, Plectranthus caninus (also known as Coleus canina). This may be not so much a recommendation for Helichrysum italicum as a comment on the efficacy of Plectranthus caninus.
Precautions : The Helichrysum Italicum essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing, but should not however be used on children under 12 years.