immortelle helichrysum italicum



helichrysum italicum

What is an essential oil ?

I suddenly thought to myself well what is essential oil? A lot of people confuse themselves by thinking it’s only for diffusion in a room; this is only part of its use and certainly not its predominant function. Essential oils are found in cosmetic skin care, perfumes, aroma therapy and diffusers. So heres a little bit about them and their origin and uses.

An essential oil is any concentrated, hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants, which are called aromatic herbs or aromatic plants. Let me explain what hydrophobic means to those of you who think it’s too complicated to carry on reading. In chemistry, hydrophobic which means the combining form of water in Attic Greek hydro- and for fear Phobos, refers to the physical property of a molecule which is named hydrophobe that is repelled from a mass of water. Interesting isn't it so I'll carry on, Hydrophobic molecules tend to be non-polar (non magnetic for the rest of us) and thus prefer other neutral molecules and no polar solvents. Hydrophobic molecules in water often cluster together forming a group scientifically called a micelle. When water comes into contact with a hydrophobic surface the entry must be of a high contact angle, sounds like we're ready for take off, I don't work for NASA...yet :) Examples of hydrophobic molecules include the alkanes, oils, fats, and greasy substances in general. Hydrophobic materials are used for oil removal from water, the management of oil spills, such as The Tory canyon a horrible childhood memory of mine, and chemical separation processes to remove non-polar from polar compounds.

Sounds complicated doesn't it but it’s actually quite a simple process : Essentials oils are also known as volatile or ethereal oils, or simply as the "oil of" the plant material from which they were extracted, such as oil of the Eucalyptus. Oil is "essential" in the sense that it carries a distinctive scent, or essence, of the plant. Essential oils don't possess any specific chemical properties, apart from the fact that each essential oil has its own characteristic fragrance. People some times mix up essential oils with essential fatty acids, I don't quite know how as they are two totally different things with totally different uses!

Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation. Other processes include expression, or solvent extraction to make "Absolut". They are used in perfumes, cosmetics and bath products like shower gels or bath creams, for flavouring food and drink, and for scenting incense and household cleaning products. We don't produce this form of oil.

Various essential oils have been used medicinally at different periods in history.


The history of Aromatherapy dates back at least to 4000 BC, although the term “aromatherapy” was first used in the 1920s by the French chemist René Maurice Gattefossé who accidentally discovered in his laboratory that lavender oil relives pain and assists minor burns in healing. The word “Aromatherapy” is a compound Greek word made up by the word fragrance, aroma and the word treatment, therapy. It is historically proved that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Persians used aromatherapy oils. Moreover, there is historical evidence in the Bible, back to Sunday school here folks, when Jesus Christ was born the three wise men bore gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, and if you've never smelt Myrrh then get a grip because it really smells awful but is reputed for its virtues as an anti septic, an anti inflammatory and an analgesic.

In ancient Egypt, plant oils were widely used for cosmetics, spiritual relaxation, as well as for embalming and mummification of their dead. They also played a part in rituals on special occasions as men and women would wear on their heads a gradually-melting solid cone made with essential oils that released its fragrance as it melted. As a consequence of the Egyptians’ love for aromatic plants and herbs, and the importance of appearance, the fragrance industry and aromatic medicine were developed more than in any other ancient culture.

The history of Aromatherapy leads us to Ancient Greeks who actually borrowed many healing and relaxation techniques from the Egyptians. They used herbs and aromatherapy oils for medicines and cosmetics. Asclepius (circa 1200 BC) is the first known physician in history who experimented with herbs and plants in his surgeries. Hypocrites (circa 400 BC), “the father of medicine”, studied the beneficial effects of hundreds of scented plants and herbs. He believed that good health can be promoted with aromatic baths and oil massage and therefore surgeries should be avoided when possible. Well I can agree with that, we all feel better and more Zen after a massage with essential oils. Other Greek physicians who dealt with herbs and aromatic oils are Pedacius Dioscorides and Theophrastus who prescribed herbal and aromatic remedies. The Romans developed the Egyptian and Greek techniques for distillation and extraction of aromatic floral waters taking advantage of their knowledge of the natural medicines. The most well-known physician of that age was the Greek Claudius Galen (circa 150 AD) who after studying herbal medicine and treating hundreds of wounded gladiators with botanical remedies; he became the personal physician of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

The next important step in the history of Aromatherapy was made by the Persian civilization. Ibn Sina, a great physician of the age, known in Europe as Avicenna (circa 1000 AC), invented a pipe which steam distilled the plants and produced true essential oils and not aromatic waters as in the past. Essential oil distilling has just been perfected.
The Crusaders returned from the Holy Places, and brought back many different oils, many aromatics, herbal remedies and scented plants from the Middle East which became well known to Europe. The initiation of plants healing different ailments had started.
However, in the medieval era the Catholic Church rejected the aromatherapy remedies, because of their belief that every disease is a punishment sent by God. When Men don't understand something they erase it.... Although with the out break of the Black Death they tried to find a remedy for it but to no avail.

With Marco Polo discovering the East, the trading merchants brought to Europe new aromatherapy remedies and a rich variety of exotic plants and herbs. In Europe, many wealthy people used aromatic handkerchiefs to avoid unpleasant smells, let’s not forget that the drainage systems were non existent, phew… and protect themselves from microbes. Moreover essential oils were used in fumigation of hospitals with great success. At the same period of the history of Aromatherapy, physicians, pharmacists and chemists used to distillate more plants to create essentials oils and many of them published books about aromatic remedies and the use of aromatherapy essential oils for relaxation and pharmaceutical purposes.
As years went by, “apothecaries” who were herbalists and medical practitioners engaged in the formulation and prescription of pharmaceutical remedies, started to sell herbs, essential oils and fragrances. However what began in the East over 4000years ago was becoming industrialised in Europe, which provided oils for the pharmaceuticals, flavour for the food industry and fragrance for perfumeries.

Interest in essential oils has revived in recent decades, with the popularity of aromatherapy, (AROMA/An aroma compound, also known as odorant, aroma, fragrance, flavour, is a chemical compound that has a smell or odour and when two conditions are met: the compound needs to be volatile, so it can be transported to the olfactory system in the upper part of the nose, and it needs to be in a high concentrate to be able to interact with one or more of the olfactory receptors. a branch of alternative medicine which claims that the specific aromas carried by essential oils have curative effects. Oils are volatilized or diluted in carrier oil and used in massage, or burned as incense, for example. Aromatherapy has been developed on a larger scale over these last few years.

Coming back to essential oils and its Medical applications proposed by those who sell ranges of medicinal oils from skin treatments to remedies for cancer, I disagree with those who proclaim this as there are no medical papers confirming this statement. Whereas I know that Helichrisum can regenerate the liver cells I WOULD NOT state that it can cure a cancer and give false hope to someone that is psychologically feeble and whose body is "tired». Such claims are now subject to regulation in most countries, thank goodness.

The history of Aromatherapy continues during the 20th century, when many aroma therapists contributed their knowledge to aromatherapy and created more natural products and more effective and pleasurable techniques. As mentioned before, the French chemist René Maurice Gattefossé was the first to introduce the term “aromatherapy” in 1928.One of his follower an army doctor called Jean Valnet treated very successfully gangrene war wounds during the Second World War. An Austrian biochemist, Marguerite Maury, used essential oils as an integral part of healing by massage and practiced the use of aromatherapy for cosmetic benefits. The results and techniques experimented by Valnet, Maury and her co-researcher Micheline Arcier’s are considered as the basis of modern aromatherapy that today is taught all over the world.

The first book in the history of Aromatherapy published in the English language was the “Art of Aromatherapy” written by the English aromatherapist Robert B. Tisserand in 1977.
Another classic book dedicated to medicinal herbs is “Health through God’s Pharmacy”. Its author, the Austrian Herbalist Maria Treben, claimed that “There is a plant for every illness”.

My conclusion on this is really that they knew more than us 4000 years ago, we still don’t know a quarter of what our elders knew, even if we have modern techniques. All that we've done is to take their knowledge and worked from it, should we really take credit for that ?

Why Helichrysum Italicum is so rare & special.

There are over 500 different species of Helichrysum (Asteraceae) this daisy type flower. Some of which, like the Helichrysum Italicum, are unique to certain parts of the globe.

It is so special because it treats cosmetic as well as medical problems. It can treat age spots to sports injuries. It is known for its anti bacterial qualities and its tissue healing properties, tests have been carried out at the hospital in Grasse, France where they used Helichrysum Italium to close skin tissue, the result has been absolutely amazing as a very quick heal and with very little scarring, no redness and no infections. It multiplies the natural collagen count present in our skin cells and diminishes wrinkles and creases with a high percentage of success. It is also combined with other oils and used to treat acne, there are different remedies based on the Helichrysum Italicum on the remedies page. There you will see the spectrum of aliments that can be treated with this oil. It acts on the skin, on muscles and joints and on the nervous system; there are not many essential oils with this vast healing power. In fact I now call Helichrysum Italicum “liquid gold”, as it is so precious.

Why is it rare?

Because of its chemical composition, which I will explain a little later on, and this factor makes it unique. But also the soil composition and climate contribute enormously to its chemical composition. In fact the climate factor and the soil composition can modify the Neryl Acetate % which can cause the overall price to rise or to drop.

As confirmed to me on one of my “many questioning calls” to the different distillers the main harvesting of Helichysum Italicum takes place in June as the level of Neryl Acetate is at its peak then but also at the end of Autumn October and November with an harvest twice a year!!
Helichrysum Italicum is also found in the region of Sartene situated in the valley of Ortolo which is full of history and dotted with Menhirs, Dolmens and Grottos which sheltered man during the Megalithic era. At the present time this region harbours numerous agricultural and poly cultural exploitations, working the land in an ecologic manner.

Helichrysum Italicum can be found all over the island its fragrant aroma contributes to the smells of the Maquis this sweet scented honey fragrance mingles with Rosemary, Ciste, Pin Larrico and other odours making the perfume of the Maquis unique to Corsica.

A well known comment from Napoleon who said he could “smell his island before sighting it". And indeed I can vouch for that, there have been times when arriving by ferry you can catch a whiff of “something” which makes you feel happy. Sounds a bit corny but should you have the occasion to go to Corsica, go by ferry from the mainland during the middle to late June and beginning of July. It certainly worth it.

From the valley of Ortolo to the heights of Balagna or the sea shore of the Balkans mountains the Helichrysum Italicum is present; it’s discreet but a very distinct floral perfume with a hint of honey hidden behind the first inhalation of its smell. The plant has adapted to the intense heat and light which is dominant in the month of June for Corsica and even in the Autumn outside Corsica.

The subtle olfactory smell produced by Helichrysum Italicum connects us to the Earth and lets our minds drift into conciliate with inner emotions and ourselves by odour. This is why Helichrysum Italicum is is quite simply the best of essential oils with a multi functional healing of unequalled quality.


a lot of interesting points in how to select a good essential oil, trying to recognize quality with a whiff of a sample. In the case of Helichrysum Italicum which is a rare and a sought after essential oil, most people buy year after year with the same supplier therefore ensuring their supply for the following year. There is never enough Helichrysum Italicum to go around ,
I feel that if you are too fussy some people will refuse the sale, especially with the Helichrysum as there is always someone who wants more.

Even if you go straight to the grower / distiller they may not be testing their oils. Those that do test most certainly aren't looking for unwanted phthalates, very few look for pesticides or herbicides.
Most distillers in Europe know what the chemical composition should look like and have their oils tested by laboratories for its chemical analysis. Concerning the Helichrysum Italicum this is compulsory in order to see the level of Neryl Acetates. I would suggest that you be more careful outside Europe, but most do now supply relevant data on their oils.
The oil we supply is only Helichrysum Italicum; we chose not to stray from the oil we know best.

1.) Best if I buy straight from the grower and/or distiller or like us a specialist.
2.) Have a great nose for the oils you purchase.
3.) Do a Gc-Ms (gas chromatography mass spectrum) cross referenced with your own retention library, with other chemical libraries, with published data on the specific oil on a period of years from various sources, chemo types and origins.
4.) Look for the ratio % of a number of chemicals within the oil, including very small peak chemicals and look for the chemicals that shouldn't be there and should be there.
5) Be prepared to buy a sample, especially the Helichrysum Italicum, or ask for a client referral, someone who has already bought from the company. In our case if you are in the USA :
If you try to follow the above steps you should be ok, always go with your “gut” instinct even if you can’t explain why.
1.) You can’t always visit distillers or growers; in fact it would be hectic and costly globe trotting constantly. You can establish a relationship by email, and phone not forgetting Skype. So you can get some in sight on who you’re dealing with.
2.) A great nose for oil, well hope nobody gets a cold? Be open, we had an incident on our Helichrysum last year as it was sent very fresh from harvest and my client Eric, a well known aroma therapist, didn’t recognize the usual smell, even thought it was petroly!! In fact in need to be aired because it was fresh, which Eric did and in fact the Helichrysum know smell came and all was well, in fact it was Eric’s best lot of Helichrysum and he asked for more but it had all sold. So for those of you, who are thinking of Helichrysum, don’t wait until the last minute.
3.) This comes automatically with most oils and in particular the Helichrysum as the cost is based on the Neryl Acetate level which is formalised in the chromatography.
4.) This again refers to the chemical composition of the oil, and the chromatography.
5.)if you want to email me your are welcome.

As you have read in the previous paragraphs this small, discreet plant which is the top of the range in essential oils is unveiled in the above texts, something for everyone. It seems to me that the previous chapters have been informative on everything from “why use an essential oil” and in particular, the Helichrysum Italicum.

The method of obtaining an essential oil, and in the case of Helichrysum Italicum, it is by steam distillation and as we progress in the different chapters we can see the development of diverse uses of this amazing golden headed plant, and its unique chemical composition makes it a rare and elite essential oil.

Leading aroma therapist Eric & Michell Cech explains the “magic bullet” effect on sports injuries, many other aroma therapists have participated in this testimonial; its medicinal properties are amazing. Concerning the cosmetic aspect, a detailed scientific experiment was conducted and has proved beyond doubt that the efficiency of the Helichrysum Italicum essential oil as an anti ageing treatment, it is in fact a regenerator of cells; this enables the collagen count to multiply and re pulps those parts that other creams and essential oils can not reach.

How to select an essential oil, and this is obviously applicable for all essential oils, gives some good advice and again I must say that the Helichyrsum Italicum that I talk about in this paper, with the help of the numerous professionals, is the Helichrysum Italicum not only from Corsica but also from around the Mediterranean and the Adriatic (check with us the origin of the oil at the time of purchase).

Numerous testimonials tell of the healing capacities of Helichrysum Italicum. It is surprising, sometimes incredulous but none the less true. In fact when you start to use the Helichrysum Italicum yourself, you will realise its capacity and the statements given by the friends of Helichrysum Italicum. You too will believe in the “power of the flower”.

Then we move on to Dr Badoux’s many remedies all of which include Helichrysum Italicum, they took me ages to translate and I admit that maybe one or two still have the French title, so help me out here folks. Dr Baudoux’s essential oil treatments cover, literally?, everything from medical skin care to cosmetic skin care. From varicous veins & nappy rash to acne and eczema. I am personally going to try out some of Dr Baudoux’s essential oil treatments with the Helichrysum Italicum; I’ll keep you posted on the out come.

There will be much more added to this paper over the next few months and longer, I invite you all to join in with this and contribute your knowledge and lets make it a unique paper in the fact that people all over the world joined together to unite their efforts about a small discreet golden headed plant. A unique paper for a unique essential oil. I wish that all things could be remedied this way…