Essential oils have been used by cultures around the world for ages, and they are often considered one of the most helpful traditional medicines by health experts around the world. Of all the essential oils available, Helichrysum is often seen as one of the most famous and useful ones for its ability to cure colds, infections, and insomnia.
There are many ways to use Helichrysum oil. You can apply to the desired location or directly inhale it. You can also consume it, but do keep in mind that the essential oil must be at therapeutic grade for it to be safe for consumption. In this article, we’ll take you through the benefits of the oil and give you some ideas to use it for your next camping trip.
What is Helichrysum?
Helichrysum, commonly referred to as immortelle, is an aromatic herb which belongs to the Asteraceae family. This is a family of common plants such as daisies, asters, strawflowers, and sunflowers. The plant is native to the regions bordering the Mediterranean, so if you have trekked or camped in the countryside of Italy or Spain, chances are you have seen this herb on the rolling plains.
The herb itself grows in bushes and it features velvet leaves and bright yellow flowers which produce a soothing, calming fragrance.
The practice of extracting and using Helichrysum essential oil has existed since ancient days. Traces of Helichrysum essential oil usage spread across Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Spain, Turkey, Portugal.
However, despite its extensive usage throughout our history, there have been few medical studies into this kind of essential oil and its benefits. Hence, the oil remained a traditional medicine for years.
Recently, scientific interest in the plant has soared, resulting in many high-quality research papers. These papers confirm that the oil contains special properties that make it a great antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory agent. Today, Helichrysum essential oil is sold widely for commercial usage.
Helichrysum essential oil is usually extracted from the Helichrysum Italicum, but other variants exist, each with certain special properties. The extraction process often involves steam distillation of the flowering tops of the flower to extract the essential oil.
The resulting oil can be pale yellow or reddish, depending on many factors. Because it can take a huge quantity of flowers to create pure Helichrysum essential oil, most essential oils on the market have had jojoba oil added to them to dilute the smell and save cost. The beneficial effects are still retained in the oils though.
Uses and Benefits
Helichrysum oil has been extensively used since thousands of years ago, thanks to its beneficial effects for the body. Here are 20 most important uses and benefits of Helichrysum essential oil, especially for the outdoors.
Improve skin health
When you are exposed to the great outdoors, your skin is at risk of being bruised, blistered, and infected. Helichrysum essential oil has anti-bacterial qualities, so it can be used to help fight the germs on your skin after a day strolling in the forest, which can be potentially serious.
It can also help you deal with simple pimples, acne, or infection marks effectively thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory property. Finally, if your skin is dry and rough after a long day working, dab a little bit of Helichrysum essential oil on it to make it more humid.
Use as a massage oil
Helichrysum oil is famous for its anti-inflammatory property, which makes it a good choice as a rubbing oil if you are bruised or are facing chronic conditions like arthritis. Recipes for the best Helichrysum massage oil can vary from person to person, as each of us responds differently to pain, so be sure to understand you or your fellow campers’ skin first before applying the massage oil.
A digestive aid
If your stomach is used to city foods, you might face some difficulties digesting food in the outdoors, even if you have brought your own canned food. To counter this, Helichrysum essential oil will help ease your digestion.
The essential oil is a timeless diuretic agent, and it has been praised for this property since days immemorial. To use the essential oil as a treatment for digestive problems, add a few drops to a cup of tea, or oil capsules and drink the tea.
Even though the outdoor survival environment is much more refreshing than city air, deep forests or high mountains can sometimes challenge your respiratory system. Helichrysum essential oil contains a lot of anti-oxidants, which help to cleanse the lungs and other organs.
It also induces higher breath rate because of its fragrance. This, in turn, increases your body temperature and oxygen in blood cells, making you more impervious to cold and mountainous weathers.
Prevent fungal infections
When you are outdoors, bacteria is one of your most pressing concerns. Fungi can also cause nasty infections if you are not careful. Fortunately, Helichrysum essential oil is naturally filled with anti-fungal agents, which help your body to combat fungi, most notably the dreaded candida.
Relieve kidney stones
Kidney stones can sound scary, especially if you are a hundred miles from the nearest medical station. Helichrysum oil, when mixed with a bit of lemon, can help to relieve the symptoms of kidney stones after a short while. Of course, conventional treatment is still highly recommended.
Helps strengthen the immune system
Your immune system is always working hard to fight bacteria, and if you are outdoors, you will need it more than ever. Helichrysum oil contains several antibacterial agents which will help to fight off dangerous bacteria or even simple viruses such as herpes simplex virus type 1.
There can be a few things worse than getting hemorrhoids when you are camping. Although relatively harmless, hemorrhoids can cause you considerable pain and discomfort. To ease the pain, simply pour some drops of Helichrysum oil on a cotton ball, and then apply it to the affected area. You can also add the oil into a warm bath to achieve better results.
Some of us can have a pretty difficult time adjusting to sleeping in a new environment. Especially if it’s a rough environment such as on the mountain or deep in a forest.
Helichrysum oil is especially soothing and calming, which makes it a perfect treatment option against insomnia. Simply add a few drops to a cup of tea, or consume the oil directly if your oil is of therapeutic grade, and enjoy it as it lulls you to sleep.
A study in 2017 has set out to test the wound-treating property of many essential oils, and Helichrysum oil was one of them. The study found that, other than common anti-inflammatory properties, the oil also involves tissue remodeling. This confirmed its capability to treat non-threatening wounds.
An outdoor camping trip is generally a relaxing experience, but it can also be quite taxing and stressing for your mental health if you are not properly prepared.
A small study published in 2013 on the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that Helichrysum oil helped participants recover from mental fatigue noticeably faster than other oils. The next time you feel mentally burn out, dab a bit of Helichrysum oil on your forehead before you rest for maximum effect.
As we grow older, our skin inevitably gets more wrinkled and less elastic. Helichrysum essential oil has been used as a traditional anti-aging treatment by people since ancient days. It can help to bring back the elasticity and suppleness to your skin. Even better, Helichrysum essential oil greatly helps with cell regeneration, a vital process in increasing your body’s resistance against aging.
Tinnitus and hearing loss
Because Helichrysum essential oil is rich in anti-inflammatory agents, it may be helpful in treating tinnitus or hearing loss. However, the effectiveness varies as the tinnitus could be caused by a different factor other than inflammation, rendering the oil ineffectual.
Constipation is a nasty condition, especially if you are outdoors. Helichrysum essential oil can be your savior in these situations, as its soothing effect will help to relax your muscles and soften the stool.
Enhance your heart
Helichrysum essential oil contains anti-inflammatory agents which help to improve the condition of your blood vessels and the health of your heart in general. It will also lower blood pressure and improve smooth muscle function.
Flea control for dogs
Surprisingly, Helichrysum essential oil is particularly effective as a natural medicine for your pets. It can help with flea control on your dogs. However, do remember to dilute the oil beforehand, and consult the doctor to see if it is safe to use on dogs. This essential oil should never be used on cats because our feline friends cannot bear with it.
Antifungal treatment for dogs
In an experiment, researchers used a compound oil containing Helichrysum oil and others to treat fungal infection on a population of dogs. The results were quite positive as 20 dogs were cured using this compound, suggesting that Helichrysum oil can be helpful in antifungal treatment for canines.
Colds are terrible to endure, and it is even more annoying if you are on a camping trip. Like most other essential oils, Helichrysum can help you fight off the cold if you consume some drops through a cup of tea, or directly if your oil is of therapeutic grade.
Helichrysum essential oil might be rich in benefits and uses, but there are still some precautions. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Do not use the oil undiluted as this can damage your skin
- Do not consume the oil unless it is graded for therapeutic purpose
- Always test on a skin patch first to see if you will develop allergic reactions
- Call the doctor immediately if you develop a rash on the area of application
- If you are pregnant, consult a doctor before using the oil
- Avoid extended exposure to the oil
- Exercise extreme caution when used on children
Helichrysum essential oil is great traditional medicine. It is particularly helpful in several outdoor situations, making it an indispensable addition to your outdoor first aid kit. It is also readily available, as the market now stocks hundreds of variants of high-quality Helichrysum essential oil. The application is simple as well!
This oil will make itself a perfect companion on your outdoor camping trip. However, if serious conditions do arise, do not hesitate to rush for the hospital and opt for conventional treatment as essential oils cannot completely replace modern medicines.
Jodie Walker is a full-time writer and a keen essential oil enthusiast. She believes that there’s an essential oil for everything and loves the benefits that it provides. Her favorites include Sweet orange oil and Peppermint oil for a quick perk me up.