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Helichrysum essential oil comes from the Helichrysum italicum plant, which is generally found in the Mediterranean and southern Europe. The oil can be found in all green parts of the plant, including stems and leaves. Dried flowers from the plant can also be used for medicinal purposes.

Helichrysum italicum is also called curry plant because its leaves has a strong curry-like smell.

Helichrysum is a common, traditionally used medicine in the region in which it grows. It reportedly has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. However, while in-lab and animal studies are promising, there is little research on its effectiveness in humans.

Studies have suggested that helichrysum essential oil can help promote healing, fight infection, and reduce inflammation. Most studies have been small, or involve animals or tissue in the laboratory, rather than humans. However, this early science suggests that helichrysum essential oil may be able to help:

Allergies

There’s some evidence that helichrysum may be able to reduce allergy symptoms, particularly contact dermatitis, a type of allergic rash caused by contact with an allergen.

In addition, allergy symptoms are often the result of inflammation, which happens when the immune system reacts to an allergen. Therefore, the anti-inflammatory properties of helichrysum may help reduce allergy symptoms.

Colds and cough

Helichrysum essential oil may have antimicrobial properties that help fight colds and coughs. Additionally, colds and coughs can cause inflammation in your airways and inside your nose.

Evidence suggests that helichrysum may also help reduce inflammation. The best way to treat colds and coughs with helichrysum oil is to use a diffuser.

Skin inflammation

Treating skin inflammation is a long-standing traditional use of helichrysum oil. One laboratory study suggests that helichrysum is generally anti-inflammatory, and therefore it may be able to treat skin inflammation.

Wound healing

Helichrysum oil may be able to help wounds heal more quickly, although the mechanisms are unclear.

Skin infections are also a common side effect of a wound not healing properly. The antimicrobial properties of helichrysum can help prevent infection, which helps the wound heal in turn.

One 2016 study found that essential oils combined with antibiotics were more effective than antibiotics in preventing infection in skin wounds.

Digestive disorders

Helichrysum essential oil is traditionally used to treat a wide range of digestive issues, such as:

A 2013 study on mice and in the lab suggests that helichrysum oil from the plant’s flower can help stop intestinal spasms, which can help reduce the symptoms of some digestive issues such as cramps, pain, and bloating.

Gallbladder disorders

Treatment of gallbladder disorders is a traditional use of helichrysum throughout Europe. There is some evidence, mainly from animal studies, that helichrysum essential oil can help reduce gallbladder inflammation and associated pain.

Muscle and joint inflammation

Because studies suggest that helichrysum essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties, it may be able to reduce muscle and joint inflammation when rubbed into the affected area.

Infections

The antibacterial effects of helichrysum are one of its most studied areas. Most of these studies have been done in the lab, but they do suggest that helichrysum essential oil may be able to slow or stop the growth of a range of bacteria, including ones that cause staph infections.

Candida

Candida is a type of fungus that can cause a yeast infection, thrush, and other infections throughout the body.

Some evidence from 2018 laboratory tests suggests that helichrysum essential oil can stop or slow the growth of candida. When analyzing the composition of this essential oil in both the liquid and vapor phases it was found to be effective against candida.

Insomnia

Treating insomnia is a traditional use of helichrysum essential oil but there is currently no scientific evidence that this works.

Acne

Helichrysum essential oil is often recommended to treat acne — particularly acne scars — but there is currently no scientific evidence that this works.

Liver diseases

Helichrysum essential oil is used throughout parts of Europe to treat liver diseases but there is currently no scientific evidence that this works.

Helichrysum oil often comes already diluted as a cream that you can use directly on your skin to soothe muscle and joint pain.

If it is pure essential oil, check the label, and if your helichrysum is not diluted to about 2 to 5 percent essential oil, dilute it with a carrier oil yourself before using.

And even prior to diluting to use over large areas of your skin, you’ll want to check for allergic reaction. Dilute the essential oil (2 to 3 drops helichrysum essential oil in 1 ounce of carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil) and place some on your forearm in a small circle. If there is no reaction within a day it should be safe to use on other parts of your body.

You can also use a diffuser to inhale the mist that comes from helichrysum essential oil. Whenever inhaling essential oils, it’s smart to take breaks and keep children, pregnant women, and pets out of the room while diffusing oils, as fumes can be harmful to them.

Never take by mouth (ingest) any essential oil.

Helichrysum essential oil has generally been found to be safe. However, there have been a few studies that suggest there might be some things to be aware of when using the oil.

One 2013 study with human subjects found one case of allergic contact dermatitis, but that side effect does not seem to have been found in 10 other subjects in the study, nor in other studies. It’s best to test the oil on a small patch of skin before using it.

A 2002 study on animals and a 2010 study on human cells in the lab found that helichrysum may potentially stop some liver enzymes from working properly. This means that there’s a chance it can interact with medications that are metabolized by these liver enzymes.

Helichrysum essential oil is generally considered safe, without adverse side effects. However, few studies have been done on whether helichrysum oil is safe for humans.

Helichrysum essential oil can be found at many health food or online stores. Be sure the bottle has the oil’s Latin name (Helichrysum italicum) on it. This usually means it’s of higher quality. Only buy from a source you trust.

Purchase helichrysum products online.

Early research and traditional use suggests that helichrysum may be anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. However, most research has been done on animals or in labs, rather than with humans.

Therefore, use helichrysum essential oil with caution. Applying it diluted topically or using a diffuser is best.