Helichrysum Italicum vs Gymnocephalum
There are several varieties of the popular helichrysum essential oil, and I often get questions about which one to choose for specific conditions. I decided to write down a quick and simple guide to help you out in case you are interested in helichrysum and you want to choose a variety that’s right for you.
A bit of background: helichrysum is a family of small daisy-like flowers, found around the Mediterranean, in Africa, and in western Asia. Varieties of helichrysum have been used for millennia for medicinal purposes, particularly for help with wound healing.
Today, helichrysum is famous for its unusual and strong aroma, for the wound healing properties, and for its many uses in skincare (particularly anti-aging).
While the different varieties of helichrysum share much in common, each variety has its own aroma and chemical makeup. The resulting essential oils contain different therapeutic compounds, and might be useful for different health uses. Here’s a breakdown of the Helichrysum varieties we offer.
Helichrysum Italicum grows all around the Mediterranean. It has a strong scent, reminiscent of hay mixed with honey, or alternately caramelized sugar and ham (yes, you read that right).
Our Helichrysum Italicum, grown in France, is also known as Immortelle. This essential oil contains a very high level (39% or more) of neryl acetate, a compound originally discovered in neroli oil. Neryl acetate is one of the main skin-benefitting compounds in helichrysum, and it’s responsible for the skin cell regeneration and anti-aging properties that helichrysum is famous for.
In addition to neryl acetate, our Immortelle essential oil contains significant amounts of alpha-pinene, a powerful anti-microbial compound present in rosemary and pine essential oils, and gamma-curcumene, an anti-inflammatory. These two compounds give our Helichrysum Immortelle its wound healing and pain relief properties.
Helichrysum Italicum is also calming and relaxing for the mind as well as for the body.
Helichrysum Gymnocephalum is an entirely different species of Helichrysum that grows in Madagascar. It has a fresh, clean, and camphorous aroma. Locally, it’s used for its aphrodisiac, stimulant, and antiseptic properties, which are all inherited by the essential oil.
The essential oil of Helichrysum Gymnocephalum has a very high concentration of 1,8 cineole, also known as eucalyptol, one of the main components of eucalyptus essential oil. As a consequence, Helichrysum Gymnocephalum is a great aid in treating bronchitis, clearing congestion, and healing the respiratory system.
In addition, this oil is anti-inflammatory, it can reduce pain, and it helps treat many kinds of infections. Unlike the Italicum varieties, which tend to be calming, our Helichrysum Gymnocephalum essential oil is stimulating and energizing.
Combining the Two Varieties
Many of our customers have reported great results for tinnitis and other nerve related issues from combining both varieties of Helichrysum. For tinnitis, people have put a few drops of each variety on a cotton ball and put that over the opening to the ear canal. For other nerve related issues, use the massage method, bath method or diffuse the oils. For more information on how to use essential oil, please see This Page.