Tips for Growing Helichrysum

COMMON NAMES:
Golden Eternal Flower, Everlasting, Strawflower, Curry Plant, Immortelle, Licorice Plant

LATIN NAME:
Helichrysum italicum

HISTORY:
A plant much admired for the beauty of its blooms, Helichrysum comes from the Greek word helisso (meaning "to turn around") and chrysos (meaning "gold"). Europeans historically used Helichrysum as an anti-inflammatory. Native to Africa, it has also been used by East and West African cultures, and is particularly wide-spread in its use in traditional Southern African tribal medicine. The Xhosa tribe used it to treat wounds topically, and the Zulu and Xhosa burned the leaves of the plant as an incense for ceremonial rituals. Historically, it was also revered as a powerful aphrodisiac for attracting a lover. Medically, it has been used as a traditional herb for chest complaints, colic, fever, internal sores, coughs, colds, headaches and topical uses.

HERBAL PROPERTIES AND USES:
Helichrysum offers powerful tissue regeneration properties, and aids in the formation of scar tissue. European researchers have found that the helichrysum oil can reduce tissue pain, improve overall skin conditions, increase circulatory function, reduce cholesterol, stimulate liver cell activity, and reduce skin discoloration and scarring. It is a known mucolytic, antifungal, expectorant, anticoagulant, antispasmodic and anticatarrhal.

Helichrysum Cultivation and Growing Methods

ANNUAL/PERRENIAL PLANT:
May be annuals, herbaceous perennials or shrubs.

PARTS USED:
Flowers, stems, leaves, roots

SOIL REQUIREMENTS:
Does best in clay, loam and sandy soil, with a 6 to 7 pH level. This plant is tolerant of poor soil.

SUN REQUIREMENTS:
Thrives best in partial to full sun.

HEIGHT:
60-90 cm in height

SPACING:
Space seedlings around 20cm apart for smaller varieties, and 40cm apart for larger ones.

GROWING ZONES:
Grows well in U.S. Zones 8-11

PLANTING TIME:
Plant seedlings indoors in early spring, or sow seeds on the surface of soil after the last frost of spring.

POLLINATION:
Propagation by seed and cuttings.

FLOWERING/SEEDING TIME:
Seed germination occurs from one to three weeks after planting. Seeds germinate best at a temperature of 18 to 23 degrees Centigrade.

HARVESTING:
Flowers can be as harvested as they open in summer and autumn.

DRYING METHODS / YIELD:
Flowers and leaves can be dried in the sun directly.

PLANT YIELD:
The life-span of this plant is from 4-6 years, making for a good yearly harvest from one plant.

PRESERVATION / PACKAGING METHODS:
Flower buds and leaves may also be stored in an airtight glass container for up to one year.

ESSENTIAL OIL USE:
Extensive use as an essential for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Particularly used for the treatment of skin conditions and liver ailments. The essential oil has known antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antibacterial, antispasmodic, cholagogue, cicatrizant, astringent, diuretic, hepatic, nervine and stimulant properties.

PLANT CHEMICALS:
The main constituents responsible for the actions of this plant include a-pinene, b-pinene, myrcene, camphene, limonene, eugenol, 1,8-cineole, terpinen-4-ol, linalool, neryl acetate, italidone, geraniol, nerol and several other b-diketones.

IS THIS AN EDIBLE PLANT:
Yes

CAUTIONS / CONTRAINDICATIONS:
Helichrysum is considered to be a non-toxic, non-irritant safe oil. There are no known contraindications for use, and it is even considered safe for babies and children. That said, pregnant and breast-feeding women should consult a health professional before taking.

DRUG INTERACTIONS:
None to date, but care should be taken with all herbal medicines.

Clinical Research About Helichrysum

  • The Department of Botany, University of Pretoria in South Africa has found that Helichrysum aureonitens demonstrates antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in vitro. [PMID: 8733118] Another study from the Department of Botany at the University of Natal Pietermaritzburg found that it was useful for the treatment of headache or inflammatory diseases, due to its high inhibitory activity. (DOI: 10.1007/s11101-004-5570-7) Studies show that it is also an effective antibacterial agent against Staphylococcus aureus and Micrococcus kristinae.
  • Journal of Ethnopharmacology. The antimicrobial activity of 3,5,7-trihydroxyflavone isolated from the shoots of Helichrysum aureonitens. A. J. Afolayan and J. J. M. Meyer. Department of Botany, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa. [PMID: 9292410].
  • Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Antibacterial activity of Helichrysum aureonitens (Asteraceae). J.J. M. Meyer & A. J. Afolayan. Botany Department, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa. Volume 47, Issue 2, 7 July 1995, Pages 109-111 (doi:10.1016/0378-8741(95)01261-B) [PMID: 7500636].

 

References

  1. Gray, Linda. Grow Your Own Pharmacy. 1992. http://www.botanical.com
  2. http://herbalafrica.co.za/HERBSHELICHRYSUM.HTM
  3. The flower-garden: or, Breck's book of flowers. Joseph Breck. p. 184. http://books.google.com/books?id=e7o_AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA184&dq=Helichrysum
  4. Hilliard, O.M., 1983. Flora of Southern Africa Vol 33. Part 7. Fasc.2
  5. Schenk G., 1991. Pacific Horticulture, Vol 52(3)54-56
  6. Davis, Patricia 2005 Aromatherapy An A-Z UK: Vermilion
  7. Lawless, Julia 1995 The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils UK:Element

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.