Nature’s Finest Pain Reliever: Helichrysum Essential Oil

Posted on Sunday 30 August 2009

One of the most sought after therapeutic effects from medicines, natural or synthetic, is pain relief. And it may be the single most important one, in that an effective pain reliever can truly change someone’s life. Make it possible to do things that may otherwise not be possible. In America, it’s rare that the word ‘Aromatherapy’ comes to mind when considering effective approaches to pain, but a little known essential oil is quickly growing in popularity for one big reason: safe, effective pain relief.

A Remarkable Pain Reliever

The pure essential oil steam distilled from the flowers of the Helicrhysum italicum plant is really an absolutely remarkable healing agent. Not just compared to natural medicines, but compared to ALL pain relieving medicines available today. It is safe, effective, has no addiction potential and very easy-to-use. Pain relief reported by most users happens nearly instantly — certainly within minutes of application. The oil is listed in ‘Essential Oil Safety’ as non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing. It is regularly prescribed for undiluted application to the skin (where very few other essential oils are). Most conservatively, the oil is sometimes said to be avoided during pregnancy, and by young children — but this warning is not found in today’s most advanced aromatherapy texts. The only other concern is of the oils helpful anticoagulant properties, and is sometimes contraindicated if one is taking blood thinning medication. The amounts absorbed for pain relief are exceptionally small. However, if your situation is questionable, check with a health professional before use, but know that the essential oil is considered to be exceptionally safe for the vast majority of the population.

A Look at the Chemistry: Why Helichrysum Works

Essential oils are evaluated using a process called Gas Chromatography. This test tells the us what the oil is made of — and essential oils are really interesting: they’re made of all KINDS of different natural chemicals. Within Helichrysum essential oil, one finds chemicals naturally made by the plant’s flowers that 1) reduce inflammation and act as chelators (they can remove unwatned toxins), 2) prevent bruising and blood clots, 3) relax tight muscles and connective tissue, and 4) stimulate cellular regeneration. All in one oil! And it’s these components that work together to offer pain relief — in a big way. Aspirin, for example, is a blood thinner and anti-inflammate. Together, these actions produce its pain relief. Helichrysum is a far more complex natural substance, that not just masks pain, but actually addresses the cellular physiology that is causing it.

Who Can Benefit from Helichrysum?

What sorts of pain can be addressed using this essential oil? Helichrysum is topically applied , and as such works for virtually all pain in the muscular-skeletal system: Muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. All kinds of back pain and neck pain can be helped, as are traumatic injuries such as bruises, sprains and strains. Helichrysum is excellent to have around the house of sports enthusiasts — one 42 year old hockey player in Boulder, Colorado refers to it as ‘the magic oil’ for all the beating-up he takes in the rink. Arthritis can be helped too (warming oils like Ginger and Black Pepper can be blended with it, if warming helps the condition). It’s safety and efficacy is really remarkable: nearly every form of pain seems to respond positively to Helichrysum essential oil application, whereas the oil has only one commonly-noted warning. As it acts as a blood thinner, those taking blood thinning medication should consult their physician before using, and the oil should never be applied to open wounds as to not interfere with coagulation.

How to Use Helichrysum Essential Oil for the Greatest Benefit

There are essentially two unique conditions which determine the way the essential oil is used: whether the injury or pain is Acute (just occurred) or Chronic (has been present for some time, and is not obviously healing). For acute cases, like one has JUST twisted an ankle, banged a knee, or burned themselves, Helichrysum is applied ‘neat’, or directly from the bottle at 100% strength. This gets the most amount of oil delivered to the area as quickly as possible. Once an injury is not getting worse, or the condition or pain has been present for some time, Helichrysum is often diluted to about 20% in an oil that acts as a ‘massage’ base. Helichrysum and this ‘carrier’ oil (Jojoba is commonly used) are then frequently massaged-in.

In most cases of chronic pain, diluting in another ‘carrier’ oil — like Sweet Almond, Jojoba, or even Olive oil — will ‘extend’ the Helichrysum, and can help improve its effects over a larger area. If using for the entire mid-back area for example, one can dilute one part Helichrysum into 5 or even 10 parts Jojoba oil and massage-in as frequently as necessary. Making our own formulation is very easy to do. It is recommended to start of with lower dilutions and work your way up only if necessary; this helps you conserve the precious oil by only using as much as required for the desired results. Forty drops of Helicrysum in each ounce of carrier oil will create an approximate 5 percent dilution; eighty drops for a 10 percent dilution; etc.

Adding Other Essential Oils for a Personal Formula

Helichrysum essential oil can be blended with other essential oils in your formula to make a ‘custom’ recipe. Tea tree can be added to provide antiseptic / antibactieral action. Lavender is an excellent choice if you would like to add a little ‘anti-stress’ effect. To further enhance the anti-inflammation of the essential oil, Blue Chamomile is an excellent choice (which is most effective used at a low dilution of only 1-2% of the total formula). For a warming effect, Ginger or Black Pepper can be used; these oils will increase circulation and are often included in blends for arthritis support. For even more effective pain relief, Wintergreen essential oil can be used cautiously — it is actually liquid aspirin, with a potential for overdose. The two oils together can synergize for an extra-strength pain formula for occasional use. Finally, Helichrysum is used in wound and scar healing formulas (again, once the wound is sealed) mixed with Sea Buckthorn Berry, in a base of Rosehip Seed oil (there are many versions of this recipe — a little searching will help you find the right one for you).

Use RIGHT KIND of Helichrysum for Best Results

All the pain relieving effects discussed here refer specifically to the essential oil from the flowers of the Helichrysum italicum plant. The best of these oils is considered to come from France and the island of Corsica — these oils have the highest concentration of the muscle relaxing component, and often times the highest concentration of the regenerative components as well. Helichrysum from the Balkans, Croatia and Serbia Montenegro can have higher levels of anticoagulants and anti-inflammatory constituents. ALL these are ‘italicum’ species however, and will impart their wonderful pain-relieving and healing effects. The oil is not inexpensive! Beware of oils that seem priced too low, as they may not contain pure essential oil, and will not produce the same results. Also, if you are in the care of a medical doctor, be sure to consult them before using Helichrysum essential oil just to be sure there will be no contraindications with your condition or medication. At the same time, a great many people have experienced excellent results with this important essential oil, and if it sounds like it’s for you, it’s almost certainly worth a try!

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