Elizabeth Ashley, also known as The Secret Healer, has her truly original style in researching and writing about essential oils and plant medicine. This fantastic article comes with a provocative title "Helichrysum – advocating against using the essential oil" and is extremely engaging. Elizabeth takes us Helichrysum lovers and essential oil users on a journey through history, ethnobotany, chemical research with overlooked findings from Italy in the last century, as well as insights into aromatic chemistry in contexts of pathophysiology. Drawing any sections from this extraordinary article is like taking part in a raffle... but here is our pick of the day:
"Armed with this knowledge and also an understanding of the widespread use of Helichrysum locally, led to Santini offering decoctions of Helichrysum to his patients for all manner of respiratory problems from bronchitis to asthma. Now what’s interesting is not only did their coughs improve but also that arthritis and psoriasis. This is the facet of aromatherapy that you will be extremely familiar with and is one of the main tools that lead to us having such a magical art: that a medicinal plant is pleiotropic, meaning that it has many medicinal uses."
"Throughout the 1930s he experimented widely using a syrup and decoction of Helichrysum Between 1949 and 1953, he published many papers in Italian medical journals but sadly they only had very limited distribution inside of general practitioners.
What he determined, over the period of this study, was that the action was very similar to that of cortisone, a new drug that was being distributed and was in very short supply at the time. He also reported insulin sensitivity in animal experiments. He proposed the compound to be called "Helichrysin" but was never able to characterise it chemically. It’s anti-psoriatic uses especially became very useful and two independent studies confirmed its efficacy in the 1950s."
If you are a subscriber to Aromatika Magazine and missed reading this one in the autumn issue, here is your reminder! You will find the article in the autumn edition of Aromatika Magazine (2021. 8.3.1)