Helichrysum Mixed Colours
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.
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.
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.
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