The Sleeping Giant of Mediterranean Herbal Medicine: Helichrysum italicum

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Helichrysum italicum (Roth.) Don. (Asteraceae) is an iconic plant of the Mediterranean area (Figure 1), but the use of its essential oil in glamorous perfumes and personal care products has turned it into a veritable icon of luxury. However, just like the geographical distribution of Helichrysum species extends beyond the Mediterranean region, the properties of H. italicum are not limited to fragrance as they can benefit human health as well. In this context, H. italicum can be viewed as the sleeping giant of Mediterranean herbal medicine, and its extracts have the potential to be developed as dietary supplement ingredients just like its essential oil has been used successfully in perfumery and aromatherapy. Waking this giant will not be simple, but recent studies have provided the basis for a Helichrysum renaissance. This article outlines the fascinating ethnopharmacology of H. italicum in the light of modern molecular investigations of its…

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