March 24, 2012
Using Helichrysum to Speed Healing from Injuries, Reduce Pain and Inflammation, 'Why' it Works, and More!
I'm one of the founders of The Ananda Apothecary, and Helichrysum is my downright favorite essential oil. There are many that vie for the aromatic favorite, but if there's one oil I couldn't be without, it's Helichrysum. Why? Because it works, and it's effects are noticeable by virtually everyone who uses it. (Btw, our wildcrafted Corsican Helichrysum italicum is now on sale, 20% off all sizes.)
Healing Sports Injuries Faster
After learning about the properties of Helichrysum, I wanted to give it a try for myself. The first injury to present itself was 'shin splints' - pain along the edge of the inside of the tibia, between 3" to 6" above the ankle bone. This is typically incurred from upping one's running mileage too quickly (or shoes that are too old, over-pronation, etc...but generally 'over-doing it').
I knew from previous experience that I'd need to ice a couple times per day and tape my shins before each run for about a week, I'd need to keep my mileage down - and the pain would go away in about a week. Instead of ice, however, I applied Helichrysum immediately following the run on which the injury was first noticed, and again several times later that day.
Something amazing happened with the Helichrysum...I was able to run pain-free the very next day. Taped-up still (just being safe to not cause further damage), but I felt no pain or sensation of the shin-splints at all.
Speed Healing and Eliminate Bruising of Any Injury
This speeding of healing is typical of acute sports injuries, and virtually all common bumps, bangs, and twists. If one applies the oil to the area as soon as possible, healing time will be dramatically reduced (along with a reduction of the amount of pain that would otherwise have been felt). Further, one may even know a bruise is going to form on a banged knee, for example - yet if Helichrysum is applied quickly enough, no mark will even appear.
A Simple Look at the Chemistry: Why It Reduces Pain & Inflammation, and Speeds Healing
In the last few years, a huge amount of evidence has appeared for the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin, the concentrated extract of the spice turmeric. Helichrysum essential oil is rich in a form of 'curcuminoids' which, when topically-applied, quickly pass through the skin and reach the underlying muscle, tendon or ligament. This prevents the normal swelling process to occur (by turning off the cellular signal to promote swelling).
Halting the swelling process does two things - it reduces the pain, because much of the pain is the result of increased pressure in the area due to the swelling, and reduces the swelling itself. Swelling is supposed to signal us to protect the injured area, but it actually slows the healing process by limiting the rate at which damaged material can be flushed away, and new nutrients can arrive at the injury site.
The Regenerative Potential of Helichrysum
Completely unique to Helichrysum essential oil is a group of molecules called 'di-ketones'. Ketones are well known to stimulate cell division, which means fast injury repair. However, in most cases, ketones are carcinogenic, promoting unwanted cellular proliferation. Yet Helichrysum's 'di-ketones' are completely safe in the manner they stimulate the growth of new, healthy cells.
This is wonderful, as you can imagine, for injury repair, and works superbly in skin-care applications applications as well. Helichrysum regularly applied to scars has been effective at reducing their appearance noticeably. Helichrysum is regarded by European skin care companies as an effective agent to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, along with other features of the skin. And it's recently even been considered to stimulate the regrowth of hair for both men and women.
So now you see, why Helichrysum essential oil is my personal favorite. It does SO much, it's really worth having around the house!