Your Tears Matter: Going Deeper with Helichrysum

Recently, I was teaching an aromatherapy class on Zoom to a group of students in Taiwan. Helichrysum essential oil is one of the oils we were looking at in detail. As I worked with it, I had one of those desert island moments. If I had to choose a small handful of oils for inner healing, helichrysum essential oil would be on the top of my list.

Helichrysum italicum is int the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and grows profusely in Corsica, an island in the Mediterranean south of France. Although, due to its popularity as an essential oil, it is now being grown elsewhere. The best quality oil still comes from Corsica, due to the unique chemical composition that it acquires from the sunny, hilly exposition and arid soils on the island.

You may know this plant by the name immortelle or everlasting, because its bright yellow, disc-like flowers do not wilt. Their papery texture remains as it was on the living plant once harvested. It’s the flowering tops, which means the flowers and top part of the vegetation, that are distilled for the essential oil. I’ve always found it intriguing that these paper-textured flowers can produce an oil. Having said, that the yields are low, which makes the oil more costly than other Mediterranean plants such a lavender, oregano, thyme, etc.

Helichrysum is very popular in conventional aromatherapy for use in high-quality cosmetics due to its powerful skin healing and soothing properties. It is also an effective treatment for bruises and wounds to the skin. It’s ani-inflammatory, anti -coagulant action as well as its ability to stimulate blood circulation help to bring movement to and absorb the blood trapped under the skin creating the bruise. It is often described as, ‘the oil for pain’.

I’m telling you all this because it makes a lot of sense to me that Helichrysum essential oil acts in the same was to help support our souls (emotional, mental and spiritual bodies) as it does to the physical body.

Repressed emotions from traumas can become like inner bruises, they get trapped in the unconscious. We may be frightened of feeling them or have just packed them away in a corner and pretend they don’t exist. The problem is that what is in our unconscious controls us and can even stop us getting on with our life. Also the energy it takes to repress painful emotions and feelings is taken from any potential creative energy we have.


Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it Fate.” Carl Jung


In my own journey and in my professional life, I have seen Helichrysum time and time again come to the rescue in situations like these. In the same way as the plant helps the body absorb bruises to the skin by getting the blood toned and circulating, it helps the person get movement to psychological and emotional bruises from the past and present that have become stuck and stagnant and therefore difficult to integrate and move on from.

As a practitioner, you may feel, or a client may express that there are tears that have been held back and that they feel they need to cry but can’t. In my experience, Helichrysum is the aroma that can help the tears finally come.

In the same way as it is a powerful healer for external wounds It is an incredibly, powerful healer for the soul, bringing inner peace and self-compassion to the forefront while strengthening our relationship with the unconscious realms.

The esters in this essential oil make the oil calming and relaxing. They balance the central nervous system, which is very supportive to someone, whilst these deeply, buried, often ancient emotions rise to the surface.

Another way I find it useful to think about Helichrysum is by remembering its paper-like, bright yellow flowers, that love the sun and look like tiny suns. The oil’s affinity to the sun helps shine a light inward to illuminate the dark, shadowy corners of the psyche where challenging feelings are often stored. I often feel it’s brings these trapped, stagnant parts of us back to life with its energy. In this way, it is very similar to St. John’s Wort, another beautiful, yellow flower whose connection with the sun chases away the darkness.

Here is a video I recorded on Helichrysum.


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