Helichrysum italicum, also known as curry plant or immortelle, is a small perennial shrub that belongs to the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It is native to the Mediterranean region, including parts of Italy, France, Spain, and Turkey.
The plant grows up to 50 cm in height and has narrow, silver-grey leaves that are covered in fine hairs. Its yellow flowers bloom from mid-summer to early autumn and are characterized by their papery texture and long-lasting nature, hence the name "immortelle".
Helichrysum italicum is cultivated for its essential oil, which is extracted from the flowers and leaves through steam distillation. The oil is highly valued in aromatherapy and cosmetics for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and healing properties. It is often used in skincare products to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and to soothe irritated skin.
In traditional medicine, Helichrysum italicum has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive issues, and skin conditions. Recent scientific studies have confirmed many of its medicinal properties and have shown it to be effective against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Overall, Helichrysum italicum is a versatile and valuable plant with a range of uses in both traditional and modern medicine and cosmetics.