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Helichrysum: history and legend of an immortal plant

2021-06-11 13:55

Anna Sipione

sustainability, food, sicilia, curiosità, elicriso, spezie, environment,

Helichrysum: history and legend of an immortal plant

A plant with a fascinating history and unique properties

"He who adorns himself with helichrysum remains steeped in fortune".

What a story, the helichrysum. This unglamorous shrub, no taller than 50 cm and with its bitter and pungent, almost unpleasant, odor, reserves (curious) surprises. Beginning with its name, which legends attribute to the first nymph who picked it, Elicrisa. A beautiful nymph, with golden hair, who loved a God without being reciprocated and for this reason, upon his death, was transformed by the Gods into a helichrysum plant whose flowers, today, are good luck charms for people in love: "He who adorns himself with helichrysum remains steeped in fortune" recites a popular saying. It is also said that a bunch of helichrysum, left to dry all year round and then burnt on the night of St. John, would allow to conquer the loved one.

 

The properties of this plant, very common in Italy in arid places, especially in the islands, where sometimes it extends so much to cover entire expanses of land, are as powerful as the stories of which it is the protagonist. Helichrysum, in fact, is rich in components such as nerol and neryl acetate, tannin, waxes and helichrysin, which give the body numerous benefits.

 

Erba respiro - as it is called in some regions of Italy for its balsamic properties - can be used as a natural remedy against bronchial cough and it is recommended to subjects suffering from diabetes for its diuretic and depurative action. Moreover, helichrysum is used in the production of ointments against sunburns, burns and psoriasis and, in ophthalmology, as an emollient in case of acute and chronic conjunctivitis.

 

A plant having thousands of beneficial properties and defined as "immortal" because of the characteristic of its flower heads, capable of keeping unchanged in time, even after having been dried.

Immortal like the love of the nymph Elicrisa, still preserved intact in its golden flowers.

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