Helichrysum nutritional value and collection
One of the many special herbs that thrive in Greece, a truly unique herb for its therapeutic and cosmetic properties, as well as the rich history and mythology that conceals its name, is helichrysum. It is native to the Mediterranean and known from antiquity in Greece.
You will come across helichrysum in Greece with many names, such as amarantos, sempreviva or wild pepper, while its origin is European and mainly Greek with many species of the same family (at least 500) with only ten but rare species, thriving in Greece. The native helichrysum is found in rocky, mountainous and coastal areas.
This herb stands out for its beautiful flowers, which are evergreen, with a striking golden-yellow color, while the shape of the herb looks like a large daisy. Blooming takes place from spring to late summer depending on the climate, and its height does not exceed 30 centimeters.
The name helichrysum comes from antiquity, while many believe that the name comes from the “sun” and “gold” due to the color of the blossoms, others say that it is named after a nymph named Elihrisis and others by “elissos”(spread) and “chrysos” (gold) as helichrysum spread to the Mediterranean. However, etymologically, the name means golden spiral and apparently it has got the name from the beautiful golden flowers that never wither.
The beneficial essential oil is produced exclusively from the flowers giving a rich and sweet aroma. It has been known since antiquity as it has strong healing, regenerative and antiseptic action, properties which are now scientifically confirmed.
In antiquity it was a symbol of beauty, love, eternal youth and fortune, while ancient wreaths were offered by the ancient Greeks to the gods as a symbol of immortality.
While wild helichrysum could be harvested, nowdays it belongs to the herbs that are in danger of extinction just because of the collection without measure. There are now crops in several countries, protecting indigenous species from extinction.