Monthly Archives: May 2017

Everlasting (Helichrysum italicum)


Family: Asteraceae

Synonyms: Immortelle, helichrysum, curry plant, gold strawflower.

Aroma: Sweet, honey-like, medicinal.

Colour: Golden yellow.

EverlastingPlant: Evergreen shrub with highly aromatic silver grey leaves and clusters of yellow daisy-like flowers.

Main Growing Areas: Corsica, Yugoslavia, France, Madagascar.

Major Constituents: alpha-pinene, gamma-curcumene, alpha-curcumene, neryl acetate, beta-caryophyllene.

Interesting snippets: The names everlasting and immortelle come from the flower’s ability to hold its colour and shape once dried.
In Italy the plant was once used as a broom.
The herb was used in ancient Greece for wound healing.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Fresh flowering tops by steam distillation. It takes over a ton of flowering heads to make between 900 gms and 1.5 kg of essential oil which is why the essential oil is so expensive.

Therapeutic actions: Bruising, sprains, cramps, scarring, wound healing, sensitive and inflamed skin, headache, muscular aches and pains, chronic coughs, rheumatoid arthritis.

Emotional and Spiritual: Emotional scarring, bitterness, frustration and resentment. Mental fatigue.

Gabriel Mojay writes that everlasting has the capacity to break through the deepest, most ‘stuck’ of negative emotions: enduring resentment, half-conscious anger, bitterness of spirit, and a stubbornly negative attitude.

Susanne Fischer-Rizzi writes that everlasting is ideal for people who may have received too little warmth and affection as children.

Robbi Zeck writes that when you are knotted-up inside and unable to stop thinking, the earthy, warming aroma of everlasting unravels the tension that develops from thoughts going round and round. If you are one of the walking wounded, yet immobilised by your thinking and your feelings, then use everlasting to ground you.

Contemplations for the Soul

Are you feeling angry, bitter, negative and resentful of those who seem to have the life you want?
Are you constantly anxious and unable to make any decisions because of it?
Things happen in our lives often in childhood that can leave us feeling emotionally scarred.
This can lead to a stubborn negative attitude and rigidity in an attempt not to experience that pain again.
Time now to begin to heal those scars, accept that you and the life you are living can change.
Go on a journey of self-discovery to find the person you were before all the hurt and pain.
Accept and even welcome change.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic, do not use if taking blood thinning medication.

Sources: Atterby, D, Everlasting Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.49 (2010)
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Fischer-Rizzi, S, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Essential Oils for Radiant Health Sterling Publishing Company (1990)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Kerr, J, Everlasting Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.25 (2003)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)


Aromamassage and Cancer

Aromamassage and cancer

I feel sad and frustrated when I hear that a client, their friend or relative has been turned down for a massage because they have cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment.

There’s no reason why anyone who has cancer should be denied massage, in fact it can be a relaxing time out that can boost well being and help with the stress of gruelling cancer treatments.

Using essential oils can help bring a sense of relaxation, relief from pain, happy memories and in some cases a delay of the burning that can occur with radiation treatments.

I once chose to use Egyptian jasmine (Jasminum officinalis) to massage a client who had been treated for breast cancer. After the massage she told me the aroma took her back to her childhood, growing up in Egypt, a happy memory that relaxed her.

chemo injectionBeing examined and prodded by medical doctors, given harsh chemical cocktails and treatments that make them feel bad and having test after test can make the person feel distant from their body or that they no longer have any control over what happens to them.

Having a massage while having medical treatment for cancer can really put them back in touch with their body again. The simple pleasures of touch, aroma and massage can help reconnect them with their body, making them feel more human and normal at a difficult time.

While doing a cancer aromatherapy course in England 18 years ago I remember doing some neck and shoulder massages for patients who were having chemotherapy. They enjoyed both the aroma and massage which helped relax them. Sometimes their partner, friend or relative would also take advantage of the offer of massage.

relaxing aroma massageThe aromamassage session is also a safe place to talk about how they are feeling and to share their thoughts and fears if they wish. The massage itself is very gentle and adapted to each person’s needs. At the end of the session they usually feel relaxed and nurtured.

It doesn’t just feel relaxing; clinical studies have shown that massage can reduce symptoms such as stress, nausea, pain, fatigue and depression, all common symptoms when people are dealing with a serious illness.

Massage doesn’t spread cancer.

The myth that massage can spread cancer came from the unfounded belief that cancer affected cells can move around the body via the lymphatic system. If this were true then just walking, washing, showering or any kind of movement would cause the cancer to spread. Cancer is NOT spread that way. Cancer develops and spreads because of changes to a cell’s DNA, not through cells being circulated around the body.

A relaxing aromamassage is safe for people at all stages of cancer treatment. The aromatherapist will make a blend specifically for you, if you are the one having the massage, and will avoid massaging any treatment or tumour sites to prevent any discomfort and allow you to relax fully.

Using the right combination of essential oils, in the right dilution combined with gentle massage can help reduce pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety and depression resulting in better sleep, more mental clarity and a better quality of life in people having cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

So if you have cancer or are undergoing treatment for cancer, consider having a aromamassage to help you relax and feel more normal.