Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don (Fam. Asteraceae), elicriso in Italian, Immortelle in German, Everlastings in English, is one of the first medicinal plants I met as a child on the costs of the Mediterranean Sea. I learned about its particular smell and its healing properties in an old herbal book in Tuscany. Later on I found myself gathering these amazing yellow golden flowers together with friends in the surroundings of Urbino (Marche region), under a cloudless sky at the end of June in the Apennines. On the Isle of Elba I met a single Helichrysum shrub growing on a rock on the beach: pure resilience. I was a young woman in search of myself and I am sure this little plant talked to my soul: ….take your love to herbs and plants seriously, accept the gift, give up the past, find your way. It was the invisibile behind the visibile speaking to me, from plant to heart.
This year I’ll gather Helichrysum flowers for extracts (essential oil, hydrosol, herbal teas) on my little piece of land surrounded by trees, gorse, wild thyme… an isle of biodiversity in a healthy landscape, with sandy soil, much sun, bees and birds. I rent the land from a generous man of the village where we lived before the quake. In 2016 we were hit by a sequence of terrificant earthquakes, a strong experience, a trauma. Helichrysum helps me again while I am trying to recover. It is a trauma healing herb, I should write a book about its subtle action… I had never imagined to be able to see Helichrysum growing on a field I cultivate, after the disaster.
This year I will not only gather wild everlastings in the mountains but collect the flowers here, on our “Aromacampo” for the first time. Our two years old Helichrysum shrubs will open their yellow flowers in a few weeks. Life can be a miracle. Grateful.
Read more about Helichrysum italicum in my books “ARS HERBARIA” (both 2nd editions at Natura e Cultura in Italian and Goetheanum Verlag in German)