Helichrysum italicum L. – Asteraceae


Immortelle is a perennial, herbaceous plant, characteristic of the Mediterranean area. It is a semi-shrub whose stem is branched, up to 60 cm high. The leaves are sessile, oblong and narrow, light green. The flowers are bisexual, yellow, collected in flower heads, and those heads are collected in a shield-shaped inflorescence at the top of the stem. The fruit is a small achenial.

Immortelle grows wild in southern Europe, northwestern Africa and Asia Minor, on dry, rocky or sandy soil. In our country, immortelle grows wild in the coastal area, but today it is much more common to grow certain types of immortelle.


The species Heliccrysum italicum is not officinal in any pharmacopoeia, but it is widely used in the traditional medicine of many countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The active compounds of immortelle are: acetophenones, flavonoids and pholoroglucinol derivatives. Special attention should be paid to the presence of acetophenone, 4-hydroxy-3-(3-methyl-2-butenyl) acetophenone and 4-hydroxy-3-(2-hydroxy-3-isopentenyl) acetophenone, tiliroside, gnaphalin, apigenin and luteolin and of prenylated alpha-pyrone-pholorglucinol heterodimer arsanol, due to their diverse and important properties.

Flowers and leaves of immortelle are used as medicinal parts of the plant and it is most often used to treat skin diseases. The literature mentions the traditional use of immortelle in disorders of the respiratory and digestive tracts, as well as in various inflamed skin conditions. Other therapeutic uses include antimicrobial and analgesic effects (toothache, headache, stomachache), use for faster wound healing and biliary tract disorders. Immortelle is widely used as an aid in the treatment of liver and gallbladder problems, inflammation and infections (antimicrobial action). It is used for insomnia, alopecia and helminthic infections. In addition to anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, immortelle also exhibits antioxidant activity, neutralizes free radicals and protects against oxidative stress.


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