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Exploring the biological activities of Helichrysum italicum (the curry plant)


In this study, Italian researchers investigated the phytochemical composition and biological activities of the essential oil derived from Helichrysum italicum, also known as the curry plant. Their findings were published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

  • The researchers used gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry to analyze the chemical composition of the essential oil extracted from the flowering aerial parts of H. italicum.
  • From this, they identified 78 different components which accounted for 98.71 percent of the whole essential oil composition.
  • The researchers noted that the following compounds were the most abundant in the oil:
    • Neryl acetate, 15.75 percent
    • a-Pinene, 8.21 percent
    • 4,6,9-Trimethyl-8-decene-3,5-dione (Italidione I), 7.34 percent
    • a-Curcumene and B-selinene, 5.37 percent
    • y-Curcumene, 4.83 percent
    • Nerol, 4.75 percent
    • a-Selinene, 4.68 percent
    • Limonene, 4.55 percent
    • Linalool, 4.42 percent
    • 2,4,6,9-Tetramethyl-8-decene-3,5-dione (Italidione II), 4.26 percent
  • H. italicum essential oil also inhibited the activities of collagenase and elastase in vitro.
  • When its components were tested individually or in combination, neryl acetate, nerol and linalool showed no inhibitory activity against the two enzymes.
  • Only a-pinene and limonene were found to have anti-collagenase and anti-elastase activities.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that H. italicum essential oil has biological properties that can be used to fight skin aging.

Journal Reference:

Fraternale D, Flamini G, Ascrizzi R. IN VITRO ANTICOLLAGENASE AND ANTIELASTASE ACTIVITIES OF ESSENTIAL OIL OF HELICHRYSUM ITALICUM SUBSP. ITALICUM (ROTH) G. DON. Journal of Medicinal Food. 11 October 2019;22(10):1041–1046. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2019.0054

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