The genus Helichrysum consists of an estimated 600 species, in the sunflower family (Asteraceae).
Helichrysum italicum (also known as Helichrysum angustifolium) is steam distilled to produce a yellow-reddish essential oil popular in fragrance for its unique scent, best described as a mixture of caramel and florals notes. Angustifolium means narrow leaved.
Helichrysum angustifolium yields are very small ranging from as little as 0.08 to 0.18%.
France is offering a viable alternative to the Croatian origin as harvesting restrictions over recent years in Croatia have resulted in a significant reduction in their annual production. Contrastingly France has been working to increase their capacities and will manage 200 kilo in their July 2016 harvest, an increase from 80 kilo in 2015.
Last year’s harvest of Helichrysum was good resulting in total production of almost 500 kg of essential oil. Output continues to grow, but there is a growing demand from the aromatherapy sector. Given the high costs of production, in part due to low yields, producers will be reluctant to see prices slide.
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