If you haven’t yet read my last bulletin (Young Living’s Dalmatian Farm – Part 1), click here to read it.
Today’s bulletin follows on from where we left off in the last bulletin. You’ll love the 10 fun facts about Helichrysum…..and the profound impact that Young Living has had on Helichrysum.
The First Planting – and where it is now!
I was privileged to be present in March 2015 when Gary Young (the founder of Young Living) planted our very first Helichrysum seedling on the Young Living Dalmatian farm.
When I revisited the farm in October 2018, there was a plaque erected in his honour. Seeing this plaque brought tears to my eyes. I’ve missed him so much since his passing in May 2018.
Gary was all about farms. He was a visionary, and knew that by owning our own farms, we’d have the ultimate in quality control, the best ability to conduct research into the plants and what they need, and we’d ensure an ongoing supply into the future (as the essential oil industry continues to explode, and demand for oils reaches a premium).
On both of my visits to the farm, I’ve also had the privilege of planting a Helichrysum seedling in the ground myself, blessing it with affirmations of love and care, so that it will grow strong and healthy, and gift us with the most potent, life-giving oil.
The joy of visiting a Young Living farm, of getting our hands in the soil, is something very personal and heart-touching.
I was able to capture this 1 minute video of Kate Sales straight after her very first farm experience, as we were leaving the Dalmatian Farm. Please click on it to watch – I know you will feel like you were there on the farm with us!
Two oils, Two labels…
As at October 2018 when this bulletin was written, Young Living has planted 1.3 million Helichrysum seedlings on our Dalmatian farm!!!
The Dalmation Farm produces 27% of Young Living’s Helichrysum oil supply, and the oil produced on our Dalmation farm is labelled as “Croatian Helichrysum”.
The remaining 73% of our Helichrysum oil (labelled simply as “Helichrysum”) comes from the co-op of 450 Croatian families living within a 5km (3.1 mile) radius of the farm, and farming their land to Young Living’s exacting requirements.
All of the farms are completely organic, and meet Young Living’s strict criteria, with absolutely no chemicals being used at any point in the production process.
10 Fun Facts about the
Fun Fact # 1
The Helichrysum plant reaches maturity after 3 years, and lives on average for 8 years.
It’s a lot like people – some people live longer, some shorter. The same with Helichrysum.
Fun Fact # 2
In the first 2 years of its life, it still produces essential oil, but not as much as when it’s reached maturity.
It produces 30% in its first year, and 70% in its second year, then 100% thereafter.
Fun Fact # 3
Every year, 8 to 10% of the plants on the farm die from old age or from the “butterfly effect” (ie. from the caterpillars destroying the plant – as described in part 1 of this bulletin), and each year these plants are replaced with new seedlings.
(This pic is of a caterpillar which looks similar to the one that feeds on Helichrysum. Source: www.projectnoah.org).
Fun Fact # 4
90% of the Helichrysum oil is located in the leaves of the plant, so it’s the leaves (not the flowers) that need to be harvested.
This is different to Lavender oil, where it’s the stalk and flower you want to harvest.
Fun Fact # 5
The helichrysum flower is traditionally used for making tea, and also for the production of pharmaceuticals.
Fun Fact # 6
Up until 2017, all the helichrysum harvesting took place manually with scythes.
Young Living attempted to harvest the helichrysum using the same machine that harvests lavender, but it wasn’t suitable for helichrysum.
So Young Living had to design and manufacture a machine specifically for harvesting the Helichrysum!!!!
Fun Fact # 7
The plant is cut at 5 to 7cm (2 to 2.75 inches) off ground level.
Because we’re cutting into the leaves and branches of the plant itself, the harvesting will sometimes damage the plant, and lead to its death. This happens whether you are harvesting by machine or by hand.
Fun Fact # 8
The harvesting machine requires the rows of seedlings to be 1 metre (40 inches) apart, ie. wider than for Lavender.
Knowing this, as new fields are prepared, the rows are being set to 1 metre apart. Inside of each row, the seedlings are planted 30cm (12 inches) apart.
As they grow to maturity, they will be large enough so that all the plants in the row are touching each other.
Fun Fact # 9
Grass will naturally grow in the soil around the Helichrysum plants, so all weeding is done by hand.
That’s why you will sometimes see the odd strand of grass or weed growing near the plants.
This is a good sign that chemical sprays are not being used….because as you know, Young Living NEVER uses chemicals on their plants or fields.
Fun Fact # 10
Up until 1997, Helichrysum plants were wild crafted in Croatia.
This means they were harvested by hand using a scythe, from plants that grow wild in the countryside.
Because the people employed to harvest the wild plants want to collect as much plant matter from the plant as possible (as they typically get paid by the weight or volume that they collect), often they were cutting too deeply into the plant’s tissues, killing the plant in the process.
Sadly, years of over-exploitation has decimated the wild helichrysum harvest, and led to Helichrysum being placed on the endangered species list.
It’s taken Young Living only 2 years of production to have Helichrysum now taken off the endangered species list!!! What a huge and wonderful achievement.
In our next oils bulletin (Part 3), I’ll be covering the unique Seed to Seal process that makes Young Living’s Helichrysum oil so potent and effective. And then in Part 4, I will share my personal adventures with Helichrysum oil, as well as its many uses.