According to a recent pan-European study, edelweiss, a European mountain plant that has woolly white bracts around its small flowers and downy gray-green leaves, is in danger of becoming extinct in Europe's mountain habitats because of climate change. Edelweiss is now therefore a protected species whose gathering is controlled; it grows between an altitude of 6500 to close to 10,000 feet. It is this constant challenge to survive that lends edelweiss essential oil particularly important in shielding skin from environmental stressors and promoting anti-aging action.
As the picture shows, edelweiss is felt-like and the flower is shaped like a star. The name edelweiss is a mid-nineteenth century term from the German edel meaning ‘noble’ + weiss meaning ‘white.’
In Hanokotoba (the Japanese form of the language of flowers or floriography and a means of cryptological communication through the use or arrangement of flowers), the flower symbolizes courage and power.
In folklore, edelweiss is believed to provide powers of invisibility and bullet-proof protection. If you’ve seen the classic movie, The Sound of Music, you’ll remember how the Von Trapp family quietly sang the patriotic song, Edelweiss, during one of the final scenes of the film and were protected from the Nazis as if invisible.
Edelweiss has also been used in coats of arms and armorial bearings to signify daring nobility, purity and immortality.
Edelweiss essential oil is known as an anti-aging and regenerating oil, supporting the skin’s elasticity. It is very anti-oxidative and protective.
Having itself survived harsh weather and atmospheric conditions of very high altitudes edelweiss is well-equipped to help protect the skin from environmental stressors.
It abounds in antioxidants that protect the skin from damaging free radicals which cause aging, sickness and disease:
Chlorogenic acid present in edelweiss cleanses as well as removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents. Chlorogenic acid is a natural compound that works in the body to help reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes and cancer, and it supports the circulatory and nervous systems.
Luteolin, a common flavonoid and antioxidant that exists in many types of plants including fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various diseases such as hypertension, inflammatory disorders, and cancer. Having multiple biological objectives such as helping to reduce inflammation and allergic reactions, luteolin functions biochemically as either an antioxidant or a pro-oxidant as appropriate. It protects the skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Edelweiss contains antioxidant derivatives of the bisabolene (aromatic) sesquiterpene (a natural compound constituent of all essential oils). It offers a calming action to the skin. Sesquiterpene molecules deliver oxygen molecules to cells similar to the way hemoglobin does in the blood. Sesquiterpenes naturally delete bad information in cellular memory.
Beta sisterol, a plant sterol which appears to offer a number of overall health benefits, and calms and soothes the skin, reduces the amounts of free oxygen radicals in tissues which drive chronic, excessive inflammation and oxidation known to promote aging.
Edelweiss essential oil can be found in Ageless La Cure’s Perfection Cream that works to reduce and eliminate brown spots associated with aging or sun damaged skin as well as inhibit melanin production that causes new spots to form.
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow
May you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Bless my homeland forever!
—from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music