Helichrysum Species

Helichrysum species

by Jade Shutes

Helichrsyum species

Helichrsyum species

The genus Helichrysum Miller, belonging to the Asteraceae (syn. Compositae) family, includes approximately 500-600 species that are widespread throughout the World. The Helichrysum species are xerophytes (meaning they are plants that have adapted in such a way that they are able to tolerate extended periods of dry conditions1) growing at a wide range of altitudes from the sea level up to 1700 m.a.s.l. (meters above sea level), preferably on sandy or loamy soils, which are often distributed from the lower-meso-Mediterranean to the lower-sub-humid bio-climactic region.2

Its name is derived from the Greek ‘helios’, meaning sun and ‘chryos’, meaning gold, and relates to the typically bright yellow colored group or cluster of flowers displayed on several species within the genus. The essential oil of Helichrysum sp. is produced in glandular trichomes located on the flower petals, sepals and bracts and also on the stem leaves.3

The original Helichrysum popularized in the aromatherapy industry is Helichrysum italicum from Corsica. Of the over 500 species found in the Helichrysum genus, almost 25 species are considered to be native of the Mediterranean area, including Helichrysum italicum and its two subspecies, H. Italicum (Roth) Don ssp. italicum and H. italicum ssp. microphyllum (Willd.) Nyman.

Over the past few years however, essential oils from other Helichrysum species have been coming into the aromatherapy market and these species differ considerably from H. italicum. Not only are they coming in mostly from South Africa but they tend to have a very different chemical composition, specifically a richer content of 1,8 cineole.

South Africa hosts approximately 244-250 Helichrysum species, many of which have been used in South African traditional medicine. For instance, Helichrysum odoratissimum (L.) leaves have been used: to treat wounds/burns, as a sedative and to treat insomnia, to treat coughs, headache, menstrual pain, and eczema, and the leaves have been burned as incense to invoke the goodwill of the ancestors, as a protective charm, and as a protective cleanser.4

Another example of Helichrysum being used in South African traditional medicine would be for Helichrysum splendidum leaves which have been boiled and the steam inhaled to induce sweating.

In general, Helichrysum species found in South Africa have traditionally been used in treating wounds and respiratory tract infections.5 In Rwanda and Burundi, many species of the Helichrysum genus (Asteraceae) are used in traditional folk medicine for treating diarrhea diseases.6

Now lets explore these fascinating species of Helichrysum.

Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don (syn. H. augustifolium DC)
[Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don in Loudon ssp. italicum or H. angustifolium (Lam.) DC (Asteraceae)]

Helichrysum italicum is considered to be the most widespread species in Italy. This species includes two sub-species: H. Italicum (Roth) Don ssp. italicum and H. italicum ssp. microphyllum (Willd.) Nyman. The latter is particularly restricted to the Italian island of Sardinia, as well as to the nearby Mediterranean island of Corsica.

Chemotypes reported:
Helichrysum italicum ssp. microphyllum has two distinct chemotypes which have been reported in literature: 1. ct. nerol and its ester, neryl acetate (approx. 50%) and 2. called ‘type B’, ct. rosifoliol (a sesquiterpene alcohol and stereoisomer of Eudesm-5-en-11-ol).7

For a full monograph on Helichrysum italicum, please see: http://theida.com/essential-oils/helichrysum-helichrysum-italicum

Helichrysum species

Helichrysum species

CINEOLE RICH HELICHRYSUM SPECIES

Helichrysum bracteiferum (DC) H. Humb

Country of Origin: South Africa, Madagascar
Common local name: Rambiazina

Part of plant used: Flowers and Leaves or just Leaves (?)*

*According to the following two aromatherapy companies, Stillpoint Aromatics and Aromatics International, the essential oil is extracted from the flowers, however, while researching H. bracteiferum, I could only find research on an essential oil extracted from the leaves. I am wondering if the essential oil is in fact extracted from the leaves and not the flower, need to research more!

General Chemistry: Oxide (1,8 cineole syn. eucalyptol) rich supported by monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes

Core Components: 1,8 cineole (18-27.9%), b-pinene (10.3-12.71%), b-caryophyllene (4.79 -10.38%), a-humulene (8.11-11.6%)8&9&10&11

Core Therapeutic Activity:
Although there is little research on this specific essential oil, we could determine some core therapeutic activity based upon its main components (1,8 cineole, b-pinene, b-caryophyllene and a-humulene) as well as the chemical families this essential oil contains. Please see profile on components below the remaining Helichrysum species.

We could say that this oil is likely to have: Analgesic, Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Cephalic, Decongestant, Expectorant, Immunomodulatory and Mucolytic activity.

Indicated for: respiratory congestion, asthma, bronchitis, to support Ojas (immunity, vitality), Herpes simplex I and II, inflammatory skin conditions, muscular aches and pains, menstrual cramps, sinusitis, to deepen the breath and to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, colds, flu/influenza, clears the mind (cephalic), may assist when used when other anxiolytic essential oils (think citruses!) in relieving anxiety

Sample Recipe:

Respiratory Inhaler Tube: to relieve congestion and soothe respiratory inflammation
10 drops Helichrysum bracteiferum
7 drops Eucalyptus radiata
5 drops Chamaemelum nobile
3 drops Copaifera officinalis

Helichrysum species

Helichrysum species

Helichrysum gymnocephalum

Country of Origin: South Africa, Madagascar

Part used: leaves

General Chemistry: Oxide rich supported by monoterpenes

Core Components: 1,8 cineole (47.4.13%-72.15%)12&13&(Afoulous, et al. 2011)
* similar cineole content as Eucalyptus radiata, E. smitthii, and Laurus nobilis

Core Therapeutic Activity:
Although there is little research on this specific essential oil, we could determine some core therapeutic activity based upon its main component – 1,8 cineole. H. gymnocephalum has been traditionally used therapeutically as a tea or syrup prepared from the leaves to treat gingivitis or buccal ulcers. (Afoulous, et al. 2011) Analgesic, aphrodisiac, antiseptic, antiscorbutic, deodorant, tonic and anthelmintic applications have been reported for H. gymnocephalum. (Afoulous, et al. 2011)

We could say that this essential oil is likely to have: Analgesic, Antibacterial, Anticarcinogenic (Afoulous, et al. 2011), Anti-inflammatory, Antimalarial (Afoulous, et al. 2011), Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Decongestant, Expectorant, Immunomodulatory and Mucolytic activity. Please see profile on 1,8 cineole below the remaining Helichrysum species.

Indicated for: respiratory congestion, asthma, bronchitis, COPD, to support Ojas (immunity, vitality), Herpes simplex I and II, muscular aches and pains, headache, menstrual cramps, sinusitis, to deepen the breath, muscle spasms

 

Helichrysum odoratissimum

Country of Origin: South Africa

General Chemistry: Oxide and monoterpene rich supported by sesquiterpenes

Core Components: 1,8 cineole (27.89%), a-pinene (26.41%) supported by sesquiterpenes14

In a research paper on H. odoratissimum: the essential oils main components were: α-humulene (13.5%), β-caryophyllene (12.6%), (Z)-β-ocimene (10.8%), α-pinene (5.7%).15 With so much chemical variation in all species of Helichrysum, it seems valuable to always request a GC/MS report to understand the chemistry of the essential oil you are purchasing.

Core Therapeutic Activity:
Although there is little research on this specific essential oil, we could determine some core therapeutic activity based upon its main components – 1,8 cineole and a-pinene. Like the Eucalyptus essential oils, H. odoratissimum would be a beneficial essential oil for respiratory congestion or lowered immunity. Both 1,8 cineole and a-pinene are also potent antispasmodic components and hence would be indicated for spasmodic coughs or other muscular spams.

We could say that this essential oil is likely to have: Analgesic, Antibacterial, Anti-infectious, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Decongestant, Expectorant, Immune support, Mucolytic

Indicated for: respiratory congestion, asthma, bronchitis, to support Ojas (immunity, vitality), Herpes simplex I and II, inflammatory skin conditions, muscular aches and pains, menstrual cramps, sinusitis, to deepen the breath and to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, colds, flu/influenza, clears the mind (cephalic)

Sample Recipe:

Respiratory Salve: To support and enhance immunity
Makes approx 2 ounces of Salve:

1/4 ounce beeswax
1/4 cup sweet almond or sesame oil
10 drops Helichrysum odoratissimum
12 drops Myrtus communis
10 drops Eucalyptus globulus
7 drops Picea mariana

 

Other Helichrysum species

Helichrysum splendidum (Thunb.) Less.

Common name: Peta

Country of Origin: South Africa

General Chemistry: Rich in monoterpenes and sequiterpenes supported by sesquiterpene alcohols

Core Components: β-phellandrene (17%), b-pinene (9.09-9.13%), δ-cadinene (11.59-12.09%), germacrene D (7.66 – 7.75&)15&16

Core Therapeutic Activity:
Upon extensive researching, I would find almost nothing about this specific essential oil other then what is on a few aromatherapy sites. However, with that said, we could determine some core therapeutic activity based upon its main components. And for this specific grouping we will look more at the general therapeutic properties of monoterpenes and sequiterpenes.

We could say that this essential oil is likely to have: Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Immunomodulatory.

Safety Summary: Does not appear to represent any safety concerns outside of the standard. (e.g. keep away from children)

 

 Research on Core Components

CINEOLE, 1,8 CINEOLE, EUCALYPTOL

  • 1,8 cineole syn. eucalyptol or cajeputol is an oxide and an ether. The name 1,8 refers to the fact that the oxygen atom is bonded to the first and eighth carbon atoms. 1,8 cineole is found in high concentrations in such essential oils as: Eucalyptus species, Laurus nobilis, Lavandula latifolia, Melaleuca quinquenervia, Myrtus communis, Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole and Elettaria cardamomum.
  • Cineole: affinity with respiratory system
    Cineole is an expectorant and mucolytic agent, and is a universal ingredient in cough lozenges and other medications.17
  • Cineole: antiviral and expectorant properties are well known.18
  • 1,8 cineole possesses noted antiviral activity, antitussive effects (relieves coughs), bronchodilator effects (help open the bronchial tubes (airways) of the lungs, allowing more air to flow through them), mucolytic and mucociliary effects (mucolytics break down or dissolve mucus and thus facilitate the easier removal of these secretions from the respiratory tract by the ciliated epithelium, a process known as mucociliary clearance) and anti-inflammatory activity. 1,8 cineole also has positive effects on lung function parameters whether for the common cold or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.19
  • 1,8 cineole has been used in traditional medicine as a secretolytic remedy for bronchitis, sinusitis, and colds.20
  • 1,8 cineole has clinically relevant anti-inflammatory activity in the treatment of bronchial asthma. This study had patients receiving 200mg t.i.d. orally.21
  • 1,8 cineole inhibits acetylcholinesterase.22
  • 1,8 cineole exhibits myorelaxant activity, specifically for airway passages.23&24
    (A muscle relaxant is a drug which affects skeletal muscle function and decreases the muscle tone. It may be used to alleviate symptoms such as muscle spasms, pain, and hyperreflexia.)
  • Concomitant therapy with 1,8 cineole reduces exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a placebo-controlled double-blind trial, patients receiving 200mg of cineole internally 3 times a day experienced a reduced frequency, duration and severity of exacerbations associated with COPD. Secondary outcomes included: improved lung function, reduced dyspnea (shortness of breath) and increased quality of life.25
  • 1,8 cineole showed bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity.26 **Note: A bacteriostatic agent is a biological or chemical agent that stops bacteria from reproducing, while not necessarily harming them otherwise. A bactericidal, on the other hand, actually kills the bacteria.
  • 1,8 cineole exhibits anti-inflammatory activity beneficial in the treatment of asthma.
    1,8 cineole has clinically relevant anti-inflammatory activity in the treatment of bronchial asthma. This study had patients receiving 200mg t.i.d. orally. In conclusion, the present study supports for the first time a clinically relevant anti-inflammatory activity of the terpenoid oxide 1.8-cineol and offers new perspectives for its longterm therapeutic use in airway diseases, such as asthma.27
  • 1,8 cineole exhibits anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity.
    The present results, when taken together with the recent reports that describe the inhibitory effects of cineole on the formation of prostaglandins and cytokines by stimulated monocytes in vitro, may provide additional evidence for its potential beneficial use in therapy as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent.28
  • 1,8 cineole offers an effective treatment for nonpurulent (no pus) rhinosinusitis.
    The dosage of the active ingredient was two 100-mg capsules of cineole three times daily. The result for the primary end point was validated by the amelioration of the following secondary end points: headache on bending, frontal headache, sensitivity of pressure points of trigeminal nerve, impairment of general condition, nasal obstruction, and rhinological secretion. Mild side effects, possibly associated with medication, were observed in two patients as heartburn and exanthema after treatment with cineole.29
  • Concomitant therapy with 1,8 cineole reduces exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a placebo-controlled double-blind trial, patients receiving 200mg of cineole internally 3 times a day experienced a reduced frequency, duration and severity of exacerbations associated with COPD. Secondary outcomes included: improved lung function, reduced dyspnea (shortness of breath) and increased quality of life.30

 

a-pinene

  • α-pinene isolated from Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae) induces apoptosis and confers antimetastatic protection in a melanoma model.
  • The results of this study show that α-pinene could be a valuable component for the therapy of melanoma, given its great potential to induce apoptosis on cancer cells. Most importantly, mice systemically treated with α-pinene showed a marked reduction in the lung tumor nodules indicating an important activity against metastatic melanoma.32
  • α-pinene exhibits anti-inflammatory activity.
    The anti-inflammatory activity shown by the essential oil of Bupleurum fruticescens can be attributed to the two major components, α-pinene and β-caryophyllene.33
  • α-pinene has immunostimulating activity.
    The monoterpenes 1,8-cineole, menthol, citral, α-pinene, limonene, linalool, thymol, camphor, and borneol showed that the pine and lemon oils had the strongest immunostimulating activity, while α-pinene displayed the strongest action among the monoterpenes, followed by borneol and 1,8-cineole.34
  • α-pinene and β-pinene exhibit spasmolytic (antispasmodic activity).35
  • α-pinene exhibits relaxant and spasmolytic activity.36
  • α-pinene exhibits antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in vitro.
    Among the analyzed compounds, monoterpene hydrocarbons were slightly superior to monoterpene alcohols in their antiviral activity, alpha-pinene and alpha-terpineol revealed the highest selectivity index. However, mixtures of different monoterpenes present in natural tea tree essential oil revealed a ten-fold higher selectivity index and a lower toxicity than its isolated single monoterpenes.37
  • α-pinene exhibits antibacterial activity.38
  • alpha-pinene inhibits acetylcholinesterase.
    (+)- and (-)-alpha-pinene and (+)-3-carene were potent inhibitors of AChE.39
  • α-pinene and Myrtle (Myrtus communis) exhibit antioxidant activity.
    It is important to note that the antioxidant activities of the studied essential oils are due essentially to its abundance of the α‐pinene and also to the overall chemical constituents contained is this oil. Essential oils of Myrtus communis L and their active components, analyzed showed good antioxidant capacities compared with vitamin C (standard antioxidant compound).40
  • α-pinene and β-pinene exhibit antimicrobial activity.41
  • alpha-pinene showed a significant analgesic activity.
    Among the major compounds of Foeniculum vulgare essential oil screened herein, only alpha-pinene and fenchone exhibited antinociceptive activity in tail-flick model of pain in mice without inducing motor incoordination.42
  • alpha-pinene exhibits antifungal activity.
    Components showing the most activity, with minimum inhibitory concentrations and minimum fungicidal concentrations of < or =0.25%, were terpinen-4-ol, alpha-terpineol, linalool, alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, followed by 1,8-cineole.43

a-humelene

  • α-humulene and trans-caryophyllene exhibit anticarcinogenic activity.
    The sesquiterpenes α-humulene and trans-caryophyllene were the main compounds of our sub-fractions from the essential oil S. officinalis and had the ability to inhibit cancer cell growth.44&45
  • α-humulene and (−)-trans-caryophyllene exhibit anti-inflammatory activity.46
  • α-humulene and (−)-trans-caryophyllene, derived from the essential oil of C. verbenacea, might represent important tools for the management and/or treatment of inflammatory diseases. Our results revealed that oral treatment with both compounds displayed marked inhibitory effects in different inflammatory experimental models in mice and rats. α-humulene and (−)-trans-caryophyllene were effective in reducing platelet activating factor-, bradykinin- and ovoalbumin-induced mouse paw oedema, while only α-humulene was able to diminish the oedema formation caused by histamine injection.47
  • α-humulene exhibits antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus.48
  • α-humulene exhibits anti-inflammatory activity against allergy-related inflammation.49

b-caryophyllene

  • Caryophyllene is usually found as a mixture with isocaryophyllene (the cis double bond isomer) and α-humulene (obsolete name: α-caryophyllene), a ring-opened isomer.
  • β-caryophyllene (BCP) shows anti-inflammatory activity.50&51
    Given the excellent safety profile of BCP in humans it has tremendous therapeutic potential in a multitude of diseases associated with inflammation and oxidative stress.52
  • β-caryophyllene exhibits local anaesthetic activity.53
  • β-caryophyllene has an anxiolytic-like effect.54
  • β-caryophyllene exhibits anxiolytic activity.
    The major component, β-caryophyllene, also has an anxiolytic-like effect that may contribute to the effects of EO of Spiranthera odoratissima A. St. Hil. (manacá)55
  • β-caryophyllene has antispasmodic activity.56
    Our results demonstrate that trans-caryophyllene has anti-spasmodic activity on rat tracheal smooth muscle which could be explained, at least in part, by the voltage-dependent Ca²⁺ channels blockade.57
  • trans-caryophyllene exhibited high cytotoxic activity against the amelanotic melanoma (a type of skin cancer in which the cells do not make melanin) and renal adenocarcinoma cells.58
  • β-caryophyllene exhibits anti-viral activity against the Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).
    b-caryophyllene is the most active antiviral compound tested. Star anise as a complex mixture and b-caryophyllene as single constituent might be applied as topical therapeutic agents in the treatment of recurrent herpes infection.59

b-pinene

  • β-pinene shows anti-depressant and sedative-like activity.
  • The essential oil of Litsea glaucescens showed antidepressant-like activity at doses of 100 and 300 mg/Kg. The monoterpenes β-pinene and linalool were identified as the two main active principles of the essential oil, and showed antidepressant-like and sedative-like activity.61
  • α-pinene and β-pinene exhibit spasmolytic (antispasmodic activity).62



References

1 www.conservancy.co.uk/learn/…/xerophytes.pdf

2 Perrini R, Morone-Fortunato M, Lorusso E, Avato P. (2009). Glands, essential oils and in vitro establishment of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don ssp. microphyllum (Willd.) Nyman. Industrial Crops and Products 29, pp. 395-403.

3 Perrini R, Morone-Fortunato M, Lorusso E, Avato P. (2009). Glands, essential oils and in vitro establishment of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don ssp. microphyllum (Willd.) Nyman. Industrial Crops and Products 29, pp. 395-403.

4 Lourens A C U, Viljoen A M, van Heerden F R. (2008). South African Helichrysum species: A review of the traditional uses, biological activity and phytochemistry. Journal of Ethnopharamcology 199, pp. 630.652.

5 Lourens A C U, Viljoen A M, van Heerden F R. (2008). South African Helichrysum species: A review of the traditional uses, biological activity and phytochemistry. Journal of Ethnopharamcology 199, pp. 630.652.

6 Kajangwe V, Tomani JC, Mukazayire MJ, Chalchat JC, Duez P. (2008). Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of essential oils of 3 Helichrysum species. Planta Med 74 – PI17

7 Perrini R, Morone-Fortunato M, Lorusso E, Avato P. (2009). Glands, essential oils and in vitro establishment of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don ssp. microphyllum (Willd.) Nyman. Industrial Crops and Products 29, pp. 395-403.

8 http://www.stillpointaromatics.com/helichrysum-bracteiferum-essential-oil-aromatherapy?keyword=helichrysum

9 http://www.aromaticsinternational.com/helichrysum-bracteiferum103?keyword=helichrysum

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12 http://www.stillpointaromatics.com/helichrysum-gymnocephalum-essential-oil-aromatherapy?keyword=helichrysum

13 http://www.aromaticsinternational.com/helichrysum-gymnocephalum105?keyword=helichrysum

14 http://www.aromaticsinternational.com/helichrysum-odoratissimum105?keyword=helichrysum

15 Kajangwe V, Tomani JC, Mukazayire MJ, Chalchat JC, Duez P. (2008). Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of essential oils of 3 Helichrysum species. Planta Med 74 – PI17

16 http://www.aromaticsinternational.com/helichrysum-splendidum101?keyword=helichrysum

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35 Sadraei H, Asghari GR, Hajheshemi V, Kolagar A, Ebrahimi M. (2001) Spasmolytic activity of essential oil and various extracts of Ferula gummosa Boiss. on ileum contractions. Phytomedicine.(5):370-6.

36 Camara CC, Nascimento NR, Macedo-Filho CL, Almeida FB, Fonteles MC. Antispasmodic effect of the essential oil of Plectranthus barbatus and some major constituents on the guinea-pig ileum. Planta Med. 2003 Dec;69(12):1080-5.

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44 el Hadri A, Gomez del Rio, M A, Sanz J, Coloma A G, Idaomar M, Ribas Ozonas B, Gonzalez J B, Sanchez Reu, M I. (2010) Cytotoxic activity of α-humulene and transcaryophyllene from Salvia officinalis in animal and human tumor cells. An. R. Acad. Nac. Farm., 76 (3): 343-356

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Additional Reference:

Afoulous S., Ferhout H, Raoelison EG, Valentin A, Moukarzel B, Couderc F, Bouajila J. (2011). Helichrysum gymnocephalum essential oil; chemical composition and cytotoxic, antimalarial and antioxidant activities, attribution of activity origin by correlations. Molecules, 16(10):8273-91. http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/16/10/8273

 

Afoulous S. et al. (2011). Helichrysum gymnocephalum essential oil: chemical composition and cytotoxic, antimalarial and antioxidant activities, attribution of the activity origin by correlations. Molecules, 16(10): 8273-8291. doi: 10.3390/molecules16108273. Retrieved 24 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21959299 – See more at: http://www.herbs-info.com/essential-oils/helichrysum-essential-oil.html#sthash.GknvFQdK.dpuf
[9] Afoulous S. et al. (2011). Helichrysum gymnocephalum essential oil: chemical composition and cytotoxic, antimalarial and antioxidant activities, attribution of the activity origin by correlations. Molecules, 16(10): 8273-8291. doi: 10.3390/molecules16108273. Retrieved 24 April 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21959299 – See more at: http://www.herbs-info.com/essential-oils/helichrysum-essential-oil.html#sthash.GknvFQdK.dpuf
(Helichrysum bracteiferum)
Helichrysum Bracteiferum Essential Oil
(Helichrysum bracteiferum) – See more at: http://www.stillpointaromatics.com/helichrysum-bracteiferum-essential-oil-aromatherapy?keyword=helichrysum#sthash.osHSHmf8.dpuf

Comments

  1. Any of these for the skin

  2. I am absolutely in love with Helichrysum splendidum. I love the energetic of this oil and would love to see the natural plant!

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