This herbal grass with its Latin name Vetiveria zizanoides is a strong, resistant and aromatic plant native to south India, China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, today also grown in Réunion, the Philippines, the Comoro Islands, Japan, West Africa and Latin America. Vetiver is a perennial plant with a straight stem, a plentiful network of underground roots – and it can reach a height as tall as a man. The aromatic fragrance of the roots have been favoured by people since antiquity. Vetiver was and still is used it to keep away vermin from their domestic animals. And the filaments of the grass are still interwoven into odorant matting, baskets and window coverings to dispel insects. It also plays an important role in preventing ground erosion in wet areas and is used specially in China for ground water purification.
Most grasses have a horizontal network of roots whereas Vetiver puts its roots downwards and is thereby stabilizing the soil – for example after the original forests may have been destroyed.
As a root oil, Vetiver is one of the most grounding of all essential oils
The syrup-like amber-dark oil with its earthy, spicy fragrance has quite a tenacious character and is distilled during endless hours from the roots and the rootlets of the tropical Vetivergrass. Plants not older than 18-24 months yield the best quality. The essential oil blends harmoniously with Clary Sage, Jasmine, Lavender, Mimosa, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang. Vetiver has its name from Tamul language “vettiveru”.
As a root oil, Vetiver “automatically ” has its strong link with the central nervous system. It’s nourishing, replenishing nature makes it intrinsically “female” and a wonderful aromatic expression of Mother Earth. Looking at the roots of Vetivergrass, one cannot stop being surprised at the length and strength of their wood-like fibres. Vetiver roots can extend more than one meter into the soil anchoring the plant deep into the ground. This unique quality sets it apart from any other grassy plant and enables it to extract the most powerful elements of healing energy for its alchemy in its essential oil.
Vetiver roots are quite “shy” to release their oil during distillation. The fragrant essential oil is located inside glandualar aromatic cells deep inside the fibrous root tissues which are not easy to reach by the steamed water – one reason why it takes such a long time for distillation. Also the specific molecular structure with a high percentage of sesquiterpenes (15-carbon-atoms) which have a higher molecule weight are another reason for the longer time needed for extraction.
Prior to distillation, the chopped root mass has to soak for some days in water. Distillation is a long process and depends on the plant material, the origine of the oil, the distillation technique (more or less pressure) etc. It can last up to 16 hours due to the very hard, woody texture of the roots. The yield also differs substantially – in best cases 1 ton of roots will give approx. 1,5 – 2 kgs of essential oil.
Yes, Vetiver oil is a unique expression of fragrant Mother Earth, not easy to obtain, but so wonderful in its depth and beautiful grounding quality!
Vetiver is a strong enhancer of our immune system. Traditionally the oil is used to alleviate fever, for cooling body and mind, and is a good remedy in cases of hepatic congestion and insufficiency of the pancreas. Applied on the joints or on the skin it helps against inflammatory disorders including inflammation of the veins (phlebitis).
Vetiver is also a glandular and circulatory stimulant. It is able to strengthen the blood corpuscles, important to convey oxygen to all parts of the physical system – one reason for its folk-medicinal use in case of anemia. Improved blood flow might relieve from muscular complaints and aches. It is believed to be helpful in case of rheumatism and arthritis. Apart from that, it increases the absorbing capacity of the tissues, esp. of the excretory organs, leading to greater hormonal balance which in turn results in a revitalization and anchoring of the individual.
Vetiver’s nourishing, replenishing nature makes it intrinsically “female” and a wonderful aromatic expression of Mother Earth. No wonder that it shows efficiency for women in cases of amenorrhea.
Vetiver oil has also shown to be extremely helpful for the nerves
Interesting also the anti-convulsant effect of the oil, showing again that when the brain is affected with an over-charge of vata-imbalanced energies (Ayurveda), we need the “brain of the plant” (Charles Darwin), the root, in order to achieve healing.
“I tried the Vetiver for a tic that was bothering my son. I massaged it behind his ears and the tic stopped. I am not sure if you are familiar with Tourette’s, but this is amazing! He still has his pesky regular ones, but the major annoying body jerking, and the fake hiccup tic that was making him become very upset, was instantly gone within a few seconds of this oil.
I now want to know everything possible about essential oils!! I have signed up to be a distributor because as soon as I become knowledgeable enough to help my own family, I cannot wait to help others. This is truly a gift from god. I am so excited to have been introduced to the essential oils as an alternative. I cannot thank you enough for suggesting Vetiver for my son. I never would have imagined something so simple could have helped, and without side effects, FINALLY! Thank you.” – Amanda B.
On the other hand, the use of Vetiver EO for refreshing the brain can be an interesting alternative to the consumption of tea or coffee.
“In terminal task, human subjects who inhaled the volatile compounds of Vetiver EO showed faster reaction times and stimulation of sympathetic nerve activity. Its volatile compounds may help subjects to maintain performance in a visual discrimination task. Ultimately, the stimulating effects of Vetiver EO might be beneficial for learning and memory processes. In conclusion, the present findings provide information that Vetiver EO may be used as a stimulant to improve alertness and task performance.”
Journal of Intercultural Ethnopharmacology 2016 Jan-Feb; 5(1): 72–78
This is confirmed by Research of the late Dr. Terry S. Friedmann, a physician who believed in treating the body, mind and spirit as one, and who showed that Vetiver oil was beneficial for children with ADHD. When the children inhaled the oil three times a day for 30 days, they had improved brain wave patterns and behavior and did better in school.
This is not surprising given – as already seen – the powerful grounding quality of the oil which bestows the right antidote against the mental dissipation and distractedness of our modern life-style. The consequence is also: More energy and stamina for individuals who are unable to unwind, who suffer from insomnia due to an overcharge of mental fatigue and who tend to nervous depression. Thus, Vetiver supports those who need rebalancing impulses and relax from emotional habits of irritability, anger, hysteria.
A mother from Wellington, Florida, Tina Sweet, spoke with WPTV (West Palm Beach News and Headlines) to share her experience using essential oils as a treatment for ADHD in her 11-year-old son.
“Every single day I was getting (messages from teachers saying) he won’t stay on task. He won’t stay focused. He won’t stay in his seat. He’s talking. He’s just up and running around. He just could not stay focused…”
After starting him on aromatherapy using essential oils, she said his grades improved from Cs and Ds to As and Bs. Now in fifth grade, the student is in advanced classes and described as a “calm child.” She applies essential oils to several body areas each morning and he also wears an essential oil bracelet. Describing the use of essential oils as “life-changing”. She also credits her son’s ability to cut back on his ADHD medications to the use of essential oils.
Also the skin takes advantage
Vetiver oil is especially nourishing on subcutaneous fatty tissue and very good against sagging, atrophied skin. It promotes tissue formation and the “feminine” note of the tissue for a moist, velvety skin. It also helps for a thorough detoxification of the connective tissue of the skin. Furthermore, it is a delight for the dried out epithel which lacks nourishment from the deeper layers of the skin and conveys a silky, rejuvenated complexion.
Applied on the joints or on the skin, Vetiver is effective against inflammatory disorders. With its soft, balsamic texture the oil enhances skin tissue regeneration. It is a good wound-healer and remedy against acne and cuts and shows good results against varicose veins. No wonder that the cosmetic industry offers numerous soaps, toiletries and perfumes with Vetiver oil as ingredient. A deep tonic-relaxer particularly for massages and baths.
So then, let’s go and have a try!
Vetiver oil is a true miracle of Nature. It conveys the most beneficial effects to our health and well-being, it is soft, non-aggressive on the skin (we can appy it directly), and it cools down our over-heated existence, means: It makes the inner dynamo run more smoothly, more in harmony with our deeper nature. Truly, Vetiver oil balances “in depth” and bestows the pleasure of “being” versus “doing”. A grounding call for the “butterfly souls” that have difficulties to incarnate in the very present moment, and for those who tend to “fly away” from or get stressed out by the overpowering hardships and challenges of worldly matters.
Vetiver esential oil: A truly caring, therapeutic angel and a nurturing mother to rebalance and relieve from stress and strain – bridging the gap between matter and spirit, or better: Raising the Earth element (Sanskrit “bhu” and “bhumi”) to its “astral” perfection where the light of the cosmos has again glorified in a simple botanical grass the alchemy of creation.