Botanical Name: Vetiveria zizanoides
Part Used: Roots
Process: Steam Distillation
Plant Description: Native to India, and probably Indonesia and Sri Lanka; grows wild in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, etc. Grown commercially for essential oil distillation in India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Japan, Reunion, western Africa (Congo, Angola), Haiti, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Argentina, El Salvador, Jamaica, and other tropical regions. Vetiveria zizanioides is a tall, densely tufted perennial grass that grows to a height of 6 feet, with long narrow leaves and an extensive, complex underground network of very fragrant rootlets that grow to a depth of up to 12 feet. After these rootlets are harvested, cleaned and dried, usually when the plant is 1-1/2 to 2 years old, they are chopped and soaked in water before they are subjected to a long, slow steam distillation for extraction of their essential oil.
Oil Description: Olive-, reddish-, golden-, or dark-brown viscous (syrupy) liquid with a heavy, suave, very sweet, deep earthy-woody aroma, an intensely rich undertone of precious wood, and sometimes a faint green and/or smoky note. (Color varies with origin.) The aroma of Vetiver improves with age, however, the oil can also polymerize over time (become hardened or crystallized due to a chemical chain reaction) but, when properly stored, this effect can be minimized.
Historical/Traditional Uses: Vetiver was traditionally used for skin care, arthritic conditions, inflammations, fevers, heat stroke, and especially for its calming properties. Long before the rootlets of the vetiver plant were distilled for their oil, they had been used for thousands of years for their fragrance in other ways; mats traditionally woven from the rootlets were (and to this day, still are) hung up in doorways and windows and periodically dampened with water, so that the scorching, dry air moving through them was cooled, moistened, and sweetly scented with vetiver. The plants are used for run-off, soil compaction, and soil erosion mitigation, are highly drought and flood resistant (mature plants), and have been grown for animal fodder, rope making, roof thatching, weed and pest (moth) control, mulch, and many other uses.
Applications (Uses and Indications): In aromatherapy, Vetiver essential oil is indicated for arthritis, sprains, muscle aches, liver congestion, poor circulation, acne, oily skin, insomnia, nervous tension, and depression. One attribute that vetiver is especially noted for is its regenerative effect on the deeper layers of the skin where the effects of aging deplete naturally occurring lipids and collagen content. Another notable attribute is vetiver’s positive influence on our emotions – its earthy, grounding energy lends support to those who are experiencing anxiety, nervousness, emotional upheaval, lack of connection to the earth, to reality, to their body, to their sexuality, or to their roots. The stabilizing effect of vetiver brings us back to the core of our being and back in touch with the earth’s nurturing, healing energies. Vetiver is highly recommended for those who are experiencing shock or traumatic events such as bereavement, divorce, or separation. In perfumery, Vetiver is one of the finest fixatives known, possessing excellent tenacity and a soft, mellow tonality that is highly prized in perfumery; it is considered a base note that blends well with angelica, benzoin (Siam), bergamot and other citrus oils, cardamom, cassie, cedarwood, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, cocao, davana, frankincense, galbanum, geranium, ho wood, jasmine, lavender, mimosa, myrrh, oakmoss, opopanax, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, spikenard, violet, and ylang ylang.
Contraindications (Safety and Precautions): Vetiver essential oil is non-irritating, non-sensitizing, and non-toxic.
Standard Safety Precautions: Always dilute essential oils before using. Keep essential oils out of the eyes and mucous membranes; in case of contact, DO NOT use water, instead place a drop or two of vegetable oil on a tissue to gently wipe out of eye or off area of contact. In severe cases, seek professional help immediately. Keep out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion, call 911 immediately.
The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made as to any medicinal value of this or any products from Ancient Ways Botanicals. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. For external use only. You are responsible for understanding the safe application of these products.