Vetiver oil originates from the Indian Subcontinent while it was traditionally used in the medicine of West Africa, Southeast Asia and South Asia years and years ago. Both the roots and leaves of this herb have a vast number of uses due to their soothing, protective, healing and uplifting qualities. That’s why in Sri Lanka and India it is known as the oil of tranquility.
This mild and pleasant herb has the cooling effect on the mind and body and it is extremely popular in the tropical countries.
Along the aromatherapeutic qualities, the vetiver oil provides many medicinal properties. It treats different skin problems, joint disorders and heat strokes. Also it provides you energy when you feel exhausted, cools down the body during high temperatures and lowers nervousness and anxiety.
According to the recent researches, this oil treats symptoms of ADD and ADHD. It is also treats insomnia without any medicines and increases libido. You can enjoy the benefits of this oil in your home, for treating your skin or for some relaxing purposes.
The Vetiver Plant and Its Components
The botanical name for vetiver is chrysopogon zizanioides, a perennial grass that belongs to the Poaceae family in India. This plant is known as khus and has many similarities with other grasses such as palmarosa, lemongrass and citronella oil.
The Vetiver grass has tall stems, long and thin leaves, brownish-purple leaves and can grow up to 5 feet high. Its roots can grow deeper than the other tree roots, up to 8 feet.
It is a highly tolerant plant to drought that protects the soil from sheet erosion. Due to the deep roots, the plant could not be removed easily, so it is used for stabilization and embankments because it can prevent rockfalls and mudslides and also water flow.
This oil is obtained by steam distillation of the Vetiver’s roots and it has more than 100 important components. It is rich in delta-selinene, khusimene, cyclocopacamphan-12-ol, beta-vetivenene, khusimol, vetiselinenol, khusimone, isovalencenol, beta-vetivone and alpha-vetivone.
This amber-brown oil with a smoky, woody and sweet fragrance is similar to sandalwood and patchouli oil. Its odor develops and improves by ages and this greatly depends on the plant’s location.
Seven Benefits of Vetiver Oil
1. Heals Scars and Marks on Skin
One important quality of the Vetiver oils is that is cicatrisant, a plant that can heal the scars and regenerate the skin and tissues. Also, it revitalizes the skin, removes dark spots, acne and pox. The anti-aging properties of this oil heals cracks, stretch marks and other skin problems. You can treat acne and burn relief at your home with this oil. This is an effective remedy against stretch marks which are results from childbirth. Add a few drops in your lotion or face wash and in a short period of time you will notice significant difference.
The antiseptic qualities of vetiver oil reduce the risk of infection and bacteria when applied to the living tissue or skin. It is found that even a small amount of this oil can kill the infection in their onset. So, it is especially useful after some surgery and when healing cuts and wounds.
2. Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants prevent damage of the cells as a result of oxidation. When oxygen molecules move freely in the body, they cause oxidative damage and form free radicals that are harmful for the health of the tissues. For this reason, it is important to consume foods and herbs that are rich in antioxidants because they can slow down aging, reduce cancer risk, make the skin healthy and glowing and detoxicate.
The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the Clemson University in 2005, conducted a study about the antioxidant properties of vetiver oil. It found that this oil possesses a strong radical activity as opposed to standard antioxidants including, alpha-tocopherol and butylated hydroxytoluene.
3. A Potent Aphrodisiac
The stress can cause loss of libido and sex drive. The journal Hormones and Behavior published a study in 2010 where he has suggested this point. The experts found that when people are stressed, the increased level of cortisol increases also the level of testosterone.
So, when you experience some stressful situation, you drain the levels of testosterone and lose your sexual desires. In this case, the vetiver oil acts as a potent sedative and calming agent that can relax your body and mind and balance your hormones naturally. Another important reason is the needed amount of sleep. The journal Current Opinion of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity published an article which points out the importance of sleep for the increase of testosterone.
Also, the soothing properties of this oil will calm down your body and treat stress and insomnia which can further lead to sleep loss. The vetiver oil will not only increase the levels of testosterone but will provide gentle estrogen-like effects. It has the ability to balance hormones, improve the female reproductive system, treat menstrual problems such as skin issues, fatigue, bloating, breast tenderness, emotional changes and cramps.
4. Treats ADHD
In 2001, Dr. Terry Friedman conducted a study which found that this oil effectively treats children diagnosed with ADHD. This study involved forty children between six and twelve years. Half of them belong to the control group because they do not have ADHD while the rest were diagnosed.
The study involved use of vetiver, cedarwood, lavender and Brain Power (a combination of sandalwood, frankincense, cedarwood, Melissa, lavender and blue cypress). Each of the oils was tested for 30 days’ period per oil. The children inhaled the essential oil three times a day. It turned out that the lavender oil increased the performance by 53%, cedarwood essential oil by 83% while the vetiver oil an amazing 100% of improved performance. The calming and relaxing properties of the vetiver oil enabled the children to combat the ADD and ADHD symptoms which can include diminished focus, distraction, difficulty in concentrating, following directions and organization.
5. Soothes Anxiety and Nervousness
For the aromatherapy purposes the vetiver oil is used to reduce panic attacks, stress, anxiety, trauma, hysteria, insomnia and depression. In 2015, a study examined the effects of vetiver oil in treating anxiety and neurological actions in the central amygdaloid nucleus. This nucleus is responsible for the perception and result of emotions, including blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. It has a similar effect with Diazepam because it treats seizures, anxiety, muscle spasms and other conditions.
6. Repels Termites
The LSU Ag Center made an analysis about the termite repellency of numerous essential oils such as cassia leaf oil, vetiver grass, cedarwood, clove bud, eucalyptus citriodora, eucalyptus globules, geranium oils and lemongrass. Among these oils, the vetiver oils turned to be the most effective repellent due to its long-lasting activity.
Other study found that the vetiver oil can control and repel mosquito larvae which can cause malaria, dengue, filariasis and yellow fever. It can be even used on the scalp to kill lice, it is an effective and non-toxic pest killer.
7. Boosts Body Function
The tonic qualities of the vetiver oil will boost the nervous and immune system in the body. According to a study in India it protects the body from the toxic effects of cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug that is used in the treatment of lung, bladder, ovaries and testicles cancer.
The restorative and soothing properties of the vetiver oil stimulate the immunity and support the nervous system. When you are in some stressful situation, the levels of cortisol and adrenaline rapidly increase so the breathing, blood pressure and heart rate increases. Then, the body releases glucose to provide energy. In such stressful situation immune system, digestion, growth and reproduction are suppressed, the blood flow is reduced while the sensitivity to pain is increased.
The stress affects the heart, brain, immune system, digestion and many other systems in the body. In this case, the vetiver oil will be of great help as a natural remedy for stress and anxiety.
History and Interesting Facts About Vetiver Oil
This oil was present in the Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It was used for muscular aches, arthritis pain, fever and headaches.
One specific use was that the vetiver oil was used for massage of the brides before their marriage.
Since the Middle Ages, the vetiver oil was used in scents due to its earthy and woody aroma and nowadays it is part of the masculine fragrances.
Years ago, the vetiver grass was used for roof thatches, baskets, rugs and curtains. The curtains cool the air, so during the summer, the rooms are airy and fresh.
Another use of vetiver is as a mulch especially in cocoa, tea and coffee plantations. It protects the plant from weeds by building a barrier and serves as a pest repellant. The larvae fall to the ground and dies as soon as it lands on the leaves due to the inability to move.
Where to Find Vetiver Oil
You can find and buy vetiver oil from the local stores or online. Make sure the oil is 100% organic vetiver oil so look only for organic and reputable brands. For a 10-ml bottle of this oil you will pay between $10 – $15. It could be combined with cedarwood essential oil, bergamot, ginger, geranium, jasmine, lemon, lavender, orange, lemongrass, rose, patchouli and sandalwood essential oil.
Another interesting product is a vetiver sponge. You can find it at some Ayurvedic shop or online. It is made out of vetiver roots and exfoliates the dead skin cells and improves the circulation in the body. This sponge is antibacterial with pleasant, woody-citrus fragrance.
Easy Uses of vetiver Oil
These are some simple uses of vetiver oil that you can do at home:
- First boil some water in a pot. When it boils, remove from heat and let it cool down. Then clean some vetiver roots and place them in the cooled water for two to three hours. Cover the pot as they soak. This water will provide calming effects and will purify the blood. You can also wash your hair to give it a refreshing and cooling feeling.
- Add around ten drops of this oil in your bath. The fragrant and cooling properties of vetiver oil will prevent overheating, will relax your body and treat insomnia in the same time. In order to increase the calming effects, mix some lavender, vetiver and rose essential oil.
- Apply a few drops of vetiver oil on the chest, wrists and neck to provide benefits for your mind and mood.
- Combine 3-5 drops of vetiver oil and jojoba oil and massage your body. It will make your skin moisturized, clean and the mind relaxed.
Possible Side Effects of Vetiver Oil
This is a completely safe, non-sensitizing, non-irritant and non-toxic essential oil. Although for unknown reasons, pregnant women or breastfeeding should not use this oil. It is even safe for consumption if taken in small doses.
Some sources point out that it can cause a miscarriage if taken by oral consumption, there is not a sufficient evidence for this negative effect. Other side effects are not known.