Vetiver is a grass, a member of the family Poaceae 0Gramineae) and it is native to southern India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. It grows to a height of approximately 6 feet (1.8 meters). Vetiver has deep, strong roots and is planted in some countries to protect the soil from erosion. It is now cultivated in several countries, including India, Reunion, Java, Haiti and Brazil.
Vetiver roots have been used for hundreds of years for their fragrance and the grass is used for weaving mats.
The essential oil of vetiver is produced from the roots by steam distillation. Vetiver oil is used extensively in the perfume industry and in the manufacture of scented toiletries. It also has uses in the food industry. The essential oil is reddish dark brown and has a woody, earthy smell that is almost musty. It is quite viscous and benefits from being gently warmed in the bottle before it is used, to make it flow more freely. The oil has a strong odor (that may not be to everyone’s taste) and should be well diluted to avoid it being too overpowering in a blend.
Therapeutically, vetiver oil has a profoundly relaxing effect on the nervous system, relieving tension and stress. It can be used to good effect in the treatment of insomnia. In India, vetiver oil is known as ‘the oil of tranquillity’.
In baths or in massage, vetiver is beneficial in the treatment of the symptoms of disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism and aching, stiff muscles. It is warming and comforting and will help to relieve the tension that is often associated with chronic pain.
Vetiver oil also benefits the circulatory system, stimulating and warming, especially when used in combination with massage.
In skin care, the antiseptic and slightly astringent properties of vetiver can be used to good effect in the treatment of oily skin that is prone to spots.
Suitable Methods of Use
None. Vetiver is nontoxic, non-sensitizing and nonirritant