Vetiver is a perennial plant of the Poaceae family, whose root has many medicinal benefits. It is known as Khus in Ayurveda. Vetiver is also considered a one-stop solution for all skin problems. Vetiver has an earthy aroma, which benefits the mind and body. It is very often used in aromatherapy. It is a tall bunch grass that has many aromatic compounds. This plant is used in dryland restoration and to reduce soil erosion.
Vetiver can grow up to 5 feet tall, and has a powerful root system which can grow deep into the soil up to 13 feet. The roots are the beneficial part of the plant as they contain aromatic essential oils which have calming and cooling properties. These essential oils are extracted by distillation method. The fresh roots of the vetiver plant are used for their medicinal properties.
The grass is used for mulching and composting. The harvested grass is sometimes fermented and used as a medium for growing mushrooms. The roots of vetiver have a lovely long-lasting scent. An open bowl of vetiver roots gives out a very pleasant aroma for a long time. In many parts of the world, the grass is for thatching roofs and making consumer goods like hats, and slippers.
Health Benefits of Vetiver Roots
Traditionally, vetiver has been used as a digestive aid, and to remove anxiety and stress. It has also been used to get rid of intestinal worms and gallbladder problems. Vetiver root in addition to being extremely cooling to the system, by bringing down body heat, is also a natural antioxidant and alkalizer. It reduces inflammation in the body and soothes the body. Vetiver root calms your mind and helps in balancing your emotions.
Vetiver root when added to water, acts as a coolant, in addition to making the water very aromatic. This is why, in India, the vetiver root is put into earthen pots with drinking water. You can also make vetiver water in the following way. Take clean drinking water in an earthen pot, and add the vetiver roots to it. Cover the pot and let the roots steep in the water for a few hours. Strain, and drink up.
Vetiver root is used to make bath powders, as it is fragrant and cooling. It helps prevent heat-induced rashes. It is also known to heal wounds and boils.
Mats made of vetiver are hung in doorways and windows like a curtain to cool the rooms in the house in summer. The mats are kept moist by spraying them with water. These mats cool the air and also emit a fresh earthy aroma.
Khus syrup is an aromatic summer drink in India, which is made with vetiver root.
Health Benefits of Vetiver Essential Oil
The vetiver essential oil has more than 100 sesquiterpene compounds and their derivatives. Sesquiterpenes are a subclass of terpenes that are said to display a range of biological and pharmaceutical activities in the central nervous system. They also have antimicrobial, and anti-tumor properties.
Vetiver oil is used in various herbal skin and hair care products such as soaps, face wash, creams, and moisturisers. As it is antiseptic, it is helpful in treating acne. Vetiver oil also has a significant presence in perfumes. Vetiver oil is mainly derived from steam distillation of the vetiver roots. In some parts of the country, the oil is got from the seeds of the vetiver plant.
1. Vetiver Health Benefits for Arthritis
The health benefits of vetiver for arthritis can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The oil is used to reduce pain in those with arthritis. A decoction prepared from the roots acts as an analgesic. In arthritis, the joints get inflamed, thus making it very painful. The anti-inflammatory properties of vetiver make it a very good remedy for joint pain as it has properties that inhibit the enzymes causing inflammation.
2. Relieves Stress
The main constituents that influence the aroma in vetiver essential oil are α-Vetivone, β-Vetivone, and Khusinol. The aroma stimulates feelings of confidence, restfulness, and tranquility. Vetiver essential oil has sedative properties have made it perfect for relieving nervousness and restoring a sense of serenity. It helps to effectively reduce emotions such as anger, irritability, and panic. The fragrance and aroma of vetiver oil has the following properties – aphrodisiac, sedative, grounding, balancing, and calming.
3. Vetiver Health benefits for the skin
Vetiver Essential Oil acts as a deeply hydrating moisturizer that can tighten, and protect skin from the effects of environmental factors like pollution, thus helping to reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines and wrinkles. It also exhibits anti-aging properties. Vetiver Oil nourishes the skin and promotes the growth of new skin. Vetiver has regenerative properties that help the healing of wounds and scars, through the regeneration of skin and tissues. The essential oil is also said to help to reduce and get rid of scars, stretch marks, sunburn, irritated skin, and acne.
Vetiver Essential Oil is used in the perfume-making industry because of its low evaporation rate and its solubility in alcohol. Many prominent brands incorporate vetiver essential oil in their perfumes.
Its antiseptic properties are said to help heal wounds by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.
Also Read: How to use vetiver for skin health
4. Vetiver Health benefits for Central Nervous System
Vetiver is a nervine. Nervines are herbs that support the body and nourish it. They have a soothing and calming effect on the nerves. Vetiver is an adaptogenic herb that promotes and maintains the health of the central nervous system. It helps to boost immunity and increase energy levels when mental or physical fatigue sets in.
5. Vetiver Benefits for the Brain, Anxiety and Depression
Vetiver oil also helps reduce problems in the mind and promotes restful sleep. This is why it is very effective for those with insomnia. It eases physical and mental fatigue, by balancing emotions and promoting a positive mood. It also enhances concentration. Vetiver oil has the following medicinal properties that help with mental fatigue – it is detoxifying, strengthening, replenishing, and immune stimulating.
Vetiver oil can be easily used as a complementary therapy for mood disorders and emotional imbalances. Vetiver oil is very beneficial in addressing insomnia, anxiety, and depression. One study found that ethanolic extracts of this plant enhanced learning and memory, and increased alertness and brain function.
You can also drink vetiver water. It calms your mind and reduces anxiety. Vetiver water also gives you a feeling of general well being.
Also Read: How to make vetiver water?
6. Vetiver Benefits children with ADHD
Research conducted on the calming effects of Vetiver essential oil, on 40 children – 20 with ADHD and 20 in the control group showed that the symptoms of ADHD like impatience, distraction, difficulty in concentrating, and anxiety were greatly improved by vetiver oil.
The children were asked to inhale the oil around three times per day when they were feeling scattered. Different essential oils were tested for efficacy. Lavender oil increased performance by 53%, cedarwood essential oil increased performance by 83%, while vetiver essential oil increased performance by 100%.
The calming and relaxing properties of vetiver oil greatly helped children combat the symptoms of ADHD.
7. Vetiver Benefits for Hair Growth
Vetiver oil is the way to go if you are looking for a way to reduce hair fall, thinning hair and dandruff. Vetiver oil has antimicrobial properties, which prevents hair infections and revitalizes dull hair. The oil also increases the blood circulation in hair follicles. The Vetiver essential oil has Cicatrizants that promote the synthesis of collagen and aid in cell regeneration.
This oil also helps repel lice. You can add this oil to your shampoo to repel lice.
Vetiver oil moisturizes the scalp and prevents dryness and irritation to the scalp.
How to use vetiver for hair
- Add a few drops of vetiver essential oil to coconut oil or any other carrier oil.
- Another way is to clean the vetiver roots and wash them thoroughly. Dry the roots and drop them into your regular hair oil for it to infuse. Keep it in a cupboard for 4-6 weeks and then use. You can also chop it into small pieces and add to the oil.
How to use vetiver Essential Oil
For anxiety, and ADHD, and stress, the best way to use vetiver oil is through a diffuser. Add a few drops of vetiver oil to a diffuser and inhale the vapours. You can also dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil of your choice and apply it to your wrists. Mix 4-5 drops of vetiver essential oil in every 10ml of carrier oil.
For arthritis, make a massage oil from the blend of vetiver oil, lavender oil, winter green and ginger essential oils and massage the part that is paining. Please use only a couple of drops each as wintergreen and eucalyptus are quite strong oils. Inhalation of vetiver oil can relax you.
Vetiver oil is very safe to use. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult with a doctor about using vetiver.
Vetiver is non-toxic but it is always sensible to take any herb in low dosage.
Always use essential oils with carrier oil. You can use about 12-15 drops per 30 ml of carrier oil.