Vetiver oil has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years in South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Africa. It is native to India and both leaves and roots have various uses. This oil is known as a valuable herb for its invigorating, soothing, healing and protective properties. Since it is a natural body cooler, it is used by everyone in tropical countries. In fact, it is known as tranquility oil in India and Sri Lanka. Some of its uses include treating heat strokes, joint ailments, and skin problems. Using this oil is one way to increase energy levels when the body runs out of energy.
It is also used to cool the body at very high temperatures and to calm feelings of anxiety and irritability. Recent studies show that vetiver oil relieves ADHD and ADD symptoms, and also increases libido and corrects sleep problems without medication. Besides these benefits, it has a number of benefits that can be enjoyed in home comfort; Perfect for essential oil skincare products and soothing oil combinations.
Vetiver Grass and Its Components
Vetiver oil, whose scientific name is Chrysopogon zizanioides, is a perennial member of the family of poaceae native to India. It is known as khus in western and northern India. Vetiver is most associated with sorghum, but shares many morphological characteristics with other scented herbs such as lemongrass, palmarosa, and citronella oil. Vetiver grass can grow up to five feet high; The stems and leaves are long and thin. Its flowers are a brownish-purple color and unlike most root systems, the grass roots grow downward and can deepen up to eight feet (deeper than some tree roots). This plant is highly drought tolerant and can help protect the soil from erosion. Since the roots are very deep, they do not come out easily; Therefore, it has been used to prevent landslides and rock falls, and to stabilize railway sections and embankments. In addition, the plant slows down the flow of water by preventing the flow of surface water. Vetiver oil is distilled from the root parts of this plant and contains more than 100 ingredients. It is yellow-brown in color, described as a sweet, woody and smoky fragrance. Similar to patchouli and sandalwood essential oil, its scent varies depending on aging and where the plant is located.
Although it grows in sandy, clayey, tropical, sub-tropical or Mediterranean climate soil, it is possible to grow it in a variety of other soil types and climates. Vetiver can tolerate alkaline, highly acidic or salty soil types as well as those containing high levels of heavy metals, manganese and aluminum. It is drought and freeze resistant with its ability to withstand temperatures down to 50 ° C (122 ° F) and down to -10 ° C (14 ° F); however, temperatures below 5 ° C (41 ° F) cause the roots to remain dormant, while frost causes the shoots to immobilize or die.
The underground parts of the plant can withstand low temperatures, and the plant can regrow under developing weather conditions. It can also develop in regions with a minimum annual rainfall of 450 mm. It grows more slowly if kept out of the sun with full shade sensitivity, and this is especially true for young plants. It is usually harvested between December and February and the clusters are dug manually by the roots. For mechanical harvesting, a tractor-drawn mouldboard plow can be used to pull roots. Compared to manual harvesting, roots have a 15% higher recovery rate with this method. Vetiver roots intended for essential oil production are harvested between 18 months and 2 years after the plant is planted. The timing of the harvest is important because the yield and fat percentage of the roots vary depending on environmental conditions. An early harvest yields a higher amount of essential oil, but this oil has low-value boil, which lacks valuable high-boiling ingredients. If the roots are harvested 2 years after planting, the quality of the essential oil is improved, but the oil yield is significantly reduced.
Vetiver Oil History and Interesting Facts
Vetiver oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat imbalances, improve health conditions such as muscle aches, fever, arthritis pain, and headache. An interesting use is that it is believed to sanctify pre-marriage brides and that’s why brides were massaged with this oil. Due to its cleansing and therapeutic properties, it is known to heal the person from within. Due to its woody and mixed aroma, it is often used in the perfume industry and provides a more masculine fragrance. For thousands of years, vetiver grasses have been used to make roof reeds, rugs, baskets and curtains.
In India its roots are dried and then woven as a window curtain; curtains cool the fresh air coming from the window, so rooms stay fresh and airy in hot summer months. Sometimes the curtains are sprayed with water so that the warm air flowing through it creates a cool, fragrant breeze. Today, vetiver is used as mulch because it is useful as weed control in coffee, cocoa, and tea fields. The hairy texture of vetiver leaves also acts as an insect repellant; When the larvae are left on the leaves, they cannot move, so they fall to the ground and die.
How to Extract Vetiver Oil?
Vetiver Essential Oil is steam distilled from the roots or rhizomes of the plant. The processing method involves first separating the harvested roots from the aerial parts of the plant, then thoroughly washing the roots. It is then sliced into a shorter size to facilitate drying. It is dried in the shade for 1-2 days so that the finished oil has an enhanced aroma. Drying the roots in sunlight provides lower oil yield. Next, the roots are steamed or hydro-distilled to extract their oil. When it separates into a distilled essential oil and a hydrosole, the oil is skimmed and filtered. Similar to patchouli and sandalwood, vetiver essential oil also develops with age, so the evacuated oil is usually allowed to age 6 for several months to make the green and earthy scent of the oil deeper, sweeter and fuller. The resulting vetiver oil is thick and varies in color from golden brown to yellow brown. It emits a strong aroma that is earthy, woody and has a rich scent. It can also be sweet, smoky, or floral note, depending on the region where it is grown. It is said that its aroma suggests the smell of Patchouli with a lemon note, and also has the scent of forests and wetlands.
How to Get Vetiver Oil?
It is easy to buy this oil at herbalists or at online vegetable oil stores. There are reputable and organic brands that show the product to be 100 percent vetiver essential oil. Vetiver oil can be mixed well with bergamot, cedarwood essential, geranium, ginger essential, jasmine, lavender essential, lemon, lemon essential, orange, patchouli essential, rose or sandalwood essential oil. However, it is also possible to buy vetiver sponge. The loofah sponge is made from its roots, used to exfoliate dead skin cells and improve circulation in the body. It has a pleasant woody-citrus scent and has antibacterial properties.
Using Vetiver Oil
There are some easy ways to use vetiver oil at home, and these are as follows:
• It is possible to make vetiver water by dipping clean vetiver roots in boiled cooled water for 2-3 hours. This water has a calming benefit and besides it is a blood cleanser. It can also be used to rinse the hair to give it a cooling and refreshing feel.
• 5-10 drops of vetiver oil can be dropped into the bath water, because it both scents and keeps the body cool. In this way, it prevents overheating, helps with relaxation and insomnia. To enhance calming results, vetiver oil can also be combined with lavender and rose essential oils.
• 1-2 drops of vetiver oil can be applied to the wrists, chest and neck to benefit the mind and mood.
• A calming massage oil can be made by mixing 3–5 drops of vetiver oil with jojoba oil in equal parts. This combination cleanses the skin, moisturizes it and leaves the mind at peace.
Possible Side Effects of Vetiver Oil
This essential oil is completely safe as a non-irritating, sensitive and non-toxic substance. It should not be used while pregnant or breastfeeding, as there is insufficient information on the effects on the breastfed baby. Vetiver oil is considered safe when taken in smaller medicinal doses and consumption of its juice. Some sources claim that vetiver oil can cause miscarriage when taken orally, but there is insufficient evidence for this side effect. In addition, there are no known drug interactions today.