Vetiver Essential Oil is derived from the aromatic roots of the Vetiveria zizanioides (Linn) Nash. botanical.
Due to its grounding, sensuous, and deeply calming scent, Vetiver Essential Oil is also referred to as the “Oil of Tranquility” and “The Fragrance of the Soil.”
Used in aromatherapy applications, Vetiver Essential Oil is beneficial for soothing anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, depression, and inability to concentrate or remember.
Used cosmetically or topically in general, Vetiver Essential Oil is known to firm, tighten, and protect skin against the harsh effects of environmental stressors, thereby exhibiting anti-aging properties.
Used medicinally, Vetiver Essential Oil works as a natural anti-oxidant that promotes relief from various types of inflammation. Its tonic properties are reputed to show regenerative effects as they enhance and maintain immunity. Its anti-septic properties eliminate and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Used in massages, the tonic properties of Vetiver Essential Oil enhance circulation, boosts the metabolism and digestion, eases muscular aches, and soothes joint pain.
HISTORY OF VETIVER OIL USAGE
Derived from the aromatic roots of the Vetiveria zizanioides (Linn) Nash. botanical, Vetiver Essential Oil has come to be known as both the “Oil of Tranquility” and “The Fragrance of the Soil” in India and Sri Lanka, due to its grounding, sensuous, and deeply calming scent. Vetiver belongs to the Grass family, and is sometimes referred to as Vetivert and Khus.
Since ancient times, almost the entire Vetiver plant has been used for various applications including the making of perfumes, soaps, and cosmetics. Used in foods and drinks, Vetiver made a cooling beverage and sorbet flavoring. In tropical countries, Vetiver roots were traditionally used in the production of homemade evaporative coolers, which functioned as air conditioners before the inception of electricity. Due to their coolness, the roots were ideal for use in making grass mats. The process involved weaving the dried roots together with coir rope to make curtains, which were soaked in water before being hung in windows and doorways. As hot air passed through the cold, wet roots, the Vetiver curtains contributed not only cool air but they also exuded a comforting, alluring, earthy fragrance to the interiors of homes and functioned as insect repellants. Similarly, Vetiver grass mats were draped over cars to keep them cool as well. In India and Africa, Vetiver grass was thatched together to construct awnings, roofs, rugs, baskets, blinds, animal fodder and bedding, and other necessities for the home. To maintain cool temperatures for drinking water and to benefit from Vetiver’s health-enhancing properties, the roots were placed in Muslin sachets and kept inside clay water pots.
Since the Middle Ages, Vetiver Oil was most commonly used in scents. Its deep and woody aroma has come to be associated with masculine colognes, and it has come to be a main ingredient in a large percentage of men’s fragrances. As early as the 12th century, the Vetiver herb and the essential oil obtained from its roots have been used around the world for their soothing, protective, and uplifting properties:
In Ayurvedic practices, Vetiver Oil was respected for its spiritually inspiring aroma and for its remedial qualities. Accordingly, it was used to address countless health concerns including imbalances in psychosomatic temperament, arthritis and other joint disorders, muscular aches, headaches, fevers, loss of energy, heat strokes, and skin problems. During periods of high environmental temperatures, Vetiver Essential Oil’s refreshing properties made it ideal for cooling high body temperatures. Vetiver Oil became an integral part of Ayurvedic massages for its additional abilities to strengthen the nervous system by sedating the senses and thereby reducing the stress and physical exhaustion linked to low immunity. Before marriages took place, brides were given a purifying massage with Vetiver Oil.
Inspired by Ancient Chinese beliefs, Vetiver Essential Oil was used in traditional medicine to soothe and replenish dry skin, to balance the emotions, to ease negative feelings, to stimulate focus and energize the body, and to calm and cool the body. When patients suffered from a deficiency in their “Yin,” which often resulted in problems associated with the mind such as a dissociative state of depression, they were prescribed Vetiver Oil to use in meditation. Although similar applications of Vetiver Essential Oil exist today, there are several other natural applications that will be highlighted in this article.
BENEFITS OF VETIVER OIL
With over 100 sesquiterpene compounds and their derivatives, Vetiver Essential Oil’s composition is known to be intricate and thus somewhat complicated. The main chemical constituents of Vetiver Essential Oil are: Sesquiterpene Hydrocarbons (Cadinene), Sesquiterpene Alcohol derivatives, (Vetiverol, Khusimol), Sesquiterpene Carbonyl derivatives (Vetivone, Khusimone), and Sesquiterpene Ester derivatives (Khusinol Acetate). The main constituents that are known to influence the aroma are α-Vetivone, β-Vetivone, and Khusinol.
It is believed that this scent – known for its fresh, warm yet cooling, woody, earthy, and balsamic notes – can encourage feelings of confidence, stillness, and tranquility. Its sedative properties have made it ideal for use in relieving nervousness and restoring a sense of serenity, and it is reputed to effectively diminish feelings of anger, irritability, panic and restlessness. The strengthening properties of Vetiver Oil have made it an ideal tonic that eases problems of the mind to promote restful sleep and stimulate or enhance libido. By balancing emotions to promote positive moods, it also boosts immunity. Its scent can freshen a room while deodorizing any lingering stale odors, such as those that remain after cooking or smoking.
Used cosmetically or topically in general, Vetiver Essential Oil is known to be a deeply hydrating moisturizer that firms, tightens, and protects skin against the harsh effects of environmental stressors, thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkles and exhibiting anti-aging properties. By conditioning and nourishing the skin, Vetiver Oil promotes the growth of new skin. Its regenerative properties facilitate the healing of wounds as well as the disappearance of scars, stretch marks, and acne, among other skin ailments.
Vetiver Essential Oil’s low evaporation rate and its solubility in alcohol makes it an ideal ingredient for use in perfumery. Accordingly, it has become a significant component in several perfumes offered by prominent brands. Some prevalent fragrances that incorporate Vetiver include Vetiver by Guerlain, Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, Miss Dior by Dior, Opium by Yves Saint Laurent, and Ysatis by Givenchy.
Used medicinally, Vetiver Essential Oil works as a natural anti-oxidant that promotes relief from various types of inflammation such as that of the joints or inflammation caused by sunstroke or dehydration. “Vetiver Oil is known to relieve the body of aches and pains while easing mental and physical exhaustion as well as insomnia. Its tonic properties are reputed to have regenerative and immune-enhancing effects.”With its strengthening and grounding properties along with its comforting scent, Vetiver Oil is reputed to balance and preserve emotional well-being while enhancing concentration. This profoundly calming and relaxing effect has the added benefit of enhancing sensual moods and promoting restful sleep. When used in a therapeutic massage, the tonic properties of this oil enhance circulation and boost the metabolism as well as digestion. Its anti-septic properties are known to facilitate the healing of wounds by eliminating and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.
As illustrated, Vetiver Essential Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
COSMETIC: Stimulating, Anti-inflammatory, Cicatrisant, Deodorizing, Anti-septic, Tonic, Detoxifying, Rejuvenating, Strengthening, Replenishing, Hydrating.
ODOROUS: Aphrodisiac, Sedative, Grounding, Calming, Balancing, Warming, Nervine, Deodorizing, Strengthening.
MEDICINAL: Anti-septic, Aphrodisiac, Tonic, Anti-spasmodic, Immune-stimulating, Warming, Stimulating, Anti-inflammatory, Cicatrisant, Vulnerary, Detoxifying, Strengthening, Replenishing.