Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides or Vetiveria zizanioides) is a grass that is grown in Réunion, Comoro and Java for its essential oil. The oil is steam distilled from the plant’s roots. It is known as the ‘Oil of Tranquillity’ and the ‘Fragrance of the Soil’ in India and Sri Lanka, where vetiver is sometimes called Vetivert or Khus. Since ancient times, the oil has been used in perfumery, soap-making and cosmetics. It is commonly found in masculine colognes and many modern perfumes. It has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for soothing dry skin, balancing the emotions and cooling the body. The oil is known to support Yin energy.
What are the aroma’s of Vetiver?
The chemical components vetiverol and vetivones contribute to this oil’s characteristic aroma – a full-bodied smoky and earthy smell, with woody, musty notes. Its strong odour can overpower other oils in a blend, so one drop of vetiver is usually enough. Interestingly, vetiver blends well with other base note oils, such as ylang ylang, patchouli and sandalwood. It provides a rich undertone in blends with the floral oils, including geranium, rose and jasmine.
What is Vetiver best known for?
Vetiver is perhaps best known for its deeply calming, grounding nature. Like the roots that shoot down far into the ground, vetiver invites you to connect with the earth. It is useful in meditation and for balancing the root or base chakra. It is often used in sleep blends and can help with insomnia. It eases our problems, making for restful slumber.
How can Vetiver support me?
As well as being tranquilising, vetiver supports the immune system and firms and hydrates the skin. These properties make vetiver an excellent choice for topical use on eczema, acne, healing wounds and skin affected by environmental toxins by aiding regeneration and reducing inflammation. Vetiver essential oil became an integral part of Ayurvedic massages as it strengthens the nervous system by sedating the senses, reducing stress and physical exhaustion linked to low immunity. While usually non-irritating, when applying to the skin, Tisserand suggests maximum topical use of 15% due to the isoeugenol content, so dilute vetiver in a carrier oil before use. It can be difficult to get the thick oil of vetiver to mix in carrier oil, so you could try mixing in an alcohol-based diluent instead, such as witchhazel (which is also a good skin tonic).