Vetiver has wonderful health benefits and medicinal uses and we use it extensively in hair and skin care and in home remedies too. Vetiver root is the most used part of the plant and vetiver root water made by infusing the root in water reduces anxiety, inflammation and it also helps treats and prevents acne. Vetiver oil got from the roots also have wonderful medicinal uses.
What Is Vetiver?
Vetiver is a perennial grass and it’s name is derived from Tamil name “Vetiver”. Vetiver is native to India and both it’s leaves and roots have wonderful uses. It is cultivated in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and to a small extent in Uttar Pradesh.
Vetiver plant has long narrow leaves and highly branched abundant root system and the root is the most used part of the plant. Vetiver root is very aromatic and vetiver essential oil is distilled from it. Vetiver root has wide uses from perfumery to hair care, vetiver root is dried and sold in the markets and they last for quite some time.
I always have vetiver root at home to use it in remedies and also for making vetiver water. Since India is a tropical country, we as a nation have always been fond of natural ingredients that keep our body cool and vetiver tops that list, because it is such a natural body cooler. I personally love vetiver water that is made by soaking the vetiver roots in water as it is very fragrant.
Vetiver Essential Oil:
Vetiver Chemical Composition:
Vetiverol, Vetivone, Khusimone, Khusimol, Vetivene, Khositone, Terpenes, Benzoic acid, Vetivenyl Vetivenate, Vetivazulene, Epizizianal and ß-vetivone and Iso Khusimol are some of the important chemical compounds present in vetiver.
Vetiver Traditional Uses
a. For Medicinal Purposes
In India, vetiver is used to treat mouth ulcers, boils, burns, insect bites, fever and headache. Both the paste of fresh roots and the water decoction of the roots are used. Water decoction is used as a tonic for weakness.
Vetiver root is added to water as it is considered a wonderful body coolant and it makes the water very aromatic. The water infusion is used to cure fever, inflammation and stomach ulcers. The fresh root paste is used to treat burns and insect bites. The decoction got by boiling the stems in water is used to treat urinary tract infection.
Some tribes use the leaf juice as an anthelmintic (to expel intestinal worms). The root extract is also used for treating headache and toothache. Another traditional use of vetiver water is as an aphrodisiac, traditionally the groom is given vetiver water a day or two prior to the marriage.
b. For Skin & Hair Care:
c. As An Aromatic:
Vetiver root has a very pleasant aroma and vetiver essential oil extracted from it is used extensively in perfumery, cosmetics and also in soap making. Vetiver is also used to fragrance clothes and it also helps repel cockroaches. Vetiver is my favourite scent and I always have a bottle of vetiver essential oil at home. I use a few drops of it in diffusers and the beautiful smell helps me relax.
d. Pest Control
Traditionally vetiver plant is also used as an insecticide. Plants are grown near to vetiver prevent them from insect attacks. Vetiver root is also placed in storage closets as a moth repellent. Vetiver essential oil is also used an insecticide.
Vetiver Botanical and Common Names:
Vetiver Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses:
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
Vetiver greatly helps reduce inflammation. The vetiver water decoction can be used to treat all types of inflammation and it is particularly effective against inflammations caused by heat stroke and dehydration. If you are suffering from inflammation, try drinking a cup of vetiver water, it will greatly help reduce the inflammation very fast.
2. Anti Septic Properties
Veriver has powerful antibacterial properties and is particularly effective against Staphylococcus Aureus, the bacteria that is mostly responsible for our wounds getting septic. If vetiver water is used to clean the wounds, it will help heal the wound very fast.
Vetiver decoction has aphrodisiac properties and has been used traditionally for it for centuries. The water decoction of vetiver is widely used for it. Like I mentioned before, in some cultures vetiver water infusion is given to the groom for a few days before marriage.
4. Reduces Anxiety:
The smell of vetiver has a soothing effect on our nerves and helps calm our anxious brain. It also helps reduce stress and is good for people suffering from mental problems. People with nervous disorders also will benefit taking vetiver extract regularly. It is also a good sedative. I personally can attest to the fact that vetiver has a very soothing effect on our nervous as I consume vetiver water and use vetiver essential oil regularly.
5. Antioxidant Properties
Free radicals causes so many problems in our body from inflammation to rapid aging of skin and hair. One of the best ways to get rid of free radicals is to consume antioxidant rich foods and vetiver water is one such ingredient. It is a natural antioxidant that scavenges free radicals and reduces oxidative stress, you can read the study that supports this claim here.
6. For Skin & Hair Care
Vetiver extract helps restore skin barrier and also has anti aging properties. Vetiver extract if used on our skin regularly, improves hydration and gives a radiant glow to our skin. It also helps treat acne very effectively, we always include vetiver in bath powder recipes. Vetiver has powerful healing properties and helps fade scars and blemishes very fast.
7. Anti-Tuberculosis Properties
Veriver extract like I mentioned before has wonderful antibacterial properties and is very effective against mycobacterium tuberculosis. Both the ethanol and hexane extract of the root has been proven to be very effective against tuberculosis. What is very significant is even after extracting the essential oil, the root was still effective against tuberculosis.
8. Anticonvulsant Properties
Another significant effect of vetiver is its anticonvulsant properties. Traditionally it has been used as a remedy for treating seizures. Now this traditional use has been backed by research, both the ethanol extract and the water extract of vetiver root has been proven to be very effective in preventing convulsions.
9. Natural Tonic
Vetiver water is truly a natural tonic as it helps rejuvenate our body and along with boosting our immunity. It helps get rid of tiredness, improve digestion and also helps reduce stress. During summer months make sure to include this natural tonic in your diet regularly.
10. Other Uses
Vetiver replenishes nutrients in in soil that is not fertile so it is usually planted in barren soil. Young vetiver grass is used as a livestock feed. Vetiver grass is also used as a medium for mushroom cultivation and also as a roof material and for making handicrafts. Other main important use of vetiver is the conservation of soil. The roots of vetiver is very effective in preventing soil erosion. Vetiver is also good for mulching, since it has anti fungal properties, fungal attack on the plant is greatly reduced if it used for mulching. Since it has insecticidal properties, vetiver is grown in closely to other main crops to prevent insect attacks.
Vetiver Side Effects:
In my personal experience, vetiver rarely cause any allergies or side effects both when applied externally and consumed internally. I couldn’t find any study proving the correct toxicity report for humans and I only found a study on mice where 2000 mg was given for every kg of weight and it still proved to be non toxic.
For making vetiver water, we usually add a small bunch, about 10 grams for a big pot of water to infuse and we use it regularly during summer months and none of us have faced any side effects at all. But it you are taking it as a tea regularly, I would suggest not to overdose as any thing in excess can do more harm than good.
Where To Buy Vetiver?
Vetiver can be got cheaply in all herbal shops in India and we can also order it easily online. Vetiver powder and vetiver essential oil are also easily available online.
5 Top Ways To Use Vetiver:
1. Vetiver Face Pack For Acne:
Vetiver is an antiseptic and is very effective in preventing acne. Nowadays vetiver essential oil is getting popular for it’s wonderful antiseptic properties. Vetiver is used as a face pack along with sandalwood for making an effective treatment for acne.
To make this home remedy for acne, soak dried vetiver root in water overnight. Next day take a sandalwood bark and rub it into a paste with the vetiver water. Add few drops of vetiver essential oil and apply on the affected area continuously for best results.
2. Vetiver Water To Reduce Anxiety
Vetiver water has a calming effect on the nerves and helps reduce anxiety. It also helps cure painful urination, ulcers and bad breath. Regular intake of this aromatic water helps in general well being and it acts as a blood purifier. Traditionally vetiver water is always made in clay pots.
To make vetiver water, take a bunch of vetiver root and place it in the bottom of a clay pot. Pour cooled, boiled water on top the vetiver root and cover the pot for at least 2 to 3 hrs. After 2 to 3 hrs, the vetiver essence would have infused into the water. Now take a lime cut into thin slices and add the slices to the water.
You can strain the water while drinking. This vetiver water is very cooling and refreshing. This vetiver water is always made during hot summer months and I really love this aromatic vetiver water.
2. Vetiver For Hair:
Vetiver water is excellent as a final rinse and it gives a nice sheen to the hair. To make vetiver hair rinse, take a bunch of vetiver in a cup. Pour boiling water on top and let it infuse for 2 to 3 hours, after that strain the liquid and add few drops of rosemary essential oil and mix well. Vetiver infused water also can be added to hair packs, it will help reduce dandruff, scalp inflammation and itching to a great extent.
3. Vetiver Bath Powder:
Vetiver is an amazing ingredient to add in bath powders as it has wonderful anti bacterial properties and it also makes the bath powder smell very good. To make the bath powder, sun dry green gram dal and a small bunch of vetiver under hot sunlight till they get very crisp. Powder finely in a mixer, sieve and store.
Vetiver is very aromatic, so use just little to make this powder. Both vetiver and green gram powder are very cooling. This powder is excellent for small babies as it does not have any chemicals. Keep the left over powder in an airtight box away from moisture.
This bath powder does not strip the skin of the natural oils and regular use prevents black heads and softens the skin. This bath powder cleanses well and it can be made into a paste with water and used as a face scrub too. During winter season, mix the green gram powder with milk or yogurt and use.
4. Vetiver Curtains For Sleep:
If you are looking for a natural room cooler that does not dry the skin like our regular air cooler, then vetiver curtains are perfect. The vetiver roots are dried and then woven into window curtains. These curtains are very fragrant and make the whole room smell fresh.
The smell from these vetiver curtains relaxes our mind and brings in peaceful sleep. Usually during the hot afternoons, water is sprinkled over these vetiver mats. When the hot air passes through the curtains, it cools the air and also adds it’s unique wonderful fragrance. It is much better than our regular air coolers, is very economical and saves so much of electricity.
5. Vetiver Bath Scrubs:
Many of you must have seen the round scrubs hanging in ayurvedic shops and those are vetiver scrubs. These scrubs are made from vetiver roots. Instead of using loofah sponges, we can try these natural scrubs. These scrubs are antibacterial, can be reused again and again and are greatly fragrant. It improves the circulation in the body and is used to exfoliate the dead cells naturally and keeps the body healthy.
Next time if you see these scrubs, give them a try. Before using it, soak it in water for some time and then use it like the regular loofah sponge. If you don’t get these sponges, you can make your own too. Take a thick bunch of dried vetiver roots and tie them into a bunch in such a way that it will be easy to use it as a scrub. Soak it in water for few minutes and your scrubber is ready!