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Aromatherapy Insights: Vetiver Essential oil

Vetiver Essential Oil is obtained from the roots.

Botanical Name: Andropogon muricatus, Vetiveria zizanoides

Family: Poaceae

Hydrodiffused or steam distilled

History & Information

Vetiver is known as khas in India. It is hung over windows and placed into clothing as an insect repellent. Vetiver is also used as a food flavoring. The essential oil is obtained from the roots. Vetiver essential oil is a profoundly rich oil with a gritty fragrance. Can be used when feeling compulsive and under pressure.

Other than Khas, Vetiver is known by many names:

  • Khas - Hindi

  • Khas khas grass - English

  • Lavancha - Kannada

  • Vattivellu - Telugu

  • Khaskhas, Venaghas - Bengali Vala - Marathi

  • Valo - Gujarati

  • Vettiver, Vetivera - Tamil

  • Ramacham - Malayalam

  • Vertiver- Reunion

  • Ushiri- Sanscrit

Sometimes you will see vetiver listed as khus, between two of these names, khas khas and khus, they can become confusing. They both originate from India. Khas khas is the correct name for vetiver. Often you will hear people say Khus is an alternative name for vetiver.

However, to truly be referred to as khus, the vetiver must have come from a certain region of Northern India. Khus is an area that extends to the home of the second-century superpower the Maurya Empire in Bihar. Here Vetiver zizanoides is prolific but vetiver is grown all over India.

"The plants from Northern and Southern India vary greatly from each other. The oil extracted from plants grown in Northern India is far superior. This oil is still a vetiver but is defined separately and is known as Khus."


  • Sweet

  • Earthy

  • Balsamic

  • Exotic

  • Sensual

  • SmokyWoody

Vetiver oil is a great fixative and is used extensively in the art of perfumery. The root tea is taken for digestive problems, headaches, muscle and joint aches, nerve pains, flu, and fevers in Latin American countries. In countries such as Russia, the oil is placed in sachets and sewn into the linings of fur coats to protect against damage caused by moths. The roots of Vetiver yield a small amount of oil; therefore, it is sometimes adulterated with synthetics. Vetiver oil was restricted in many countries because of problems with adulteration, in the 1970s.


  • Analgesic - pain reliever

  • Anti-inflammatory - alleviates inflammation

  • Antispasmodic - prevents, eases spasms, relieves cramps

  • Anti-tumoral - breaks down abnormal cell growth

  • Anti-viral - controls viral organisms and infection

  • Cicatrizant - skin, wound healing, promotes the formation of scar tissue

  • Lipolytic - breaks down fats

  • Mucolytic - dissolves, and breaks down mucous, especially respiratory and urogenital tracts

  • Relaxant - relaxing, soothing effect, causing relaxation, relieving strain or tension

  • Regulator - stabilizing, promotes balance and harmony

  • Sedative (in small amounts) - soothing, tranquilizing, calming effect on the body, good for nervous tension, stress, insomnia, anxiety, palpitations

  • Stimulant (in large amounts) - quickens physiological functions of body, temporarily increases body/organ function, good for convalescence, poor circulation, listlessness, physical fatigue


  • Improves digestion

  • Calms nervousness, relieves stress and tension; promotes a restful sleep

  • Mood uplifting

  • Strengthens the body

  • Loosens tight muscles, relieves pain

  • Repels insects

  • Healing to the skin

  • A fixative to hold the scent of a fragrance


Stress Relief

INGREDIENTS Vetiver-30 drops

Spikenard-30 drops Chamomile-30 drops

Rose Geranium-30 drops

Bergamot-30 drops​

DIRECTIONS Cap the bottle tightly and then shake vigorously. Allow synergizing for 8 hours or more before using. You can then diffuse it, make a mist, an amazing perfume oil, or an aroma lamp.

Which Oils Blend Well

with Vetiver?

Petitgrain, Orange, and other citrus oils are said to be great with Vetiver however, Vetiver works well as a stand-alone oil, yet blends well with a variety of essential oils. Vetiver is probably the longest-lasting fragrance fixative we have, which will last up to 24 hours on a perfumery scenting strip.

  • Agarwood

  • Benzoin

  • Cedarwood

  • Lemon Balm

  • Nutmeg

  • Spikenard

  • Tonka Bean

  • Valerian

  • Sandalwood

  • Rose

  • Jasmine

  • Violet

  • Opoponax

  • Patchouli

  • Oakmoss

  • Lavender

  • Clary Sage

  • Mimosa

  • Cassia

  • Ylang Ylang.

Using Vetiver Essential Oil Safely

Vetiver holds the status of Generally Regarded as Safe and Tisserand and Young 2013 list it as having no contraindications. Vetiver is approved by the FDA for oral use as a food additive. 1 drop in a teaspoon of honey or in a 4 oz beverage (Use something like soy or rice milk that will dissolve the oil. Not water.) "I can’t really see any medicinal applications for ingesting the oil that topical or inhalant use would not do just as well."

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— "The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia" by Carol Schiller and David Schiller

— Vetiver: An Ayurvedic Medicine: How To Meditate And Heal The Physical Body Using Medicinal Plants and Essential Oils For The Mind Body Spirit (The Secret Healer Oils Manuals) by Elizabeth Ashley

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