Vetiver is a grass that grows prolifically in warm climates. It is particularly well known in India - the name Vetiver is derived from the Tamil word “vetriver” which means cut roots.
Vetiver is well known for its environmental benefits - the roots grow long and deep and hence it is cultivated to moderate soil erosion. Vetiver is also grown in farms to enrich soil and help with pest control.
The roots are very pleasingly aromatic and are steam distilled to produce Vetiver essential oil. This oil is highly prized in the perfume industry - it is used in perfumes such as Guerlain’s Vetiver, Chanel’s Coco, Dior’s Miss Dior, Yvette St. Laurent’s Opium, and Givenchy’s Ysatis.
Vetiver in Ayurveda
Known as Usheera, Vetiver is a super herb in Ayurveda. Aromatherapeutically, Vetiver is considered to be calming and grounding. The first sniff of Vetiver roots took me by surprise. The aroma is mild but delightful. It brought back memories of burning incense in the temples of South India.
Vetiver is cooling and is used to calm pitta dosha. It is also pacifying for Vata dosha because of the calming quality of its aroma. Vetiver is mentioned in the Vedas and according to the Ayurvedic scholarly work of Bhavprakash Niganthu, has the following benefits;
Benefits of Vetiver
The chemical composition of volatiles from Vetiver root as analyzed in the extracted oil are mainly a class of hydrocarbons called sesquiterpenes. These compounds along with their alcohol derivatives account for the biological properties of Vetiver:
Vetiver has also been used to help with painful symptoms of menstruation and to aid in fertility in women. However it should be avoided by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Another property of Vetiver that needs to be kept in mind when taking it internally is that it has the tendency to harden stool . So if you are prone to constipation, limit taking vetiver internally. It could help with diarrhea though.
How to use Vetiver
Vetiver is available as roots and as essential oil derived from the roots. Below are some methods to incorporate this herb in your beauty and health routine.