What is Vetiver Essential Oil?
Vetiver essential oil is a viscous amber to dark brown extract with a deep, sweet, warm, earthy, woody and smoked aroma.
The essential oil of vetiver is extracted by steam distillation of the roots of Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty grass.
It has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Africa for thousands of years. Vetiver is native to India, and both grass and roots have wonderful uses.
Nowadays, the highest quality vetiver oil come from Haiti, Sri Lanka and India.
The Vetiver is known as a sacred herb, and is highly valued due to its healing, uplifting, soothing and protective properties. It is a natural coolant, making it extremely popular in tropical countries. In fact, in India and Sri Lanka it is known as the “oil of tranquility”.
Some of the vetiver essential oil uses include the treatment of heat shock, joint disorders and skin problems, as well as to alleviate the feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
It also helps to increase energy levels when we feel fatigued. Besides, it is known for its usefulness to cool the body in high temperature climates.
Recent research accredits vetiver oil as a component in the treatment of symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Additionally, it is also known to increase libido and relieve insomnia without the need for drugs.
There are numerous benefits that we can take advantage of vetiver essential oil and right in the comfort of our home. For example, this oil is perfect for adding to skin care products or combining with different relaxing oils to perform a gentle massage.
Vetiver essential oil blends well with bergamot, cedarwood, geranium, ginger, myrrh, lavender, grapefruit, black spruce, cypress, cistus, ylang ylang, combava, petitgrain, jasmine, lemon, lemongrass, orange, neroli, patchouli, sandalwood and rose essential oils.
Vetiver Essential Oil in History
Vetiver has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. In these treatments, vetiver oil relieves health disorders such as muscle aches, fever, pain caused by arthritis and headaches.
Formerly, it was used to massage brides and thus, be sanctified before marriage. Due to its cleansing and therapeutic properties, it is said that it can heal a person from the inside.
The most popular use of vetiver oil in the middle ages was its use in aromas and perfume manufacture, which still exists until today. Its aroma is woody, and is frequently used in the perfume industry to provide a masculine fragrance.
For millennia, vetiver served to make thatched roofs, rugs, baskets and curtains. In India, vetiver roots get dried and then woven to make curtains. These curtains have the ability to cool the air that comes in through the window, so in summer months, it refreshes the rooms. In addition, the curtains are usually rubbed with water so the warm air that passes through them creates a fresh and fragrant breeze
Another use that is currently given to vetiver is as a fertilizer, since it is efficient in controlling weeds in coffee, cocoa and tea plantations. It works by building a thick barrier. The hairy texture of vetiver leaves also serves as a pest repellent.
Chemical Components of Vetiver Essential Oil
Vetiver oil contains more than 150 components and is considered to be one of the most complex essential oils.
The main components include a group of sesquiterpenes (cadenene, cloven, amorphine, b-vetivenene, aromadendrine, junipene); sesquiterpenols (khusinol, epiglobulol, spathulenol, khusimol [0.6-8.9%], khusian-2-ol [1.8-2.3%], khusol); ketones (a-vetivone [8.4-13.3%], b-vetivone [2.2-3.7%], khusimone [1.2-2.3%], nootkatone); and the ester, khusinol acetate.
Properties of Vetiver Essential Oil
Vetiver essential oil has analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, circulatory tonic (arterial and venous), immune-modulatory, insect repellent, nervine and sedative effects.
Uses of Vetiver Essential Oil
The most common uses of Vetiver oil are:
- Treatment for varicose veins
- Improves circulation
- Soothes muscular aches and pains, sprains, stiffness and muscle tension
- Relieves arthritis and rheumatism symptoms
- Strengthens central nervous system, promotes relaxation and controls nervous tension
- Treatment for insomnia
- Alleviates menopause symptoms, postnatal depression and PMS
- Improves reduced or lowered sex drive
- Helps menstrual disorders
- Treats skin conditions such as acne, inflammation, oily skin (due to slight astringent-like effect), preventative for stretch marks and wrinkles, wound care, irritated skin, rashes, and topical bacterial or fungal infections
- Psyche/emotion: Grounding, centering, provides a sense of security, especially useful when one is feeling anxious or has a lot of thoughts swirling around with little clarity, calming and balancing when there is over-sensitivity, physical and mental burnout, strengthens and stabilizes, instills confidence, settles nerves before an ordeal (lecture, dentist), anxiety and depression.
Benefits of Vetiver Essential Oil
As we mentioned above, there are several benefits of vetiver oil. Among the best known are:
Antioxidants are substances that help prevent some specific types of cell damage, especially those caused by oxidation.
When certain types of oxygen molecules are allowed to travel freely in the body, they cause what is known as oxidative damage, which is the formation of free radicals, which are very dangerous to body tissues.
Some benefits of eating foods and herbs rich in antioxidants include slower aging, healthy and shiny skin, reduced cancer risk, helps detoxification, and promotes a longer life.
A study conducted at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Clemson University in South Carolina evaluated the antioxidant activity of vetiver essential oil in 2005.
The results showed that vetiver essential oil contains strong radical free elimination activity, when compared with conventional antioxidants such as butylated hydroxytoluene and alpha-tocopherol.
Attenuates and heals scars and marks on the skin
Vetiver oil is a healing, which means that it heals scars by regenerating skin and tissue. Rejuvenates the skin and eliminates dark spots or scars of acne and smallpox.
It is also an anti-aging oil and effectively treats stretch marks, cracks and other skin problems. In addition, it works as a home remedy to cure burns, as well as a natural home remedy for acne. This can be effective for women who suffer from stretch marks after childbirth.
By adding a few drops of vetiver essential oil to your soap or, face or body lotion, you will notice the difference, as your skin will naturally improve.
Vetiver essential oil is a natural antiseptic, which means that when applied to living tissue or skin, it reduces the chance of infection and kills bacteria. Studies show that a minimum concentration of vetiver oil is necessary to kill infections such as staphylococci. This benefit of vetiver oil is useful before and after a surgical procedure and to heal wounds and cuts.
Natural treatment for ADHD
In 2001, a study by Dr. Terry Friedman found that vetiver oil is effective in treating children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The study was carried out for two years (1999-2001), and involved 40 children between 6 and 12 years of age. Twenty of the children were not diagnosed with ADHD (they served as a control group) and 20 children were diagnosed.
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These oils were tested one at a time for 30 days each; the children used an inhalation device at night and inhaled essential oil three times when they felt “scattered”.
Final results were very promising: “The benefits of lavender oil were evident, since it increased the yield by 53%, the cedar oil had a greater effect increasing the yield by 83% and the vetiver essential oil reached 100%”.
As a result, the study found that the soothing and soothing properties of vetiver oil helped children combat their ADHD symptoms, which typically include difficulty concentrating, loss of concentration, difficulty in organizing and following instructions, impatience and restless behavior.
The research that is being done to promote vetiver essential oil and other essential oils, as a natural remedy for ADHD is a very interesting and necessary activity.
Serves as an aphrodisiac
Mental and physical stress can lead to a loss of libido or sexual desire. A 2010 study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior suggested this when the “double hormone hypothesis” was clinically evaluate.
Researchers discovered that when cortisol is elevated in times of stress, testosterone responds by elevating as well.
The problem appears when over time the level of testosterone is reduced to a much lower level than before cortisol acted.
When you have an overly stressful lifestyle, your testosterone levels are depleted and you feel a loss of sexual desire.
Due to vetiver essential oil has been shown to be a soothing agent and an effective sedative, it relaxes mind and body, allowing us to balance hormones naturally.
Also, is very important to get enough sleep. According to an article in the Current Opinion of endocrinology, diabetes and obesity, getting enough sleep and at the right time, are two of the most effective and natural ways to increase testosterone.
Because vetiver oil has soothing properties that leave us in a state of tranquility, it is known to combat insomnia and stress that leads to loss of sleep. With the right amount of sleep, the body begins to feel its natural and healthy impulses again. So, if you can not sleep, try using vetiver oil.
Vetiver essential oil is not only good for raising testosterone levels; it also has similar effects to mild estrogen. It has the power to strengthen the balance system and the female reproductive hormone.
It also helps in the treatment of menstrual discomfort, such as fatigue, swelling, skin problems, emotional changes, breast tenderness and cramps. By acting as a sedative, vetiver oil serves as a natural remedy for premenstrual syndrome pains and helps the body relax and combat hormonal and emotional changes.
Improves the general function of the body
Vetiver oil stimulates the immune and nervous systems, since it is a natural tonic.
A 2015 study conducted in India found that vetiver oil plays a protective role in the body by decreasing the toxic results of a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin, which is used to treat testicles cancer, bladder, ovaries or lung cancer.
Due to its antioxidant activity, vetiver oil significantly inhibits DNA damage, clastogenic effects and pauses the cell cycle in bone marrow cells (results seen in mice that received cisplatin for five consecutive days).
The soothing and restorative attributes of vetiver oil are also efficient in stimulating the immune system and supporting the nervous system.
When we are stressed, adrenaline and cortisol flood the body; our blood pressure, breathing and heart rate increase. Glucose is released into the bloodstream to give us energy. The digestion, growth, reproduction and functions of the immune system are suppressed or put on hold when we feel tense and anxious, and the flow of blood to the skin is decreased, while pain tolerance is increased.
Getting rid of stress is important for the brain, heart, digestion, immune system and all other systems in the body, so natural remedies for anxiety, such as vetiver oil, can be extremely useful.
Calms anxiety and nervousness
Traditionally, vetiver oil has been used in aromatherapy for relaxation and relief from emotional stress, panic attacks, trauma, anxiety, insomnia, hysteria and depression.
A 2015 study investigated the effects of vetiver oil as a tool that helps with anxiety and neurological actions in the central nucleus of the amygdala. The central amygdaloid nucleus connects with areas of the brain stem that control innate behaviors; is responsible for the perception and results of emotions, such as changes in heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.
When vetiver essential oil was administered to rats, this neuronal activation of stress was altered. In fact, vetiver oil had the same impact as diazepam, a medication that treats anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures and other medical problems.
The Louisiana State University Agricultural Center analyzed the termite repellency levels of eight essential oils, including vetiver, cassia leaves, clove bud, cedarwood, eucalyptus, lemon and geranium oil.
Among the tested essential oils, vetiver oil proved to be the most effective repellent due to its long-lasting activity. The vetiver essential oil also decreased the construction activity of termite tunnels in concentrations as low as 5 micrograms per gram of sand.
Another study showed that vetiver essential oil is capable of repelling and controlling the mosquitoes larvae that are responsible for diseases such as dengue, malaria, yellow fever and filariasis.
Some people use vetiver oil on the scalp to kill lice, as it is non-toxic and works as a repellent and killer of the parasite.
Where to buy Vetiver Essential Oil?
Normally, good quality oils, can be found in specialized natural herb stores. If you can not reach a trusted naturist or herbalist shop near you, here are some recommendations:
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Tips for a better performance and duration of your oils:
- Store them in a dark glass bottle, never plastic, not even when blended with a carrier oil.
- Keep them in cool, dark places, away from sources of heat and light.
- Maintain the container that holds it tightly closed, since they are very volatile and also, their properties would be lost or modified.
Uses of Vetiver Essential Oil at home
Here are some easy ways to use vetiver essential oil at home:
- Put 5-10 drops of vetiver oil in water for a bath; Being both, fragrant and refrigerant, adding to the bath water prevents overheating, helps relaxation and relieves insomnia. To take full advantage of the soothing effects, blend vetiver oil with lavender and rose essential oil.
- To benefit your mind and improve your mood, diffuse 3-5 drops of vetiver oil into the environment or place 1-2 drops on your wrists, chest and neck.
- Make your own soothing massage oil by mixing 3-5 drops of vetiver oil with equal parts of jojoba oil. This combination leaves the skin clean and hydrated, and your mind at peace.
Possible Side Effects of Vetiver Essential Oil
- This essential oil is completely safe, being a non-irritating, non-sensitizing and non-toxic substance.
- It should not be used during pregnancy or lactation, as there is not enough information regarding its effects on the infant.
- Vetiver oil is possibly safe for human consumption when taken in small doses.
- Drinking water from vetiver (soaking the roots) is considered safe.
- Some sources claim that vetiver oil can cause a miscarriage if taken by mouth, but there is not enough evidence on that side effect.
- Currently there is no known interaction with other medications.
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