Everything You Need to Know about Vetiver Oil

Essential Oils have a long tradition of being used as fragrances, flavorings, and home remedies. They are so named because they are a concentrated extraction of a plant’s aromatic oils, capturing the essence of the plant. Lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus oils are the most commonly used and widely known essential oils, but the unsung hero in the essential oil world is vetiver oil, with its calming effect and medicinal properties.

Vetiver oil, like many essential oils, comes from a plant long known to have medicinal qualities. It is extracted from the roots of a bunch grass native to India, commonly known as khus. The roots of the plant, and even the grass itself, have been used in a wide range of cultures, going back to at least the 12th Century, when vetiver oil was a taxable commodity in India. Vetiver has been used in spiritual ceremonies and healing remedies, and to this day the roots themselves are used in evaporative coolers on the Indian sub-continent because of their cooling, calming, and antiseptic properties. These qualities haven’t gone unnoticed to the cosmetic world, and vetiver oil is regularly used as a base note in perfumes and cosmetics, as well as in air-fresheners, aroma-therapy candles, and even flavorings for beverages and sorbets.

The key characteristic of vetiver oil is its earthy aroma, which provides a grounding or calming effect. The scent is similar to patchouli, with a lemony overtone. People have used the scent to aid in meditation and prayer, to soothe anxiety, to help those who have difficulty focusing, and to aid in sleep. Additionally, vetiver oil is said to have an aphrodisiacal effect and a host of medicinal qualities. It is commonly used to ease pain and help heal wounds, scars, and skin blemishes.

Vetiver oil can be used at home in a variety of ways. It can be used in a diffuser for aromatherapy. It can be used as a bath oil—a couple of drops is all it takes. And a few drops in teas or other hot drinks are all you need for a homeopathic tonic. Topically, it’s commonly applied to the wrists or neck to harness its calming scent. It is also used as a facial cleanser and to help heal wounds, scars, and blemishes. It’s just important to remember that essential oils are concentrated, and a little vetiver oil can go a long way. If it’s used topically, it’s recommended to dilute a few drops in a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil. It also blends well with other essential oils to enhance their effects, notably, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, and ylang-ylang essential oils.

Unlike some other essential oils, vetiver oil is generally considered to be non-irritating, non-sensitizing, and non-toxic, but as with any other powerful substance, care should be taken with its use. Medical professionals recommend that women who are pregnant or breast feeding, as well as children, not use vetiver oil. And always make sure to buy a trusted brand that is pure vetiver essential oil, not a cheaper low quality, diluted version.

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