Vetiver Oil Uses, Benefits and Essential Oil Blends

Vetiver or chrysopogon zizanioides is regenerating, grounding and protective. It is, in essence, the knight in shiny armor of essential oils. This oil has numerous restorative and healing properties and is one of the most ancient oils, whose usage is already referred to in ancient Sanskrit manuscripts.

Origins of Vetiver Oil

Vetiver oil comes from a tall, fragrant perennial grass, belonging to the Graminae or Poaceae botanical family. It belongs to the same family as citronella, palmarosa and lemongrass but most closely resembles the cereal sorghum. The oil comes from its fibrous and very aromatic roots which might explain its earthy, musty, deep undertones and its grounding influence. Vetiver’s native land is India and Sri Lanka and in fact, its very name comes from the Tamil language “vetiverr”, meaning “the root that is dug out”. It has been a staple in the ancient art of Ayuverdic Medicine for thousands of years.

How Vetiver Oil is Made

Although available in abundance in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia and used for anything from perfumes to building thatched houses, vetiver’s extraction process which also requires a maturation period, not unlike fine wine, is quite painstaking, making it a very precious commodity. The roots are washed and chopped up, dried and soaked in water before the oil gets steam distilled. It then needs to be aged for a number of months. The richest and best samples of the oil, have aged at least eighteen to twenty-four months and gained depth in the process.

Top Middle and Base Notes Oils

All essential oils can be classified in relation to each other in what resembles a “scale” system. Each oil can be classified as belonging to top, middle or base notes. Top notes are volatile, fresh and dissipate quickly. Middle notes represent the core of any essence and have slightly longer presence. Finally, base notes are textured, heavy and deep and Vetiver with its grassy, smoky and sharp character belongs in this category.

Base oils literally stabilize a mixture of scents together and this explains why vetiver is extensively used in perfumery and cosmetics. Its powerful binding quality makes it a key component specifically for men’s toiletries, perfumes and colognes. In reality, vetiver suits both men and women, equally. Vetiver is often referred to as the “oil of tranquility” and it truly is a miraculous oil.

Vetiver Oil Can Be Used For a Variety of Purposes

Some of its properties are, being antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, moisturizing, sedative and despite the seeming contradiction to the latter, also tonic. Most notably, vetiver is a particularly non-toxic oil and as such very safe to use. It comes in an amber-brown color and has a viscous consistence. It is regenerative, stimulates immunity, provides deep relaxation and literally acts like a protective shield against tiredness, oversensitivity and infection.

Vetiver oil blends well with Orange, Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Marjoram, Cardamom, Lavender, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood, Neroli, Clary Sage, Verbena and Jasmine.

 Health Benefits and uses of VETIVER OIL

HORMONE BALANCING

Vetiver’s protecting and regenerative properties make it an essential oil for women, particularly during menopause. It can help balance the hormones that start changing at this stage in life and be a great source of imbalance during that time. Even before that, many women may suffer from a number of the menopausal symptoms while still in perimenopause and not officially diagnosed. At that time, vetiver can have a lot of positive and calming effects on the nervous system which in turn influences the endocrine system that regulates the hormones. It is thought that vetiver helps stimulate the production of estrogen and progesterone and is a powerful ally during that physical and emotional rollercoaster.

Added to a bath, a massage oil or a skin lotion, vetiver can deeply relax and stabilize the body and the psyche and curb the effects of the hormone imbalances.

Because of its hormone balancing properties, Vetiver is also an essential oil to help manage the effects of Pre Mestrual Syndrome (PMS). Two to seven days before the start of the cycle, a few drops of Vetiver on the soles of the feet can have a powerful calming and balancing effect.

 ANTISEPTIC AND ANTIBACTERIAL

Vetiver’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties have long been known in tropical countries where cuts or bites have often been treated with application directly to the wound. Not only does it prevent the onset of infections and sepsis, caused by bacteria, but it also promotes the growth of new tissue and goes so far as to limit scaring. A simple blend of vetiver and lavender in a carrier oil can have very fast effects in treating a wound.

IMMUNITY

Vetiver acts like an immuno-stimulant by boosting the body’s circulation and endocrine activity. It is known to be able to stimulate the production of red blood cells and leucocytes both of which are essential in combating infection.

Vetiver is also useful in combating inflammation caused by sunstroke or dehydration and can even be very effective in treating burns. Its cooling effect also makes it a good remedy for fevers.

Arthritis and even muscle pain can be greatly alleviated by a subtle blend of vetiver, frankincense, rosemary and marjoram massaged in the affected area or as a blend to be added to a soothing bath.

INSOMNIA

One of Vetiver’s most prominent uses is to combat insomnia, naturally. It does so by acting on the limbic and nervous system and bringing balance and relaxation to the body. Vetiver is nature’s natural sedative and adding a few drops to a base oil in a gentle massage can be more effective than any sleeping pill.

A great additional way to fight against insomnia is also by using a combination of Vetiver and Myrrh which is a very effective blend against stress, one of the key causes of many difficulties to have a restful night.

Beauty Benefits and uses of VETIVER OIL 

 SKIN MAINTENANCE

Vetiver oil is particularly indicated for mature skin to help restore its elasticity and its freshness. It is a proven anti-oxidant and combats those free radicals that travel in the blood stream and are particularly prone to damage the cells. Anti-oxidants are powerful in maintaining skin healthy, restoring its tone and helping it look youthful by slowing down the aging process. As an added bonus, vetiver also brings its amazing scent and moisturizing properties to the mix. It is therefore no surprise that it is a fundamental element for the skincare industry and abundantly used in creams and lotions.

Great for Acne

Thanks to its anti-bacterial properties it is also an effective remedy against acne and a great addition to any skin cleaning regimen.

It is such a powerful restorative that it can even heal scars. Vetiver can regenerate skin that has been market by chickenpox or acne, help black spots and marks fade and overall equalize the appearance of the skin. It can even be applied to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, simply by being used in a daily wash or shower as a home remedy.

Good Solution For Eczema

Vetiver can even come of aid in helping to manage eczema by alleviating the discomfort that the condition causes and helping to repair the skin.

A very simple body oil can be made by using a carrier oil and vetiver and applying onto the body as such or even adding a few drops of lavender or jasmine oil for a more aromatic effect. This can also be used as a simple hair mask, applied overnight and rinsed as any conditioner or shampoo, leaving the hair malleable and rejuvenated.

PERFUME

Vetiver is a staple of the perfume industry and has been for hundreds of years. It acts as the essential base note that brings all the scents together and ensures a certain longevity and stability to the aroma. It can equally be used for creating our own home made, totally personalized and unique scents. All it takes is observation, patience, a sense of fun and a personal taste. Everyone tends to be attracted to the scents and oils that best benefit them and although there are no definitive rules a good start for experimentation would be to combine essential oils that belong to Top, Middle and Base notes to create fragrances that last and develop over time.

So with Vetiver as the base ingredient, feel free to experiment with the following top and Middle notes to create your preferred and unique scent in the proportions that best suit your skin type.

Top: Bergamot, Lemon, Sweet Orange, Verbena, Grapefruit.

Middle: Geranium, Neroli, Lavender, Marjoram, Cardamom.

Wellbeing Benefits and uses of VETIVER OIL 

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SENSUALITY

Vetiver is considered an aphrodisiac and can help stimulate the libido. It does so in a dual way. First, by countering the effects of stress on the production or lack thereof of testosterone, with its calming and soothing effect on the nervous system. Secondly, by stimulating the production of estrogen and progesterone and balancing the hormones. It is therefore effective for both men and women ideally used in a sensual massage or a bath, mixed with other sensual oils like ylang ylang, patchouli, jasmine or rose.

CHRONIC FATIGUE  ANXIETY AND EXHAUSTION

In Ayurveda, it is believed that the body contains seven chakras or areas of spiritual energy that reside across the trunk from the base to the crown of the head. Each chakra corresponds to specific areas of the body and regiments specific emotions. According to Ayurveda, illness and discomfort occurs when there is a blockage in any of these chakras. This is where Vetiver plays a very important role as it is believed that it not only influences the root chakra, which is at the base of the spine, but that it also facilitates the flow among all the others. It is said that applying Vetiver on the chakras can have as a consequence dissipating fatigue, stress and negative emotion.

In Chinese medicine, Vetiver is energetically seen as cool and moist and is therefore used to reinforce Yin energy. It is used to combat chronic fatigue, the onset of depression and to heal countless physical ills like arthritis, dermatitis, poor appetite, insomnia and muscular aches.

It is even recommended to those dealing with negative situations, namely counselors or therapists to rub a drop of vetiver on the solar plexus in a clockwise direction. This is meant to act as a protective shield against those situations.

ANXIETY

Vetiver’s deeply relaxing qualities make it the natural choice for any ailments and discomfort associated with the mind. It helps center and re-balance any psychological disconnection and restore the subtle energies of the body. When any feelings of anxiety or over-worrying start to assert themselves, a few drops of vetiver mixed with ylang ylang, orange and patchouli in a base oil and gently rubbed at the base of the neck can dissipate the progression of the panic. A simple mix of vetiver and sandalwood can also have that effect, depending on individual preference and sensitivity.

In meditation sessions, vetiver can help gain wisdom and facilitate gaining valuable  insight.

ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)

In a study conducted by Dr. Terry Friedman in the US, Vetiver was tested on children suffering from ADHD. It showed a 100% improvement vs. past behavior for the period that the test was conducted and outperformed other essential oils. It improved symptoms like lack of focus and concentration, over-excitement and fidgeting without the downsides of taking medication. Naturally, more research is being conducted in the field but the results are already very powerful in illustrating vetiver’s potent action beyond conventional medicine.

FABRIC PROTECTION

Vetiver’s protective qualities do not exclusively extend to the body and mind. Also known as moth root, a few drops of it strategically placed in any wardrobe can ward off moths and maintain the clothes’ freshness and appearance. This a considerably healthier alternative than the commercial moth balls found in stores which contain a number of chemicals that are less than ideal for our health.

INSECT REPELLANT

Another historical use of Vetiver is as a mosquito and termite repellant. In the east, it was usually fanned into the air to repel insects and freshen up interiors.

Gently diffuse in a burner or apply onto the skin for instant results.

 

Best blending combinations for Vetiver Oil

Essential oils work well individually and their benefits and distinctive scents can be experienced as such.

But by blending oils, we are doing more than mixing flavors. There are combinations that can create powerful synergies whereby we are not simply experiencing each individual benefit but the oils enhance and influence each other thereby producing exponential benefits. Blending is a creative process and an individual one and it is important to follow intuition and personal preference when practicing it.

When first attempting it is best to stick to a maximum of three or four essential oils and always take into account personal preferences, intended usage or symptoms that need to be treated and emotional and psychological factors. For those who need a little bit more guidance to start with, below are a few tried and tested combinations that work particularly well and have proven their efficacy, using vetiver as a prime component:

TOP TEN VETIVER ESSENTIAL OIL BLENDS

Blend one

Vetiver and Lavender is a combination with a calming effect particularly apt at curbing stress.

Blend Two

Vetiver, Lavender and Roman Chamomile are a great blend to diffuse in the night, for a calm and restful sleep.

Blend Three

Vetiver, Bergamot and Geranium mixed in a bath create the perfect home spa meditative retreat.

Blend Four

Vetiver, Lavender and Palmarosa blended with a carrier oil make a very effective body moisturizer.

Blend Five

Vetiver, Ylang Ylang and Cedarwood blended into a massage oil, in a warm bath or in the burner act like an aphrodisiac suitable for both men and women.

Blend Six

Vetiver, Palmarosa, Lavender and Thyme can boost immunity particularly when the body’s immunity is depleted by stress and anxiety.

Blend Seven

Vetiver, Rose and Lime blended together can result in a wonderfully scented perfume for a romantic and sensual evening

Blend Eight

Vetiver, Grapefruit oil and rosewater blended together and used to reduce the appearance or scars and accelerate the skin’s healing process

Blend Nine

Vetiver and Almond oil blended together and incorporated in any skin regime can reduce blemishes, even out skin and restore a healthy glow.

Blend Ten

Vetiver, Sandalwood, Geranium, Lavender and Ylang Ylang added to a bath, massage oil or a face cream or tonic make a great blend to counter the effects of menopause and perimenopause.

 

Note that vetiver has a very powerful scent and is a very concentrated oil. A little goes a long way.

Some Precautions 

Vetiver oil is non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing and as such is one of the safest oils to use. However, this does not mean that the usual precautions don’t apply. It is always best to first test using it on a narrow surface of the skin to determine if there are any allergic reactions.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also use it with caution and at the recommendation of a health professional. It certainly should only be used in small quantities.

For children, it is recommended to dilute to at least 50% consistency or less.

Vetiver oil should not be taken internally.

All essential oils should be kept out of the reach of children.

Always try and source the highest affordable quality oils and ensure that they are free of pesticides or herbicides.

 

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