Family: Gramineae (Poaceae)
Synonyms: Vetivert, Andropogon muricatus, Khas-khas, Khus-khus
Aroma: Strong, sweet, rich and earthy.
Colour: Dark brown to dark amber
Plant: Densely tufted perennial grass with long narrow leaves that grows up to 2 metres.
Main Growing Areas: India, Reunion islands, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil, USA
Major Constituents: Vetiverol, vetivene, alpha-vetivol. According to Tisserand and Young vetiver is a complex mixture of over 150 sesquiterpenoid compounds, some of which have not yet been identified.
Interesting snippets: Used in Ayurvedic medicine for inflammatory conditions of the joints and skin
The fibrous root was woven to make blinds, screens, baskets and mats which were sprinkled with water and hung in houses to give off a pleasant cooling scent.
In Sri Lanka vetiver is known as “the oil of tranquillity”.
Part of Plant used / Extraction: rhizome (root) by steam distillation. The roots are washed, sun dried and stored for distillation. The roots are chopped into 2.5-5cm lengths and distilled for up to 48 hours. The oil is very viscous.
Therapeutic actions: Minor wound care, inflammatory skin conditions, irritated skin, rashes, fungal infections, dry skin and menopause
Emotional and Spiritual: Mental exhaustion, relaxing an overheated hyperactive mind. Centres and reconnects us to reality, helpful for the constantly striving perfectionist and the insecure workaholic. Total exhaustion resulting from physical, mental and emotional burnout. May also be helpful for compulsive and obsessive behaviour and the inability to let go.
Patricia Davies states that vetiver brings the energies of all the major chakras into harmony, balance and alignment with each other. Applied to the solar plexus it prevents you from taking on other people’s psychic junk.
Gabriel Mojay writes that whether mentally exhausted from overwork, or out of touch with our body and its needs, vetiver sedates and yet restores us – centres and reconnects us – closing the gap between Spirit and matter.
Robbi Zeck writes when turning points in life challenge you to face your shadows. Vetiver, with its stabilizing tranquility brings a quiet assurance drawing you to the earth, offering support and strength as you reconcile the changes taking place.
Aromatherapy Insight Card:
It is time for you to ground your spiritual energy into physical planes of existence. For the perfectionist, who is “doing everything, but doing nothing”? A head full of ideas and not being grounded means that you cannot manifest the changes you are looking for in your life. Vetiver recharges your emotional and physical energies, and supports you through life.
Fragrant Change Healing Card: I am more grounded when I spend time in nature.
Contemplations for the Soul Card:Are you feeling mentally and physically exhausted?
Are you always coming up with ideas but not acting on them?
Is there an aspect of yourself that you are afraid to face?
Have you lost touch with your roots or your true self?
Sometimes you may prefer not to face your shadow side when changes are taking place.
This is the time to do whatever it takes to make you feel safe, secure and protected.
Seek the help of others who can offer you strength and support during this time.
Take time out to ground, centre and reconnect to what is important to you.
Discard what you no longer need or is not working for you.
Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic
Note: Vetiver is sometimes adulterated with oils from the roots of other grasses and also caryophyllene, cedarwood derivatives and amyris essential oil.
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Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
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Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
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Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)