How To Use Vetiver Oil

When people start to look at using aromatherapy and oils, we are always asked how to use Vetiver Oil. In short, it’s fantastic, has a ton of practical uses, and is so deliciously dark and seductive you might just go to bed with it (wink, wink).

Vetiver has a broad spectrum of uses for physical conditions and mental and emotional support. The oil has been used historically by aromatherapists for many years to ease physical and emotional symptoms. It Supports normal immune function when used for inflammation, muscle complaints, restless legs, tension, anxiety, and depression, and is also used as an aphrodisiac (ooh la la).

What is Vetiver Oil?

It is known as “The Oil Of Tranquility” (what a great title!?), and it is just that; it’s a powerhouse of dark, moody, intense wood smells that hits you like a big soft blanket and cuddles you until you are gently rocked onto the ground and wondering what happened. 

This thick dark oil is distilled (by hydrodistillation or steam distillation) from the very long roots of Vetiver Grass, native to India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Pakistan, Senegal, and Thailand. 

Vetiver has constituents that are anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, and rubefacient (use that one in scrabble), which means it warms and causes redness and dilates capillaries which in turn improves blood flow to the massaged area (more on that later!)

Vetiver Oil Uses

It has such a broad spectrum of emotional and physical uses that it covers many bases.

Emotionally, it grounds, is soothing and reassuring in its strength, and stops the turmoil or racing thoughts. With these benefits, it is especially wonderful when dealing with episodes of panic, anxiety, depression, and trauma such as bereavement, grief, shock, or divorce. Great for meditation and relaxation when we need to be still and focus.

As it’s such a calming oil, its constituents lend themselves well to the physical relaxation of muscles, tension headaches, restless legs, skin irritation, and acne.   

Vetiver oil is a natural pesticide and has been used historically in ayurvedic medicine for skin relief following bites and stings, to keep away insects and rodents, and to expel intestinal worms (keeping the best for last there..)

How to use Vetiver Oil?

Below you will find a list of physical and emotional ailments that Vetiver oil constituents can help to support the body's natural immune functions. And if you stick around some more, you’ll find some gorgeous recipes using the oil and instructions on what and when to use them.


Restless Legs

A restless leg is a condition where you have an overwhelming urge to move your legs. There is no rhyme or reason for this to happen. It's thought to be a lack of iron or genetics. It's best to get a medical opinion if it happens more than a few times a week.

Either way, massage with Vetiver oil (antispasmodic and rubefacient) will increase blood supply to the legs keeping the muscles calm and not urging them to Riverdance in your sleep.   

Grinding Teeth / Toothache

If you don’t know that you grind your teeth - your partner will understand. And if they don’t know, your Dentist sure will. It’s usually felt by having a sore jaw in the morning, facial tenderness, or a constant dull headache. These are all telltale signs that you grind your teeth. In addition, it is thought that tension, stress, and anxiety trigger tooth grinding. So Vetiver is good at calming the muscles that have been overworked during your nighttime grindings but also soothing your mind and relaxing you if used just before bed. 

Tension Headaches 

Aren’t tension headaches the worst? It can feel like your whole head is a big knot of coiled springs. You might be able to feel tight muscles up the back of the neck, jaw, and temples are sore. Massage with a vetiver in these areas will help you to release those muscles and increase circulation and blood flow, warming the areas while breathing in the grounding notes from the oil.

Muscle Complaints 

vetiver is great for relieving tired, hard-working muscles after exertion. The Antispasmodic constituents of the oil get deep into the muscles to relax them after any kind of exercise - gentle massage with Vetiver is especially helpful as a part of a warm-down routine, so you don’t seize up.    


Rheumatism comes in many different guises, but the main symptoms are; Joint pain, swollen joints, and stiffness. Vetiver oil, used in the right methods, can alleviate some pain and swelling because of its anti-inflammatory and soothing qualities.  

Skin Irritation

In Ayurvedic medicines, Vetiver root and vetiver oils have been used to soothe the skin after Scorpions stings, Snake bites, boils, burns, and mouth ulcers. Its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and detoxifying properties can all help to support the body's natural immune responses to irritants and bacteria/poisons (snakes and scorpions - not 007 kind of poisons) 

Constipation / Congestion

Vetiver is good at getting things moving; it’s a go-to for anything stuck. Thanks to it being so great at reducing inflammation and discomfort by relaxing the muscles and tendons in the body to help blockages wherever they may be - to go on their merry way. 


It’s been talked about throughout this article that vetiver is good for blood flow. Vetiver oil is known for being the most wonderful aphrodisiac. The strong, moody grass smell has base notes, and when you inhale them, it’s felt right down into your base (pelvis). One of the oil's key constituents increases blood flow, which obviously helps erectile dysfunction. But also can help ladies become more aroused by increasing the blood flow “South of the border,” expanding the area’s sensitivity. Recipe suggestions are at the bottom of the article…

Related Content: Is Vetiver Oil Safe for Dogs?


Grounding/ Relaxing / Meditative

Vetiver oil has such an intoxicating smell; when used in meditation or breath work, it centers and grounds you - think of the Vetiver grass roots. They can be up to eight feet long, and where some oils lift you away with citrus notes to “float,” this one pulls you down to the ground to feel Mother Earth. 

Hyperactivity/ ADHD / ADD / Focus

A busy mind is a tired mind. Hyperactivity, ADHD, and ADD have an active butterfly mind in common: putting these complex disorders into very simple words. But, when inhaled or massaged, Vetiver oil helps to focus the mind and calm the thoughts. Whereas other essential oils (which are wonderful and calming) help to take the problems away - this one works with you to focus and get things done.   


Funny old thing, insomnia; you can be dog tired and get in the comfiest bed in the world and then lie wide awake wondering why grocery store bags are a certain color. Or if you should cut your hair, the famous “If you get to sleep now, you’ll have three hours sleep.” And harmony to the melody of insomnia “Why can’t you sleep?”. All excellent fun. But if you have a bottle of Vetiver oil in your bag of tricks - you’ll be relaxed and asleep in no time. As we’ve said above, it calms the mind, and when used with deep breathing exercises and light meditation, you’ll be sleeping before you know it.

Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and Trauma

Sometimes when depression, anxiety, panic, or trauma is being carried - breathing can be affected, and if you can't breathe properly - the more you start to worry, possibly even hyperventilating. Vetiver isn’t considered a respiratory oil, but when in a state of panic or feeling so low that you just can’t “catch a breath,” Vetiver will come to rescue you by making you feel more comfortable and perhaps a bit braver.

Vetiver Oil and Safety 

Vetiver oil is safe; however, please do not use ANY essential oils in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

Vetiver oil is non-toxic when diluted and used correctly.

Should the oil be accidentally swallowed, drink milk to dilute it. Seek medical advice if you feel unwell. 

In case of skin irritation or rash, wash the area well and seek medical advice if feeling unwell.

Avoid contact with eyes; in case of contact, rinse the area well and seek medical attention if feeling unwell.

How To Use Vetiver Oil - The Recipes

Cream and Lotions

Creams and lotions are a great base for essential oils. Any unscented plain lotion will blend well with Vetiver Oil. This lotion is wonderful for: 

Constipation, Rheumatism, Tension Headaches, Restless legs, Irritated skin (burns, boils, stings). Rub gently in a clockwise circular motion on the affected area until the cream has been absorbed.

    • 30 ml of Aqueous Cream 
    • 1 drop of Vetiver Oil (Vetiveria zizanioides)

Method of use: Use this lotion as required. Rub gently in a clockwise circular motion on the affected area until the cream has been absorbed.

Safety: Unsuitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Massage oils 

Carrier oils dilute the essential oils to be able to massage them into the skin. Therefore, all massage essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil. Any unfragranced oil can be used as a carrier, i.e., grapeseed. This glorious oil can be used for; Constipation, Stomach Cramps, Restless Legs, Grinding Teeth / Toothache (apply to the jaw, not inside the mouth), Sinus congestion, Tension headaches, Skin irritation, Massage, Erectile dysfunction, and Sex.

Method of use: Use anywhere on the body (avoiding eyes, though). Rub generously into the affected area. (For erectile dysfunction or sex, use twenty minutes before intercourse). 

Safety: Unsuitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Room Spray 

Use this for pillows and clothes anytime you want to feel a little more relaxed! Without having creams and oils on hand to create a relaxing atmosphere.

In a large spray bottle, mix:

    • 300ml of Water 
    • 10 drops of Vetiver Oil  (Vetiveria zizanioides)
    • 10ml of Vodka (Pure Grain Alcohol)

Methods of use: As required, it’s handy to lie around to spray on pillowcases or clothes or just spray in the air to have Vetiver vapor in the background. Shake before use.  

Safety: Unsuitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.


Diffusers can be electronic or the old-fashioned small burner with a candle underneath. Either will vaporize the oils into the air for you to breathe in and enjoy.  If used for Hyperactivity, ADHD, ADD, Trauma, Panic Attacks, and Anxiety, the diffusers on in the background while focusing on the calm, soothing vapors surrounding you

All diffusers will have their instructions, but generally:

    • 100ml of water.
    • 3 drops of Vetiver Oil (Vetiveria zizanioides) 

Method of use; Use as required when you are meditating or when Insomnia comes to visit. 

Safety: Unsuitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Sniffy Sticks

Method of use: Just a good old-fashioned paper or wooden stick with a drop of oil on it. Wave it in front of your nose and inhale whenever you feel you need a cuddle from our friend Vetiver.

Safety: Unsuitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Aroma Pendant

Method of use: Much the same as a sniffy stick, but it’s a piece of jewelry made with metal, porous rock, or stone such as a lava stone. Place a drop of oil on the pendant and wear it when you feel like you need the comfort of Vetiver with you.  

Safety: Unsuitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Do not put the aroma pendant directly on your skin.

Warm Compress

A compress can either be hot or cold; in this case, hot is preferred. Compresses are recommended for Stomach cramps (hot), Circulatory stimulants (hot), Muscle Complaints (hot or cold), Rheumatism (hot). 

    • 500ml Water
    • 5 drops of Vetiver Oil (Vetiveria zizanioides)

Method of use: You will need a large bowl and fill it with hot water hot enough to hold your hand in (or cold water); soak a small towel or flannel (if you are over 30, you’ll know what these are) in the mixture - thoroughly wring out the oily water and place on the area you want to either heat up (or cool down).

This can also be a makeshift diffuser - place the flannel on a radiator to diffuse the oily water into the air.

Safety: Unsuitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.


How do you use Vetiver oil? There are a hundred different uses, and these are just samples. If you try any recipes, please let us know.

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