We love it when someone asks, “what is Vetiver essential oil good for?” because we know the aromatic bug has bitten them (ironic, given vetiver’s excellent insect repellent skills!) So they are ready to be drawn into the vetiver's deeply meditative and tranquil world.
Enjoy its nurturing effect on dry and greasy skins and abandon themselves to its seductive and aphrodisiac world. It aids sleep, improves memory, supports healthy immune function, and even plumps a woman’s breasts, traditional wisdom says! Who wouldn’t want a piece of that?
Let’s dig deeper to find more ways to use that exquisite bottle of vetiver essential oil.
You’ll Never Forget Your First Experience
In some ways, we hope you read this before you receive your bottle of oil because taking the top off Vetiver is the most sensory thing you can imagine. You learn so much about yourself from that first whiff of its perfume. It’s a moment to be experienced mindfully and savored because what else is Vetiver for?
Apart from its basso profundo aroma, which seems to vibrate right in your sexual organs, you’ll likely notice the rich darkness of the oil and how veeee-rrrr-y slowly it comes out of the bottle. Black treacle-like, Vetiver makes you wait. And wait. And wait some more.
Notice how much that irks you, how you try to shake it, to check whether it is coming out, and then shake it some more. In a world where we can obtain anything at the click of a mouse, Vetiver is the most outstanding teacher about the qualities of stillness and patience. The trainee aromatherapist quickly learns the skill of rolling the bottle between her hands for a few minutes before her clients come, warming the oil and softening its grip on the glass, rather than waiting painfully long moments to make her blend. (Incidentally, that’s a myrrh trick too!)
Oddly, for a plant very few of us have heard of, Vetiver is one of the most important botanicals on Earth today. If you are unfamiliar, grass grows predominately in Asia, and the essential oil is hydro-distilled from the roots.
Vetiver grass is massive, above and below it, penetrating as much as 8ft into the ground. Where other plants tend to splay their roots and spread outwards, the vetiver pushes its roots down, down, down into the ground. So deep that producers use diggers to excavate them. This quality makes it a handy way to prevent soil erosion. In addition, anchoring the earth in one place prevents cliff faces from falling into the sea.
When vetiver is planted near crops, it can draw water from beneath the water table and helps to nourish fruit trees for producers in some of the world’s poorest communities. Vetiver also removes impurities from the soil, and heavy metals and even nuclear waste are absorbed into the plant, repairing the quality of the land and returning it to a state where things can thrive again. Importantly, it is a sustainable and valuable crop, and because of its soil benefits is being grown ever more extensively. Moreover, essential oil production adds economic benefit to these developing communities.
I noticed the oil is hydro distilled rather than steam distilled. This is because the long fibrous roots, known as angel hair, are dried and then boiled. The resulting vapor is trapped and cooled.
Related Content: How To Use Vetiver Oil
Traditional Usage of Vetiver
Ancient Sanskrit texts reveal that vetiver has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for at least 5000 years. Here, they speak about how vetiver roots were placed into wells. Mosquitos are known to love to mate and lay their eggs in stagnant water, and the vetiver repelled the dangerous insects and cleaned the water too.
In the baking Indian heat, the roots were woven into mats, placed under people’s beds, and made into blinds for the windows. They would then be sprayed with water to release their relaxing scent, cool the house, repel insects, and aid sleep.
It is in this beautiful imagining of the stillness of the old home that we meet Vetiver, the essential oil of tranquility.
Vetiver in Ayurvedic Medicine
Aromatherapy is the oil branch of Ayurvedic medicine that has used fragranced oils since the beginning of recorded history. Rather than being prescriptive for specific complaints as aromatherapy has (sadly) become, it concentrated on bringing the body back into balance through a system called the Doshas.
There are three primary doshas, Vata and Pitta Kapha. We are all born with a predisposition towards a dosha (or more than one), but diet, stress, and circumstances will make us lean away from balance towards a dosha.
Vata dosha has air energy, like a desert wind blowing through you. The skin becomes dry and brittle; the thoughts become nebulous and floating. Concentration is lost, and the appetite is gone. People with naturally Vata dispositions tend to have long, tall willowy limbs and athletic thinkers.
Pitta dosha has fire energy. It is hot and sharp, like urine infection, allergy-ridden skin, and diarrhea. Thinking is fast and clever, but tempers are volatile. You might think of a red-headed firebrand sun burnt skin and an explosive personality.
Kapha dosha is the shire horse amongst us. Big boned, prominent features, oily skin work until they collapse. Their stamina is incredible as they plod through life. Everything is slow and steady, but where Vata is air energy, and pitta is fire, these are the Earth people, and everything about Kapha dosha is like mud. It is sticky, slow, and congested. Its features are constipation, phlegm, catarrh, and things that slow the body system down.
Vetiver essential oil reduces each Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas to bring the body back into wellness.
Related Content: Is Vetiver Oil Safe for Dogs?
Using Vetiver for Skin Care
Once you comprehend how Vetiver moves energy through the system, it becomes easier to understand its contradictions. There are very few oils that can do what vetiver does for the skin, nourishing dryness AND balancing out oiliness. It conditions the skin, smoothing the brittle and breakable nature of Vata without making the skin greasy.
You can see how this would make a tremendous treatment for acne.
What’s more, vetiver is unusual because it has masculine energy. The only other oil that could balance the skin this way is ylang ylang, and oils are not suited to men. It’s just too flowery and nauseating after a while, but vetiver nurtures and soothes the pitta redness that shaving often brings. It cools the skin and reduces the fiery sting.
The Energy of Vetiver Essential Oil
When we learn about essential oils, it's all too easy to get bogged down by this oil does this, and you need that for such-and-such a condition, but the truth is, all that falls into place when you think about how it makes you feel.
Think about how citrus oils make you feel lighter and push energy upwards towards the head. We even say it, don’t we? They are uplifting.
When blending these oils, we call them top notes or head notes.
If we smell them in perfumes, they are the ones we smell first. They reach us quickly, but they are fleeting and gone soon. (We could say they have a Vata nature, I guess!)
Vetiver is the basest of the base notes. It has the darkest color, the thickest viscosity, and the heaviest molecules.
It is slow, meditative, calm, steadfast, dependable, and has staying power.
It draws energy down from the head to the root chakra. Like I said earlier, you feel it in the pelvis.
Thinking about where the energy sits…what do you think its primary usage is?
It has an aphrodisiac nature, but true to its Indian beginnings, it has a tantric character.
Where Ayurveda purifies the body; tantra clears the mind; together with yoga designed to free the spirit, they constitute a trinity of sacred systems developed by rishis (ancient seers) to foster progress towards liberation:
Vetiver sex is quiet sex, connected, deep and languid. It is all consumingly felt in the body, with the mind emptied of inhibitions and worries. Vetiver engages all of the power centers to bring about sacred union with one’s other.
Imagine a warm, heavy blanket embracing you, holding you, and rocking you…this is the energy of vetiver.
Vetiver for Digestion
Is it that it calms the pitta diarrhea or Kapha constipation? How does it bring back the appetite by reducing Vata?
Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that modulates our moods. It makes us feel more balanced and calm. What’s fascinating is that, rather than being made in the brain, it’s made in our gut. Anyone suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome is probably making faces at the screen now and saying, “Durrr, of course, it is!” This is because they recognize how being stressed immediately affects their bowel function.
Softly calming the small intestine, it smooths motility and eases spasms.
Vetiver Aids Concentration
We’ve all had times where we have had to sit and try and learn something. And let’s be honest, the closer the test gets, the more stressed you get about how much you’re not remembering. Usually, you’d go for peppermint essential oil or maybe a bit of rosemary to focus your mind and hold your attention. But think about how they affect your temperament energetically…they switch us up a gear, and that might not be great if we are already hyper!
Vetiver calms us, just allowing the thoughts to go in and stick.
Vetiver For Panic Attacks
It’s not necessarily a respiratory oil per se. Frankincense or eucalyptus would be better for that. But in the same way that Frankincense slows the breath, vetiver does too. Gorgeous for meditation and simply relaxing, or even sleeping if we come to that. Consider how great it is for asthma, though! I’d add it to frankincense and one of the chamomiles, maybe. But, again, reducing the stress slows the breath and makes them feel more comfortable.
We can see how the energy can be so good for people who are afraid, stressed, or fearful. But, especially if they start hyperventilating, it is impossible to do anything with vetiver, so their breathing slows down.
Pro tip- it is also impossible to breathe fast if you are counting backward. Breathe vetiver and count back from 10 before making any presentations too. You’ll be amazed at how effective it is for calming nerves.
What is Vetiver Essential Oil Good For - The Recipes…
Exfoliating Facial Scrub
- 25g/1oz Powdered Wheatgerm (Tritucum vulgare)
- 25g/1oz Soft Brown Sugar
- 25g/1oz Dried Rose Petals (Rosa damascena)
- 25 g/1oz Dried Marigold Petals (Calendula officinalis)
- 25 ml/1 fl oz Hazelnut Oil (Corylus avellana)
- 2 drops Vetiver Essential Oil (Vetiveria zizanioides)
Method of use: Mix the dry ingredients and blend them into the oils when needed.
Safety: Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
Stretch Mark Cream
- 100g/4oz Aqueous Cream (Available from the pharmacy)
- 10ml/1⁄2 fl oz Evening Primrose Carrier Oil
- 1 drop Jasmine Absolute Oil (Jasminum grandiflorum)
- 1 drop Vetiver Essential Oil (Vetiveria zizanioides)
- 1 drop Patchouli Essential Oil (Pogostemon cablin)
Safety: This particular blend would only be safe post-natally. While vetiver is safe for use after 16 weeks, jasmine is a uterine tonic. You could try changing jojoba carrier oil and chamomile essential oil. I don’t think it would be as good, but baby comes first, and you can always revert to this blend afterward, knowing you have prepared your skin well.
The breasts are full of lymphatic glands that empty into the subclavian duct just under the front of your clavicle or collarbone. To promote health and support healthy immunity, work the cream in from under the breast, stroking the cream deeply up the side to the top of the breast and then up to the collar bone. Niaouli is a beautiful support for estrogen. If you struggle to source it, consider substituting Sweet Fennel or Clary Sage essential oil.
- 100g/4oz Aqueous Cream
- 1 drop Vetiver Essential Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides)
- 1 drop Niaouli Essential Oil (Melaleuca quinquenervia)
- 1 drop Sandalwood Essential Oil (Santalum album)
Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
- 100ml/4 floz Jojoba Carrier Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
- 1 drop Vetiver Essential Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides)
- 1 drop Valerian Essential Oil (Valeriana officinalis)
- 1 drop Sandalwood Essential Oil (Santalum album)
- 1 drop Yarrow Essential Oil (Achillea millefolium)
- 2 drops Angelica Essential Oil (Angelica archangelica)
Method of use: Massage anywhere onto the body, slowly, at least 20 minutes before intercourse. All of these oils contain constituents that have either slowing or anesthetizing properties.
Safety: No specific concerns.
So when people ask us, “what is Vetiver essential oil good for?” we always like to wink and say, “Go and have an explore!” It’s a deliciously seductive space of slowness, calm, and tranquility. So enjoy the slow boat ride to bliss.
- Today’s recipes are all taken from Vetiver: An Ayurvedic Medicine: How To Meditate And Heal The Physical Body Using Medicinal Plants and Essential Oils For The Mind Body Spirit (The Secret Healer Oils Profiles Book 1) By Elizabeth Ashley, The Secret Healer.