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Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides), is a perennial grass of the Poaceae family. Vetiver plant, also known as khus or khus-khus, is native to Tamil Nadu, India. It is widely used in medicines, perfumes, cosmetic and soaps. Vetiver plant can grow upto five feet high, its stem is tall with long narrow leaves and the roots can go as deep as eight feet into the soil .
Vetiver essential oil is distilled from the roots of the vetiver plant and is valued for its soothing, healing and protective properties. The oil is amber-brown in colour and has a sweet, pleasant and earthy scent.
For thousands of years, vetiver essential oil has been used in traditional medicine in West Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. In India and Sri Lanka, vetiver essential oil is known as the 'oil of tranquillity'. The benefits of vetiver essential oil are immense, which we are going to talk about in this article.
Health Benefits Of Vetiver Essential Oil
1. Has antioxidant properties
A study published in the Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics found that vetiver essential oil possesses antioxidant properties . Antioxidants are substances that protect the body's cells from free radicals, which play a role in the ageing process and increase the risk of chronic diseases. Another study showed that vetiver oil possesses a strong free radical scavenging activity when compared to other standard antioxidants like alpha-tocopherol andbutylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) .
2. Eases anxiety
Vetiver essential oil has been used in aromatherapy for relaxation and alleviating stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. A 2015 animal study showed that when rats were exposed to vetiver essential oil, the anxiety levels were lower and they felt relaxed. However, further studies are needed to show the effectiveness of vetiver oil on humans for treating anxiety .
3. Treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that causes hyperactive and impulsive behaviours. A research study showed that vetiver essential oil is effective in improving brain activity and decreasing the symptoms of ADHD . However, further research is needed in this area.
4. Increases mental alertness
If you are struggling to stay alert, using vetiver oil can help improve alertness and lower mental fatigue. A study published in the Journal of Intercultural Ethnopharmacology showed that inhaling vetiver essential oil could help improve alertness and brain function .
5. Improves breathing during sleep
Vetiver essential oil can aid in improving the breathing pattern of your sleep, it means that using this oil during bedtime could help people who are heavy snorers. A 2010 study showed that vetiver essential oil increased the quality of exhalation and reduced inhalation when sleeping .
6. Repels termites
A study published in the Journal of Chemical Ecology analysed the termite toxicity of eight essential oils: vetiver grass, cassia leaf, clove bud, cedarwood, eucalyptus globules, eucalyptus citrodora, lemongrass and geranium. Out of all the oils, vetiver oil proved to be the most effective repellent because of its long-lasting activity .
7. Heals skin marks
As vetiver essential oil has healing properties, using it on the skin will help rejuvenate the skin, remove dark acne marks and give you a soft and nourished skin.
Side Effects Of Vetiver Essential Oil
When used in moderation, vetiver essential oil is completely safe. A 2014 study pointed out that vetiver essential oil doesn't pose any health risk and is considered safe for human consumption at low concentrations .
If you are pregnant and breastfeeding, you should consult your doctor before using this essential oil.
Note: Before using any kind of essential oil, including vetiver essential oil, it is advisable to do a patch test on your hand to check if it's safe to apply topically on your skin.
How To Use Vetiver Essential Oil
Always use organic vetiver essential oil. Vetiver essential oil blends well with ginger essential oil, geranium oil, jasmine oil, lavender essential oil, bergamot oil, cedarwood essential oil, lemongrass essential oil, lemon oil, orange oil, sandalwood essential oil and rose essential oil.
Here are some ways to use vetiver oil:
- You can make vetiver water by soaking clean vetiver roots in cooled water that has been boiled for 2-3 hours. You can use vetiver water to cool and calm your body.
- Mix three drops of vetiver oil with equal parts of jojoba oil or coconut oil and use it to moisturise your skin.
- To calm your mind, apply 1 to 2 drops of vetiver essential oil on your wrists, chest and neck.
- You can also add 5 to 10 drops of vetiver essential oil to your bath water to make you feel relaxed.