Earthy, heady, and spicy … vetiver essential oil’s unique and refreshing fragrance has a steady following among essential oil lovers. But beyond the perfume, vetiver has been valued for long by traditional medicinal systems for its health benefits. It has an extremely complex chemical composition – it contains about a hundred sesquiterpene-type compounds and derivatives which have therapeutic benefits. Of these, khusimol, longipinene, valerenol, epizizanal , α-vetivone, and β-vetivone may be responsible for many of vetiver essential oil’s beneficial effects.1 2 Here’s what you stand to gain if you add vetiver to your essential oil arsenal.
1. Eases Anxiety
According to chakra aromatherapy, vetiver essential oil appeals to your muladhara or root chakra, associated with your sense of belonging and security. It can help center you and increase
Vetiver essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation. And with good reason – animal studies confirm it can ease anxiety. Vetiver oil may work by altering the expression of genes involved in triggering anxiety.4
How to use: Add a few drops of vetiver essential oil to a diffuser and inhale its scent. Or dilute a few drops of this essential oil in a carrier oil, swirl it through a warm bath, and settle in for a relaxing soak.
To enhance the power of the remedy, you can mix in essential oils of juniper berry and cedarwood oil too. Dilute 15–30 drops of the blend in 30 ml of a carrier oil and you’ve got yourself a calming body oil.5 Almond oil, sunflower oil, and grapeseed oil can all be used as carrier oils.
2. Controls ADHD Symptoms
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder that manifests in symptoms such as hyperactivity and difficulty in concentrating or controlling impulses. While behavior therapy and medication are important for treating this condition, aromatherapy can also be useful.6 Children with developmental disorders tend to relax more when they inhale soothing aromas. Inhaling the scent of vetiver oil has been seen to have a calming effect on children with ADHD.7
How to use: Add vetiver essential oil to a diffuser and inhale the scent thrice a day. You can also use a paper tissue infused with a couple of drops of the essential oil.
You Sleep Better
Sleepless nights don’t just leave you tired and cranky the next morning, but can even lead to anxiety or depression if they are a regular affair.8 If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, vetiver essential oil can be of some help. Animal studies have found that inhaling this oil can have sedative effects and help fight sleeping problems like insomnia.9
How to use: Inhaling the fragrance of vetiver oil can have a sedative effect as we just saw. Add this blend to your diffuser or dilute a few drops in a carrier oil and add to a pre-bedtime bath.
You can also make a potent blend of the essential oils of clary sage, valerian, and lavender along with vetiver oil to help you drift off to sweet sleep. Aromatherapists also recommend diluting 3 drops of this essential
4. Relieves Pain
Ayurveda has been using the aromatic and cool vetiver oil for relieving pain caused by inflammatory conditions for ages.11 Not surprisingly, scientific studies have also found that vetiver oil has anti-inflammatory properties. This essential oil is thought to help by regulating enzymes involved in inflammation and, thus, suppressing the inflammatory response in the body.12 Animal studies have also found that vetiver
How to use: Massage sore muscles or an aching back with 4–5 drops of vetiver essential oil diluted in a teaspoon of carrier oil to ease pain.14 You can also add a few drops of vetiver oil, rosemary oil, and niaouli oil to a damp, clean cloth and use it as a compress for sore muscles.15
5. Soothes Insect Bites
Those pesky bugs and insects can cause a whole lot of trouble even when they’re tiny, can’t they?
How to use: Dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil like almond oil and apply it to the insect bite.17
6. Perks Up Dry And Aging Skin
Vetiver essential oil can help your skin stay hydrated and may have a rejuvenating effect on aging skin. It is also worth noting that this oil is rich in antioxidants that help fight the damaging effects of free radicals.18 19
How to use: Blend around 5 drops of vetiver essential oil into 1 oz of your skin lotion to see a marked improvement in dry and irritated skin. Vetiver oil also works well with lavender and frankincense essential oils to fight wrinkles and aid skin renewal. Simply mix equal amounts in a carrier oil and use.20
7. Helps Fight Acne
Vetiver essential oil can balance the activity of oil glands in your skin and regulate excess oil production that leads to pimples.21 So if acne is giving you a tough time, it’s vetiver to the rescue!
How to use: Blend a few drops of vetiver oil with a carrier oil and a drop of lemon and apply to affected areas. Lemon oil makes your skin sensitive to the sun, so avoid sun exposure for at least 12 hours after using this remedy. Sunflower oil may work well as a carrier oil here since it contains linoleic acid, which again may have anti-acne benefits.22 23
8. Has Antimicrobial Properties
Harmful pathogens that can cause infection and disease are all around us. But according to research, vetiver essential oil shows antimicrobial activity against common pathogens such as Candida albicans, which causes those nasty yeast infections, and Staphylococcus aureus, which causes staph infections. 24
How to use: You can add a few drops of this essential oil to baking soda to make a natural antimicrobial cleanser. This also doubles up as a deodorant.25
9. Works As An Insect Repellent
Mosquitoes, termites, moths – there’s no end to the creepy crawlies that can declare war on you and your home! But whether you are troubled by disease-spreading mosquitoes or furniture-destroying termites, vetiver essential oil can step in. Diffusing a few drops of this oil will help repel the mosquitoes and also create a spicy, Balinese ambiance.26 27
How to use: Diffuse a few drops of vetiver essential oil to repel mosquitoes and spray on termite hot spots. Protect your clothes from moth by placing a few cotton balls soaked in the essential oil in your closet.28
Avoid It If You Are Pregnant
While vetiver essential oil clearly has a wide range of benefits, it might not be advisable to use it during pregnancy. It has been known to stimulate circulation and may induce contractions. Those who suffer from epilepsy should also avoid it.29
|↑1, ↑21||Lavania, U. C. “Other uses and utilization of vetiver: vetiver oil.” In The Third International Vetiver Conference, Guangzhou, China. 2003.|
|↑2, ↑9||Thubthimthed, Sirinan, Krittiya Thisayakorn, Ubon Rerk-am, Sinn Tangstirapakdee, and Taweesak Suntorntanasat. “Vetiver oil and its sedative effect.” In Proceedings of the third international conference on vetiver and exhibition: vetiver and water. Guangzhou, China, pp. 492-494. 2003.|
|↑3||Stiles, KG. The Essential Oils Complete Reference Guide: Over 250 Recipes for Natural Wholesome Aromatherapy. Page Street Publishing, 2017.|
|↑4||Saiyudthong, Somrudee, Sirinun Pongmayteegul, Charles A. Marsden, and Pansiri Phansuwan-Pujito. “Anxiety-like behaviour and c-fos expression in rats that inhaled vetiver essential oil.” Natural product research 29, no. 22 (2015): 2141-2144.|
|↑5||Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and
|↑6||Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑7||Benor, Daniel J., and ABIHM IJHC. “Complementary therapies for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).” Int J Heal Caring 6 (2006): 1-15.|
|↑8||Insomnia. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑10, ↑14||Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments. New world library, 2016.|
|↑11||Frawley, David, Subhash Ranade, and Avinash Lele. Ayurveda and marma therapy: Energy points in yogic healing. Lotus Press, 2003.|
|↑12||Chou, Su-Tze, Chia-Pei Lai, Chih-Chien Lin, and Ying Shih. “Study of the chemical composition, antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory activity of essential oil from Vetiveria zizanioides.” Food Chemistry 134, no. 1 (2012): 262-268.|
|↑13||Lima, Gabrielle M., Lucindo J. Quintans-Júnior, Sara M. Thomazzi, Emyle MSA Almeida, Mônica S. Melo, Mairim R. Serafini, Sócrates CH Cavalcanti et al. “Phytochemical screening, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities of Chrysopogon zizanioides essential oil.” Revista brasileira de farmacognosia 22, no. 2 (2012): 443-450.|
|↑15||Fite, Vannoy Gentles, Michele Gentles McDaniel, and Vannoy Lin Reynolds. Essential Oils for Healing: Over 400 All-Natural Recipes for Everyday Ailments. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016.|
|↑16||Johari, Harish. Ayurvedic massage: Traditional Indian techniques for balancing body and mind. Inner Traditions/Bear & Co, 1996.|
|↑17||Wilson, Roberta. Aromatherapy: essential oils for vibrant health and beauty. Penguin, 2002.|
|↑18||Kim, Hyun-Jin, Feng Chen, Xi Wang, Hau Yin Chung, and Zhengyu Jin. “Evaluation of antioxidant activity of vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides L.) oil and identification of its antioxidant constituents.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 53, no. 20 (2005): 7691-7695.|
|↑19||Lavania, U. C. “Other uses and utilization
|↑20, ↑23, ↑28||Young, Kac. The Healing Art of Essential Oils: A Guide to 50 Oils for Remedy, Ritual, and Everyday Use. Llewellyn Worldwide, 2017.|
|↑22||Letawe, C., M. Boone, and G. E. Pierard. “Digital image analysis of the effect of topically applied linoleic acid on acne microcomedones.” Clinical and experimental dermatology 23, no. 2 (1998): 56-58.|
|↑24||Hammer, Katherine A., C. F. Carson, and T. V. Riley. “Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts.” Journal of applied microbiology 86, no. 6 (1999): 985-990.|
|↑25||Catty, Suzanne . Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co, 2001.|
|↑26||Green Cleaning: 10 Essential Oils That Naturally Repel Insects. American College of Healthcare Sciences.|
|↑27||Zhu, Betty CR, Gregg Henderson, Feng Chen, Huixin Fei, and Roger A. Laine. “Evaluation of vetiver oil and seven insect-active essential oils against the Formosan subterranean termite.” Journal of Chemical Ecology 27, no. 8 (2001): 1617-1625.|
|↑29||Heldstab, Celeste. Llewellyn’s Complete Formulary of Magical Oils: Over 1200 Recipes, Potions & Tinctures for Everyday Use. Llewellyn Worldwide, 2012.|