Vetiver oil, also known as khus oil, is a lesser-known plant oil that offers a heavy, earthy fragrance, which is reminiscent of patchouli but with a touch of lemon. It is believed to be very grounding, calming and stabilizing, and provides a range of essential oil uses and benefits. Learn more about this herbal oil.
What Is Vetiver Oil?
Chrysopogon zizanioides, commonly known as vetiver, is a perennial grass that belongs to the Poaceae family, which is native to India.1 Western and Northern India know this plant as khus.
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides), derived from a Tamil word that means "hatcheted up," can grow up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). It has tall stems and long, thin and rigid leaves. Its flowers are brownish-purple. Vetiver hails from India but is widely cultivated in the world's tropical regions.
Vetiver essential oil is derived through the steam distillation of the plant's roots. It has a strong initial aroma and is described as woody, smokey, earthy, herbaceous and spicy.2 While not widely known, it dates back centuries and, in the 12th century, even became a taxable item in India.3
Perhaps the most valued quality of vetiver oil is that it is deeply grounding,4 and often used for promoting sleep. It is said to also be equally helpful for restlessness.
Uses of Vetiver Oil
Almost the whole vetiver plant is used for various applications. The roots have been particularly used since ancient times.
Vetiver essential oil is extensively utilized in perfumery, including the creation of perfumes for the body, room fresheners and coolers, as well as soaps, cosmetics, and oils. It is also a flavoring agent in beverages, sorbets and other foodstuffs.5 Its aromatic effect on the mind is grounding, calming and balancing, while its other notable actions are antiseptic, antispasmodic, immune-stimulating, warming and sedative to the nervous system, and stimulating to the circulatory system, to name a few.6
Vetiver oil's calming and soothing properties are said to dispel anger, hysteria and irritability, and reduce neurotic behavior.7 This in turn reduces stress and tension. These revitalizing qualities make it helpful with physical and mental exhaustion, and for addressing issues ranging from general aches and pains to insomnia and anxious feelings.