Herb Spotlight: Vetiver Root

Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) is a perennial bunchgrass originally native to India with many beneficial properties for Ayurvedic health and body care. Vetiver derives its name from the ancient South Indian Tamil language, where it means “dug-up root”. Also known as Khus Grass (and uśīra in Sanskrit), it is the fragrant roots of Vetiver (growing up to ten feet deep in the soil!) which distinguish the plant and contain all its healing potential.

Though native to India, Vetiver is now widely grown around the world in tropical zones and is especially cultivated for producing aromatic Vetiver oil. Having a fresh, warm & earthy fragrance, Vetiver oil is a key ingredient in many famous perfumes and colognes. Vetiver is a close relative to other fragrant grasses like Lemongrass, Citronella, and Palmarosa.

But Vetiver root is also an amazing healing herb with an ancient history in Ayurvedic medicine, being cited in many ancient texts of Ayurveda, like the bhāva prakāśa nighaṇṭu:

uśīraṃ pācanaṃ śītaṃ stambhanaṃ laghu tiktakam |
madhuraṃ jvarahṛdvāntimadanutkaphapittahṛt |
tṛṣṇāsraviṣavīsarpadāhakṛcchravraṇāpaham ||74||

Vetiver aids in digestion, is cooling, treats diarrhea, stems bleeding, and has a light and bitter taste.
It is also sweet, relieves fever and intoxication and vomiting, and reduces excess kapha and pitta doshas.
Vetiver relieves thirst, cleanses the blood, treats poisons & toxins, helps with skin conditions, relieves burning sensations, and promotes the healing of wounds.

From the bhāva prakāśa nighaṇṭu

Ayurvedic Properties of Vetiver

  • Soothing – Vetiver is a premier cooling herb in Ayurvedic medicine and soothes everything from fever and inflammation to burning sensations and upset stomachs, and even nervous disorders like excess stress, tension or anger. It is extremely helpful in conditions of excess pitta. A cool drink of Vetiver water (water infused with Vetiver root) is a great remedy for excess pitta due to summertime heat, and helpful in conditions of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
  • Promotes digestion – A drink of Vetiver water is also a traditional digestive remedy, helping to treat conditions of indigestion, acidity, heartburn, nausea and diarrhea. Vetiver water aids in the clearing of ama, or metabolic toxins and wastes which accumulate in the body due to poor digestion.
  • Promotes healing of wounds – Due to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and blood cleansing properties, Vetiver is traditionally applied to wounds (especially burns!) in paste form to stem bleeding, protect from infection, promote wound healing, and prevent scarring. It is also recommended in Ayurveda for the treatment of bites and stings from animals and insects.
  • Protects the skin – Vetiver has strong anti-oxidant properties. This, along with its cleansing, soothing, healing and anti-inflammatory properties makes Vetiver a premier Ayurvedic herb for skin and beauty care. It belongs to the varṇya class of Ayurvedic herbs, which includes all herbs which help to improve skin complexion. While traditional preparations involve application of Vetiver in paste form, modern usage increasingly tends to use Vetiver essential oil as a key ingredient in a variety of skin care and beauty care formulas. Ayurvedic skin and beauty care products containing Vetiver are traditionally suggested in cases of heat rash, boils, sun damage, sunburn, dermatitis, itching and acne, as well as for evening the complexion (hyperpigmentation) and smoothing wrinkles.

Auromère Products Containing Vetiver

Vetiver features in a number of Auromère’s Ayurvedic skin and beauty care products. It is a major ingredient in Auromère’s unique Wrinkle Serum, where it largely contributes to the formula’s rejuvenative, anti-aging effect on the skin and helps it to improve the skin’s complexion, smoothing dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles.

Vetiver also features in Auromère’s Himalayan Rose and Vanilla-Neem soaps, where it contributes all its beneficial properties for skin care on a daily basis to the whole body. These soaps are especially recommended for people with pitta or vāta body types, as well as those with delicate, aging or sensitive skin.

And lastly, Vetiver (Khus grass) is a key ingredient in Auromère Ayurvedic Hand & Body Lotion, helping to impart a soothing, rejuvenative quality to the formula.

Thank you for reading, and all best wishes for your health and well-being from Auromère!