What is Vetiver Essential Oil? – A Lesser Known Oil

Vetiver Essential Oil, Have You Heard of It?

HI there,

This week I decided to write about an oil called Vetiver. Since starting my blog (almost a year ago), I’ve come across a number of references and recommendations regarding this oil. Vetiver references were mostly related to emotional support. To be honest, I had never used it and really knew nothing about it. I felt it was time to do a little research.

What is Vetiver Essential Oil? - A Lesser Known OIl. header picture, youraromatherapystore.com

Last week I spent time researching Vetiver essential oil, purchased a bottle of it, used it and am now sharing what I have learned and experienced. 🙂

So, what is Vetiver essential oil?

Where does Vetiver Come From?

The botanical name for Vetiver is Chrysopogon zizanioides. It’s a perennial bunchgrass of the Poaceae family. Vetiver is native to India but has been introduced into other locations as well. It is my understanding that this plant does not grow well in very cold climates.

What is Vetiver?-A Lesser Known Oil,  This is a picture of Vetiver, green grass

Vetiver is sometimes grown as a hedge and is useful in dry land restoration to reduce soil erosion. While generating this article I found it most interesting that Vetiver is used to reduce soil erosion! It has very long roots that grow downward in the soil to depths of more than 10 feet and is very drought resistant. There are numerous reasons this plant is great for the soil…but that is another topic altogether. LOL

This grass shares some characteristics with other fragrant grasses such as lemongrass, citronella and palmarosa.

The roots of this grass are steam-distilled to produce essential oil.

What is Vetiver Good For?

During my research for this article I came across a ton of information. It was challenging to scale it down to a proper sized article. I have picked some of the most interesting tidbits that I thought you may enjoy reading about.

Alertness and Brain Function

Vetiver essential oil is known to improve alertness and brain function. If you have a task that requires you to remain alert and pay attention, this oil could help! For more information check out this study conducted in 2016.

Breathing (while sleeping)

Adding a few drops of Vetiver to a diffuser while you sleep may improve the quality of your breathing while asleep. It may even reduce snoring!


Many essential oils can be used to decrease anxiety. Vetiver appears to be one of the popular choices for use in this area. A study conducted in 2015 was very positive.


When diluted with a carrier oil and applied topically Vetiver essential oil is known to be quite effective in the prevention of tick bites that can cause Lyme disease. It is interesting to note that in a study performed in 2015, results suggest that the use of Vetiver essential oil may even be better than some commercial products that are available on the market! It is also known to be an effective treatment for lice!

ADHD/Concentration and Focus

Some people use Vetiver essential oil to help treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). More research is needed to confirm this. Studies have shown that Vetiver essential oil (and other oils) can decrease mental fatigue and improve alertness, so it makes sense that this oil may be of some benefit for individuals with ADHD as well. Vetiver helps to calm the mind and promote focus, and is an ideal oil to use when studying or concentrating on a specific task.


Vetiver is thought to protect the body’s cells and DNA from damage caused from free radicals. A study performed in 2009 showed that the oil has antioxidant properties.


Due to Vetiver’s sedative effects, it can help relax the mind allowing one to fall asleep. According to some people Vetiver is one of the top aromatherapy oils for sleep as it is known to prevent and diminish anger, anxiety, nervousness and restlessness than can keep one up at night.

Calming the Nerves

Vetiver’s ability to calm our nerves has been noted regularly. It is noted to not only help us sleep but is also useful to keep calm during the day as well. Vetiver has been traditionally used in aromatherapy for alleviating emotional stress, anxiety, panic attacks and depression.

A study conducted in 2015 focused on how this oil works neurologically. It is an interesting read and even reports that Vetiver provides effects similar to Diazepam, a pharmaceutical drug used for treating anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures and other conditions. Further investigations are needed however.


Vetiver essential oil has a soothing and cooling effect which is particularly beneficial when one suffers from arthritis, sore joints and/or muscle pain.

Many people afflicted with these conditions find great relief when they combine a few drops of Vetiver with a carrier oil and rub it into the affected area. It provides significant relief and reduces inflammation.

Bacterial Infections

Bacteria and microbes can quickly grow out of control in hot, humid climates. When an individual is wounded it is much more likely for sepsis to develop. This is why residents in these areas have used Vetiver as a traditional remedy to prevent bacterial infection and boost their immune system.

An interesting study was performed in France regarding the use of Vetiver in this area. The study notes are quite interesting to read.


The chemical components in Vetiver essential oil make it very relaxing, grounding and well suited for emotional and spiritual application. Great for meditation, prayer, and balancing the root chakra.

Historical Uses

Vetiver has been used for thousands of years. In fact, it is a holy herb that is mentioned in the sacred book of the Hindus known as the Bhagavad Gita. Very awesome!

Vetiver is used in one of the oldest healing practices in the world…Ayurveda! It uses the therapeutic properties of Vetiver in the treatment of many conditions. Among all the plant varieties, Vetiver is highly esteemed in this practice.

Ancient Chinese believed that Vetiver had very high calming powers that cool the system, energize the brain cells, stabilize emotions, and pacify hurtful thoughts…the list goes on. This oil was recommended as an aid for meditation and problems related to the mind.

The cooling property of Vetiver has been and is still used (in some very warm climates) to bring in natural freshness and coolness during hot summer seasons. Mats, roof thatches and rugs are constructed from the roots of the Vetiver plant. To cool water, roots are put in water pots. This is so interesting!

What Does Vetiver Smell Like? What Essential Oils Blend Well With It?

The aroma of Vetiver essential oil is very strong and a little goes a long way! I realized this the first time I added some to my diffuser…LOL It has an exotic, tranquil, sweet, woody, smoky fragrance, somewhat similar to Patchouli but with a twist of lemon. In India and other places it is referred to as the “oil of tranquility”. Some people have described the aroma as similar to the smell of a forest in the early morning… very earthy!

The scent is considered a base note. For more information about essential oil notes you may enjoy a recent article I have written.

Vetiver blends well with many essential oils such as: Bergamot, Geranium, Cedarwood, Ginger, Lavender, Jasmine, Lemongrass, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage, Angelica, Lemon, Patchouli, Orange, Sandalwood and Rose.


Vetiver essential oil has a very thick viscosity. Some people suggest blending it with other oils before adding it to your diffuser to avoid clogging the unit. I did not know this before I used it, and so far my diffuser appears to be fine. I will definitely be aware of this, as it is said that this particular oil continues to thicken as it ages. It is also said that the aroma improves with age as well! Very cool!

Did you know Vetiver is a significant component in several popular fragrances on the market? Some notable products are Vetiver by Guerlain, Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, Miss Dior by Dior, Opium by Yves Saint Laurent and Ysatis by Givenchy.

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How to Use Vetiver

There are a variety of ways to utilize Vetiver essential oil. Using an aromatherapy diffuser to inhale the scent is one way to do it. You may like to blend Vetiver with another oil. The day I received my new bottle of Vetiver I decided to diffuse it alone. Honestly, I did not care for the scent, it was very strong! I probably used too much. I have been blending it with Lavender lately and it is quite nice. Since the scent is strong, I would recommend only using a drop or two to start.

Vetiver may also be used topically. Never apply any essential oil to your skin without diluting it with a carrier oil first. My favorite carrier oil is Jojoba but there are numerous options to use. To start using Vetiver topically it is best to begin with a small amount and increase as needed. For example, you can mix one or two drops of Vetiver to 10 drops of carrier oil. Gradually increase the oil drops as needed or desired. Use this mixture as a massage oil too!

Some people like to add Vetiver to their bath water, especially after a long hard work day. Or add to a tepid bath to cool down in the hot weather. I would recommend diluting the oil in a carrier oil before adding to the bath water.

Safety of Vetiver

In addition to the safety precautions that I list below this article I wanted to stress that Vetiver is NOT considered safe to use if you are pregnant as it has been known to cause miscarriages. It is also best to avoid using this oil if you are breast feeding.


Vetiver oil is a lesser-known essential oil, but it has some very powerful properties. More research is needed to fully understand how this oil affects the brain and the rest of the body. This is the case with most essential oils at this time. It is my opinion however, that we can conclude that Vetiver and other oils are worthy and effective due to the long-standing history of their use in traditional medicines. It will be awesome when science confirms what many of us already know though!

So, what is Vetiver Essential Oil? I hope this article has provided some interesting answers. I have learned a great deal about this amazing essential oil. My own experience over the past week confirms that this oil is very relaxing and calming. Vetiver is a lovely addition to my collection of essential oils.

I am having fun experimenting with different blends that include Vetiver. My next plan is to create some awesome skin lotion and massage oils!

Have you used the Vetiver? I would love to hear about your experience! If you have any questions or comments relating to this article please use the boxes provided below.

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I hope everyone has a great week. Take good care and stay happy and healthy!

Angela (Founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)

Essential oils are very potent. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication speak to your doctor before using essential oils. Some oils are not recommended for children. Some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing. Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness contact a medical professional. This information is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.







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2 Replies to “What is Vetiver Essential Oil? – A Lesser Known Oil”

  1. I found this article very interesting since i have some oils at home already. I have never heard of this one. I may do some more research and see if it safe to use with dogs as a deterrent for ticks. Ive been trying to figure out something natural for that purpose. If not, this oil has so many benefits its worth having around.

    1. Hi Holly,
      Thanks for taking the time to stop by. I’m glad you found this article interesting. You had great question about whether Vetiver can be used on your dog to repel ticks. For information regarding essential oils and pets, the book Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell might have some recommendations for you. Maybe you have heard of it.
      I hope you have a great day. Take care!

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