Travel down in the cool, moist, sweet smelling soil. Look deep down into yourself to tune into what you most desire. The smokey, sweet, and earthy vetiver will take you there. Vetiver passes the strength and nourishment of Mother Earth on to us. Vetiver is Calm, cool, and slow. Vetiver mimics the earth, encouraging us to tap into our ancient heritage, slow down, and heal. Vetiver dives deep.

Chrysopogon zizanioides

Vetiver is a humble perennial grass. This member of the Gramineae family is kin to the likes of lemongrass, palmarosa, and citronella. Vetiver grows in clumps and can reach up to six feet in height. What makes vetiver unique from other grasses is the root system. Instead of fanning out laterally, vetiver's roots grow down, deep down. These reddish brown rootlets journey 7 to 13 feet deep into the earth. That’s deeper than some tree roots. Get it little grass! This root system makes vetiver a dead useful plant. 

Vetiver is intentionally planted around river beds and other areas to control soil erosion. These spongy and strong roots help keep the earth from washing away. Vetiver is also a tool used in fire burning. It is planted around areas that are prone to wildfires. California is one of Vetiver's current clients, so to speak. Hedges of vetiver are planted around areas that are prone to fire. The dense grass is hard for fires to burn through, so they often end there. Plus, the deep root system usually keeps the soil around the plants quite moist. Not only that the grass lives on and its root system then prevents mudslides from occurring in the area.  When planted around streams and river beds this also prevents pollutants from infiltrating these water sources. 

Bugs also hate vetiver, just as they hate its cousins citronella, and lemongrass. Plant it around your gardens to help keep harmful insects, and even weeds at bay. Not only that it will help irrigate your garden. If your garden is on a slope, vetiver will slow surface water run off, keeping the water there for your plants, not flowing down the hill. 

Vetiver has been used for centuries in India to make shades for the windows. This not only keeps the house cool and in shade, it fragrances the entire home AND keeps the bugs out. Bugs hate the sweet, earthy scent of vetiver. The roots have also been used as an antibacterial agent in water supplies and jugs.

Fun Facts

Grass used to be used to construct window shades and houses. These mats cooled houses and provided a pleasant fragrance that kept the bugs out. 

Vetiver is woven not only into window shades, but also ropes, fans, and mats. 

In the United States the cultivar is named 'Sunshine,' after the town of Sunshine, Louisiana.

In the "Bhagavad Gita", the oldest sacred book of Hindus, Krishna describes Vetivert as "I am the fragrance of the soil". 

In India, vetiver is used as a holy offering to Hindu gods and goddesses.

In folklore, Vetiver oil is used to increase financial abundance and inhaling the oil is said to protect the body from menacing energies, including physical illness.

Vetiver is a useful grass, for a multitude of reasons. When planted strategically it can be one of your biggest allies around the home. Uses for vetiver go much, much further than that. 

The essential oil from vetiver, often called vetivert, is steam distilled from the red, yellow roots of the plant. Vetivert is also a wonder for us, mind and body.


How to Grow

Vetiver is a tropical plant, native to India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia. Currently, much of the world's supply is produced in Haiti and Java. True to most tropical natives, vetiver likes it hot and humid. Full sun and plenty of water is what makes this grass cozy. Even so, vetiver is remarkably resilient. The crown grows underground, protecting the plant from things such as frost and, again, wildfires. In the wild vetiver is often found growing on river banks. It likes water so much it will even grow underwater for two months at a time. 

Most vetiver that is cultivated is sterile, being propagated solely from cuttings and divisions. This sterility prevents vetiver from becoming invasive when it is used for soil and fire control. When you first plant these little divisions they are very thirsty. To get the plant to shoot up even faster give them a bit of a trim. Once established, vetiver is very drought resistant due to its deep root system. 

Properties of Vetiver Essential Oil:

Properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, anti-infectious, antiparasitic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, calmative, cardiotonic, carminative, detoxifier, diaphoretic, diuretic, digestive stimulant, emetic,  emmenagogue, hepatic stimulant, immune tonic, insecticidal, nervine, pancreatic stimulant, phlebotonic, rubefacient, sedative, stomachic, tonic

Vetiver Card

Integumentary System:

Vetiver does wonders for the skin. Its astringent nature makes it a good choice for acne prone skin. It is also a good choice to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, scars, age spots, and wrinkles. Its anti-inflammatory properties provide soothing to irritated skin and ease the symptoms of eczema. Vetiver also nourishes dry skin, and its analgesic nature makes it a good choice to ease the pains of sunburn. 

Digestive System

Vetiver is also a wonderful ally for the digestive system. Not only does it stimulate the appetite,it stimulates digestion. So you want to eat more, but you also assimilate it more thoroughly and efficiently. This makes sure you get everything you can from the food you eat. It also means that vetiver will aid with weight loss.

Musculoskeletal System

Vetiver makes a wonderful muscle rub or bath treatment. After a day in the garden, or gym, vetivers anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and cooling properties ease overworked and sore muscles and connective tissues. Vetiver is also good at calming inflamed joints down.

Endocrine System

Vetiver is a hormone balancer and adaptogen. In this capacity vetiver will balance out the system, even in times of physical or mental stress. This wil help wase the symptoms of both menopause and PMS. 


Vetiver's cooling nature not only benefits the body, its powers expand to the mind as well. Vetiver is in the top three oils for relaxation. It cools and soothes an overactive mind, easing stress, insomnia, and anxiety. It will cool off both anger and irritability. The effects of vetiver on the mind mirror the plant itself. Vetiver dives deep into the earth, and brings its nourishment up to the surface. Vetiver will ground you and restore you. It will center you and help you focus. 

Vetiver is your best ally when you are going through difficult times. It will guide you through the storm and help you recover from both mental and physical exhaustion. Vetiver slows you down and helps you center in on your truth. Vetiver fosters a strong sense of self and belonging. Vetiver encourages growth, and self esteem. 

Energetic properties

Vetiver is a cleaning plant. It is a good substitute to use in place of white sage, which is an endangered plant.  Vetiver is also used for protection. If you are feeling you need a little luck, especially when it comes to finances, get to know vetiver.


May cause skin irritation. Do not use while pregnant. 

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Vetiver is a god sent. This simple grass gives us so much benefit. Not only is it useful as a plant, easing erosion, helping us control wildfires, keeping our gardens fit. Vetiver is just as capable at healing us as it is the earth. Vetiver is what we need to escape the rat race and see through the need for perfection. Vetiver slows us down, giving us the space to restore and heal. Take advantage of the help vetiver offers. Dive deep, discover what nourishes you and let vetiver help bring it to the surface. Sooth your mind and body with its sweet, earthy, seductive scent. Vetiver has been our ally for thousands of years and that relationship isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.