7 Benefits Of Vetiver Essential Oil, How To Use It, & Risks

From managing sleeping disorders to healing wounds, this oil is capable of a lot.

Reviewed by Dr. Scott Johnson, CCMA, CEEOS, AMP
By Swathi Handoo, MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health

The list of benefits of vetiver essential oil (khus oil) is quite long to go through! This oil is extracted from a grass called Vetiveria zizanioides, which is native to India.

This essential oil goes a long way in improving sexual performance and treating sleeplessness, ADHD, various skin conditions, wounds, rashes, and insect bites.

In this article, we discuss these benefits further and potential side effects you need to be wary of. Scroll down!

What Is Vetiver Essential Oil?

Vetiver oil or khus oil is extracted from a perennial grass called Vetiveria zizanioides that is native to parts of the Indian subcontinent.

This oil has a characteristic earthy, sweet, woody, citrusy, and refreshing fragrance that is similar to patchouli oil with a dash of tangerine.

The plant, its roots, and the oil are extensively mentioned in traditional and folk medicine across various civilizations.

What Is Vetiver Essential Oil Made Of?

Vetiver oil contains complex molecules called sesquiterpenes that are responsible for its fragrance and medicinal value.

Most abundant of them are – khusimone, vetivenene, alpha-vetivone, khusimol, beta-vetivone, vetiselinenol, isovalencenol, cyclocopacamphanol, and delta-selinene.

These terpene derivatives have potent antioxidative, neuroprotective, anti-aging, antimelanogenic, sedative, anthelmintic, diuretic, and cooling effects on your body.

Let me list down some valuable and unique uses of this versatile oil that might interest you.

Benefits Of Vetiver Essential Oil

1. Manages Sleep Apnea And Insomnia

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Not having a good night’s sleep affects multiple aspects of your health and daily life.

Sleep disorders like apnea and insomnia occur when there is malfunctioning in your CNS (Central Nervous System), PNS (Peripheral Nervous System), or respiratory system.

Such problems can be addressed by using vetiver oil, which modifies your respiratory patterns during sleep. It also activates the olfactory centers in your brain to improve sleep quality, reduce snoring, and treat headaches (1).

2. Treats ADHD

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Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders among young children today.

A study done by Dr. Terry Friedmann opened new possibilities of using aromatherapy for treating ADHD children.

Using vetiver oil improved cognition in such children by stimulating the action centers in their brains (2).

3. A Potent Insecticide

Termites scare all of us – they are cancer to our wooden assets and books!

Vetiver oil is your furniture’s savior. Apply it generously on the affected areas of the furniture or leave an opened vetiver oil bottle in your bookshelf and see the magic unfold.

It is one of the most potent oils available against termites. It is long-lasting and environment-friendly too (3)!

4. The Ultimate Skin Care Solution

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Vetiver essential oil has the solution for almost all your skin problems – be it pimples, acne, scars, uneven skin tone, wrinkles, or even microbial infection.

The oil can regulate the level of melanin in your skin cells due to its antioxidative activity. Therefore, it can prevent pigmentation and heal scars when added to food, drugs, and cosmetics (4).

This oil is extensively used in the perfume industry. It also works as an antimicrobial agent against Bacillus, Candida, Staphylococcus, and various microbial strains (5).

Using vetiver oil in perfumes and cosmetics would mean having medicinal value coupled with its soothing fragrance – both in one go.

What a bet, I say!

5. Heals Wounds, Rashes, And Insect Bites

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Remember those mystery rashes you developed on your calf muscles or forearms when you went on a hike or trek? Or the ones you got when you played with stray dogs, cattle, and other furry animals?

Did you observe that sometimes they turned into angry wounds and gave you a fever? And can anybody forget the infamous mosquito bites?

Such dangerous wounds and rashes are usually caused due to tick bites or insect bites. A few common diseases that can arise out of these encounters are Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, etc.

Applying vetiver oil can help repel the ticks that cause these rashes, which might otherwise lead to fever, organ failure, sepsis, or (in worst cases) death (6).

6. Increases Libido

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Ayurveda and folk medicine across the world have used vetiver root oil in combination with other essential oils as an aphrodisiac to improve sex drive.

The reason behind this could be the soothing effect vetiver oil fragrance has on your senses.

It reduces cortisol-induced stress levels in your body and stimulates the brain to secrete testosterone, estrogen, and other associated hormones that provoke sexual desire.

7. Manages Anxiety, Depression, And Stress

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For the longest time, vetiver oil has been used as a top-tier ingredient in aromatherapy and naturopathy.

Its active ingredients like khusimone, vetivenene, vetiselinenol, khusimol, alpha- and beta-vetivone are responsible for its characteristic smell and activity (7).

These compounds have potent antioxidative, chelating, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective effects and hence can cure anxiety, depression, memory loss (dementia), and oxidative stresses (8).

Walking into a room smelling of mild khus oil vapors can be incredibly therapeutic. Don’t you agree? Just thinking about this made me get a large bottle of this oil.

If you don’t believe me, read on for some fun facts about vetiver roots and the oil. You’d definitely run to the market to get a bottle of it!

Fun Facts For You

  • Vetiver roots infusion (a summer drink) is used as a body coolant and to treat diarrhea, fever, and indigestion.
  • Dried roots are woven into screens, curtains, under-beds, hut thatches, and hats to provide a cooling effect in summers.
  • The essential oil is used to treat rheumatism, snake bites, scorpion bites, sprains, menstrual cramps, hysteria, and mood swings in ancient and folk medicine.
  • The plant has thick, adventitious roots that can help bind soil, increase groundwater levels, guard the embankments, prevent mudslides, and rockfalls.

Wasn’t I right in terming vetiver oil as versatile? Wouldn’t you want to know all the ways to use it in your body care routine? Here’s how you can do it.

Back To TOC

How To Make Vetiver Essential Oil Mixtures

The process of extracting vetiver oil from its roots is tedious, laborious, and costly. Many brands often mix lesser grade oils with vetiver extracts.

So, make sure you buy the oil from a trusted source and stick to it for all your recipes.

Here, I am sharing some recipes for making essential oil mixtures with vetiver oil that you can use readily.

1. All-In-One Massage Oil

What You Need
  • Lavender oil
  • Vetiver essential oil
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • Ylang-ylang oil
Let’s Make It!
  1. Add four drops each of lavender, vetiver, and ylang-ylang essential oils to half a cup of grapeseed oil.
  2. Combine the oils well and store in an airtight container.
  3. Use it to massage your temples, neck, shoulders, or even the entire body to ease tension and stress.
  4. Enjoy the uplifting and cozy feeling it creates!

2. Injury Healing Oil

What You Need
  • Vetiver oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Bergamot oil
  • 1 oz. carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive, castor, argan, jojoba, or grapeseed oil)
Let’s Make It!
  1. Add four drops of vetiver oil, three drops of lavender oil, and two drops of bergamot oil (please be mindful that bergamot is photosensitizing and you should not expose your skin to the sun for 12 hours after applying) to 1 oz. of a carrier oil of your choice.
  2. Blend the oils well.
  3. Massage into the affected areas for quicker healing.

3. Healthy Hair Mask

What You Need
  • Vetiver essential oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Orange oil
  • 1 oz. carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive, castor, argan, jojoba, or grapeseed oil)
Let’s Make It!
  1. Heat up 1 oz. of carrier oil of your choice in the microwave for a few seconds.
  2. To it, add two drops each of vetiver, orange, lavender and rosemary oils.
  3. Blend these oils well and massage it into your hair from the ends to the roots (scalp) gradually.
  4. Wrap your hair in a plastic wrap and then in a towel.
  5. Wait for one hour or overnight before washing off with a shampoo and conditioner.
  6. Say goodbye to itching, irritation, inflammation, and dandruff!

You’ll notice a significant change in your mental and physical well-being on using these vetiver oil blends routinely.

Routine use would mean prolonged exposure, and that could be risky. Or not? Read on to find out.

What Are The Risks Or Cautions For Using Vetiver Oil?

Vetiver is considered to be a non-irritating, non-toxic, and non-sensitizing oil.

However, it has a caution associated with its usage among pregnant women and children.

  • Pregnant and nursing women taking prescribed drugs should not use this oil without medical consent.
  • If you are taking medications, consult a physician or pharmacist first.

Also, bear these points in mind before you buy vetiver oil:

  • Always do a skin patch test before applying vetiver oil on your body.
  • Do not use it on the eyes, inner nose, ears, and other sensitive areas of your skin.
  • It is best not to use this oil if you have cancer, heart disease, or liver damage. You can consult your physician if you want to use this oil.

Infographic: Interesting Facts About Vetiver Essential Oil

Vetiver essential oil is a popular additive in perfumery and cosmetics and is prized for its unique aroma. Its wonderful scent can help address many problems and soothe your senses.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about vetiver essential oil, how it is made, its global popularity, and the science behind its delightful fragrance. Scroll down.

vetiver essential oil [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The benefits of vetiver essential oil are numerous. It can effectively manage insomnia and sleep apnea. It helps in treating ADHD. Vetiver essential oil also improves skin health and combats pimples, acne, scars, and wrinkles. This essential oil promotes libido and effectively relieves anxiety, depression, and stress. You can use this oil can as a massage oil, healing oil, and in hair masks. However, it may cause skin irritation in certain sensitive individuals. Hence, a patch test is recommended before using it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does vetiver essential oil last?

Most essential oils have a shelf-life of 1-2 years. Some oils like vetiver, patchouli, and sandalwood get better with age.
If stored properly and away from sunlight, vetiver oil stays potent and lasts for about 2-3 years.

What mixes well with vetiver essential oil?

Vetiver oil blends well with bergamot oil, cedarwood essential oil, geranium oil, ginger essential oil, jasmine oil, lavender essential oil, lemon oil, lemongrass essential oil, orange oil, patchouli essential oil, rose oil and sandalwood essential oil.

Is it safe to use vetiver essential oil when taking medication for Parkinson’s disease?

Since vetiver oil has neuroprotective effects, it can enhance the impact of Parkinson’s treatment.
In fact, essential oils are used as alternative medicine to cure neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.

References:

1. “The Influence Of Odorants On…” Chemical Senses, US National Library Of Medicine
2. “Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder” Terry.S.Friedmann
3. “Evaluation of vetiver oil and…” Journal of Chemical Ecology. US National Library of Medicine
4. “Effect of Vetiveria zizanioides Essential..:” The Scientific World Journal, US National Library of Medicine
5. “Vetiver Essential Oil in Cosmetics…” Medicines, US National Library of Medicine
6. “Evaluation of DEET and eight essential oils…” United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service
7. “Constituents of South Indian…” Natural Product Communications, US National Library of Medicine
8. “Evaluation of Antioxidant Activity of…” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

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author
Swathi holds a master’s degree in biotechnology and has worked in places where actual science and research happen. She has... more

Dr. Scott Johnson

(AMP, CCMA, CEEOS, CPC)
Dr. Scott A. Johnson is a Board Certified Alternative Medical Practitioner, Certified Elite Essential Oil Specialist, and Certified Clinical Master... more

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