5 Proven Health Benefits of Vetiver Oil
Do you have vetiver oil in your essential oil cabinet yet? If you’ve already begun to use and enjoy fresh, herbaceous oils like lemongrass, vetiver simply must be next on your list.
Vetiver Oil’s Complex Composition
Vetiver is a grass, not dissimilar to lemongrass and citronella. The root base – which is what is distilled for essential oil – is thick and matted. While growing, it can preserve soil structure, and harvested the root base is often traditionally used as a fragrant floor mat, among other varied uses. (1)
Vetiver essential oil’s fresh, herbaceous scent and some of its applications reinforce its similarities to citronella and the like, though vetiver has many other properties that set it apart.
In fact, vetiver is one of the more complex essential oils. As one analysis described, Vetiver essential oils (VEO) are important raw ingredients used in perfume industry, entering the formula of numerous modern fragrances. Vetiver oils are considered to be among the most complex essential oils, resulting most of the time in highly co-eluted chromatograms whatever the analytical technique. (2)
Vetiver’s complexity results in a wide variety of uses, while still retaining an enjoyable fragrance that most of the perfume industry utilizes.
5 Benefits of Vetiver
With such a varied chemical composition, vetiver is poised to affect us in a range of ways. Inhaled and diffused applications are ideal (more on that later), as well as diluted into topical blends. Here are some of the more impressive ways to use vetiver.
1. Hyperactivity and Focus Management
Like it or not, cases of hyperactivity and trouble focusing are more prominent than ever, and our kids need ways to cope and manage their symptoms in order to become productive adults. Essential oils are portable, easy to use, and can be effective for relieving symptoms of hyperactivity and helping kids (or adults!) to focus.
While we often think of lavender as a calming oil, one study weighed the effects of lavender, cedarwood, and vetiver oils on children with hyperactivity and difficulty focusing. The study was small but the results were clear: vetiver was the strongest choice. (3)
This simply study only asked parents to help their children smell the oil right from the bottle a few times each day. Off the record because it wasn’t part of the design, parents reported better attention and behavior from their children during the study period.
2. Anxiousness Control
The direct effects of aromatherapy inhalation on the limbic system (responsible for reason and choices, among other things) make it a perfectly suited remedy and tool for conditions like hyperactivity, trouble focusing, and anxious, which can be a trigger for wandering minds and like concerns.
A 2015 in vitro studied the effects of vetiver oil on anxiousness. Again, these preliminary results show vetiver to be quite effective. (4)
We’re always excited to see more research confirming actions like this, but when all you have to do is inhale the aroma to test it for yourself, what have we got to lose?
3. Lyme Prevention
Lyme disease is a painful and difficult to treat disease that spreads like wildfire in “tick season,” especially in the south. It’s hard to step outside without risking a tick bite. Some ticks carry Lyme disease from person to person, so their control is the first step in Lyme prevention and control.
To further complicate the problem, ticks have seemed to become resistant to much of our control measures.
Vetiver essential oil remains one of the substances that can still affect ticks. (5) Topical treatments as bug repellants are helpful, as well as sprays and treatments directly on surfaces where ticks may roam.
4. Bug Repellant
Ground and surface treatments with vetiver essential oil are not only warranted for ticks, but potentially for termites, as well. In a study of seven essential oils and their effects on termites, vetiver “decreased termite tunneling activity at concentrations as low as 5 micrograms/g sand.” (6)
Clove oil was also highly effective at both reducing tunneling and directly killing the termites.
Together with tick prevention and elimination, vetiver shows off its similarities to citronella and lemongrass in bug repelling effects. Treating vulnerable surfaces with a blended spray can be a quick, easy, non-toxic form of prevention.
5. Support Body During Chemotherapy
Some early testing is exploring the potential that the antioxidant levels in vetiver have to mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy. This difficult route of cancer treatment is sometimes necessary but always inflicts secondary damage. Researchers seem to be on the prowl for natural ways to combat this very unnatural treatment.
In this particular study, vetiver was administered orally to mice who were also given a chemotherapy injection. Damage to DNA, kidneys, and marrow were slowed compared to those without the oil. (7)
Because we know vetiver to be problematic taken internally in vivo, this study so far can only point us to potential effects that the oil has. What we know of its anxious relief can only help in a situation that requires chemotherapy, as well.
Inhalation and topical use of this strong antioxidant can be added to any essential oil cancer protocol.
A Quick Word of Caution
When we start to learn about all of the wide range of uses that essential oils offer, it’s easy to want to try each of them in every way possible. Thankfully, this is neither necessary nor terribly advisable. There’s no need to try to make an essential oil do more than it is known to do.
Vetiver is one that we know to be used effectively and extensively via topical and inhaled preparations. This works out beautifully, because its internal use has been questioned for toxicity. Ultimately, the verdict was that low internal doses are fine. (8) But when it comes down to it, the risk is hardly worth the benefit with other applications work just fine – even better.
Vetiver oil is recommended in topical blends and dilutions, aromasticks and personal inhalers, diffusion, and surface treatment blends for bug control.