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Vetiveria zizanioides


Vetiveria zizanioides

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Vetiver, vertivert, khus khus

Original Habitat

V. zizanoides essential oil originated from India but now is cultivated throughout the world and used in perfumery. This grass is cultivated for its essential oil which is found in the root of the plant.[1]

Plant Part Used



The essential oil of V. zizanoides is found in many products in the fragrance industry in soaps, lotions and perfumes due to its deep, woody scent and stabilizing activity. Certain compounds of Vetiver are strong bio-pesticides which make it appealing for commercial use because it is environmentally friendly.[2] In aromatherapy, it is used as a single oil and in complex formulations.


V. zizanoides.essential oil is very thick and dark golden brown in colour and is steam distilled from the roots of the grass. It has a very dark, woody aroma and provides a strong base note.

Chemical Constituents

Sesqiterpenes (3-4 %)
Sesquiterpenols (18-25%)
Sesquiterpenones (7-8%)

Beta-vetivenene, Beta-vetivone, Alpha-vetivone [2][3]

Note: This monograph reports on this essential oil in regard to its potential use in the French school of aromatherapy, as well as reporting any additional science that has been published. The ratings range from +, indicating a lower therapeutic value, to ++++ indicating a higher therapeutic value.

Medicinal Uses

Cardiotonic ++
Insecticidal ++
Relaxant ++

Antioxidant: The essential oil of vetiver showed antioxidant activity as strongly as butylated hydroxytoluene and alpha-tocopherol.[3]

Sedative: Inhalation of vetiver essential oil decreased the rearing motion in rats, demonstrating a sedative effect.[4]

Traditional Use

Insect repellant including lice ++
Tonic for nervous disorders ++

 Insecticide: Nootkatone, derived from vetiver essential oil, has been shown to be a strong insecticide and repellant against Coptotermes formosanus, commonly known as termites.[5][6]

Herbicide: A preliminary study found that vetiver essential oil may be a potential herbicide. This laboratory study examined the herbicidal activity of V. zizanoides and six different types of invasive weeds. Nootkatone was effective in inhibiting germination of these weeds.[7]

Contraindications and Precautions

This essential oil is considered safe and non-toxic.

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]

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  1) Botanical Info


1.     Del Giudice L. The microbial community of Vetiver root and its involvement into essential oil biogenesis. Environ Microbiol. Oct 2008;10(10):2824-2841.

2.     Chauhan K. Modified vetiver oil: economic biopesticide. Natural Products for Pest Management. ACS Symposium series. 927;210-219.

3.     Kim HJ. Evaluation of antioxidant activity of vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides L.) oil and identification of its antioxidant constituents. J Agric Food Chem. 5 Oct 2005;53(20):7691-7695.

4.     Thubthimthed S. Vetiver Oil and Its Sedative Effect. Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research. ICV3-Proceedings.

5.     Zhu BC. Nootkatone is a repellent for Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus). J Chem Ecol. Mar 2001;27(3):523-531.

6.     Maistrello L. Comparative effects of vetiver oil, nootkatone and disodium octaborate tetrahydrate on Coptotermes formosanus and its symbiotic fauna. Pest Manag Sci. Jan 2003;59(1):58-68.

7.     Linxin M. Germination of various weed species in response to vetiver oil and nootkatone. Weed Technol. 2004;18(2):263-267.

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