Not a picturesque plant with its grasslike leaves, vetiver’s (or vetivert) thin, aromatic roots are its treasure. They are distilled in Java, R‚union, Haiti, Brazil and India. Door and window screens (called tatties) and fans are woven in East India from the spindly roots. The British occupation of India made vetiver waters and colognes popular in 19th-century England and North America. The perfume Mousseline des Indes took its name from Indian muslin that was scented with vetiver to protect it from insects. Two other Victorian perfumes, Mar‚chale and Bouquet de Roi, were also based on vetiver. Modern perfumes use it as a fixative.

Family: Gramineae

Extraction: Distilled from the root. It has an earthy, heavy scent. An inferior oil is made from used vetiver screens.

Medicinal Action: Vetiver eases muscular pain, sprains and liver congestion, and is a circulatory stimulant.

Cosmetic/Skin Use: Vetiver treats acne, wounds and dry skin.

Emotional Attribute: The scent is uplifting, relaxing, and comforting, releasing deep fears and tensions. It cools the body and mind of excessive heat.

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Written by Kathi Keville

Explore Wellness in 2021