A Root That Grounds
Plant name: Vetiver
Latin name: Vetiveria zizanioides
Parts used: Roots
Sourced from: Haiti
Take one look at the roots of the vetiver plant and you’ll find a tangled, grotesque maze of fine strands. (It looks a lot like hair that’s just been pulled from a comb.) And yet, even though visually it reads as sheer chaos, vetiver’s wild root system delivers a symphony of balance—grounding, calm, stillness—for skin, body, and mind.
THE TAURUS OF SKINCARE
If the Taurus is all about grounding and steadiness, then vetiver is their mascot. This steadfast plant is known as one of the most calming and centering essential oils in aromatherapy. It is a dependable and reliable cure-all for all skin types and can smooth wrinkles, fade stretch marks, balance dry skin, and repair wounds. And because it has anti-inflammatory properties, it can be helpful for treating acne. It is a star ingredient in our balancing Juniper Carrot Seed Face Oil and our healing Repair Balm for all of the reasons we just mentioned, but there are still more reasons to love this plant.
VETIVER FOR MIND & BODY
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, vetiver is classified as having a “cool” and “moist” energy and so it is used to reduce fever, inflammation and other “hot” ailments. Ayurvedic medicine cites vetiver’s use as cooling pitta (metabolism, digestion, hormones) and grounding vata (energy, movement, nerve impulses, circulation).
Vetiver is a circulatory stimulant, so it can remedy muscular aches and discomfort arising from varicose veins. Benefits to the reproductive and endocrine system have also been noted by herbalists, such as for PMS, postpartum care, and menopause.
In aromatherapy, vetiver’s centering nature really shines. It is an olfactory whisper that quells anxiety and quiets the spiraling mind. For this reason, we recommend dabbing Repair Balm under your nose before you sleep, to help you find stillness and grounding energy before surrendering to your dreams.
WHAT VETIVER SMELLS LIKE
Vetiver is often used as a base note in perfumes and is usually the predominant scent in any formulation containing its essential oil. It can also be used to stabilize scent in a perfume. While the scent varies depending on the sourcing origin and the quality of the extraction, you can typically expect an earthy, woodsy, balsamic or caramel-like sweetness with a hint of smoke. Vetiver bears some similarities to sandalwood, but it has a more distinctive and resinous scent, which means you can use less of it. It is also a more sustainable plant to harvest.
VETIVER FOR SOIL EROSION
Because of vetiver's impressive root system—it grows straight down into the soil up to a depth of 20 feet!—this grass is used to prevent soil erosion in various topographies around the world, wherever the climate can support its growth. It’s a low-maintenance and natural solution to erosion that, once established, can prevent erosion with no additional work or maintenance for years. You can read more about this cool project at Vetiver Solutions.
VETIVER’S NATIVE HABITAT
Originally from India, vetiver was brought to North America and Europe by British colonizers. The vetiver grass is primarily grown in Haiti, Sri Lanka, and India, although its essential oil distillation occurs all over the world. Our organic vetiver essential oil is hydro-distilled from vetiver that is sourced from Haiti.
The Meow Meow Tweet blog is a collaborative thought project between the founders of Meow Meow Tweet and our editorial team. This post was written by Vera Kachouh.