Vetiver (1) is one of the herbs that has received significantly less attention among health enthusiasts probably because it is not spoken about or advertised a lot. This humble root herb has a number of benefits and is dirt cheap when compared to the benefits it has to offer.
I’ve tried my best to shed some light on this miracle herb and its benefits for our body as well as its importance during summer.
What is vetiver?
Vetiver (popularly known as Khus) is a perennial herb which has its name derived from the word “Vettiver” – Tamil language. This bunch grass can be grown in almost any soil and is a low maintenance plant. It grows well in tropical and warm climate. The key producers of vetiver are Haiti, India and Java. The root of vetiver has been used for aromatherapy, preparation of perfumes, soaps and fragrances (2).
The fragrance of vetiver roots is unique and for this reason, the roots find their use in preparation of essential oils (3) as well. Khus flavored syrup which is prepared from vetiver is used in certain cuisines and this is available in various parts of the world. The syrup is consumed along with water, as a body coolant.
But in this article, we will be seeing a specific application of vetiver – when used along with drinking water.
Vetiver – Names in other languages
- Scientific name – Vetiveria zizanioides
- English – Khas khas grass
- Hindi – Khas
- Sanskrit – Abhaya
- Malayalam – Ramacham
- Bengali – Khas khas
- Tamil – Vetiver
- Kannada – Lavancha
- Telugu – Vattivellu
How to use vetiver roots?
The simplest way to use the roots are by adding it to drinking water. Let me tell you that using an earthen pot/mud pot to store water is the best option when it comes to drinking water. But if this is not feasible for you, then a copper or silver vessel would be very good alternate. If not, then you might have to turn to plastic – but I definitely would not advise that.
Vetiver roots can be added to drinking water. The procedure is outlined below:
Take 50 gms of vetiver root for a pot of water (2 liters). I have taken a handful of roots. First, wash the roots to remove impurities.
Clean the mud pot with running water. Place vetiver inside the pot. You can also tie the root bundle, wrap it in a cotton cloth and place it in the pot. But I really don’t mind the roots floating in the water. The more the roots are exposed, the more goodness goes in the water.
Fill the pot with drinking water. The vetiver roots are light in weight and hence they float on top.
Once you put the roots in water, wait for 4 – 5 hours. It takes minimum of 5 hours for the extract of the root to slowly seep in the water.
After 5 hours, you can drink! Immerse a glass in the pot and see the water. The water will be clear but when you drink it, you can find a distinctly different taste. It has a very mild and earthy flavor and will make you feel refreshed.
Benefits of vetiver water
Good for the nervous system
Vetiver has properties that soothe your nervous system. The aroma in vetiver helps to reduce stress and calms the mind. The flavor has a calming effect. It also helps to reduce anger (4), restlessness, hypertension and symptoms of hysteria (5). Studies have shown that vetiver can be a natural remedy to treat Parkinson’s disease. When the water is consumed on a regular basis, it makes you feel relaxed and also helps you improve the health of your nervous system (6).
Cools down the body
There is nothing more effective than vetiver water during summer. Though there are many natural coolants like tender coconut water, vetiver water has many medicinal benefits that be obtained. During summer, after spending some time outdoors, a glass of vetiver water can instantly cool your body and refresh your mind. Spend a few seconds inhaling the aroma of the glass of water in your hand and then drink it. Vetiver acts like a tonic and rejuvenates the mind and body. You can also squeeze a little lemon into the water but then I prefer just the natural taste. You could try both and take your pick!
Helps to fight insomnia
Insomnia or sleeplessness is a problem that many adults suffer due to restlessness/stress/hypertension. Drinking vetiver water instead of your regular drinking water through the day helps to slowly get rid of this problem. Regularly consume vetiver water for at least two weeks and you can see the impact in your day to day health and overnight sleep pattern. This is safe for consumption for everyone including children.
Reduces joint pains and arthritis
Vetiver has anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of this water can heal wounds and reduce pain/inflammation in joints (7) which is severe in arthritis patients. Vetiver can provide you relief from this pain. It also stimulates the re-growth of tissues in wounded areas and helps to revive. Vetiver water can be prepared on a whole and consumed through the day.
Vetiver roots have anti-oxidant properties. Thereby, it helps to fight against diseases and also boosts immunity. This water is totally harmless and can be given to children above the age of 2. (It can even be given to babies of 1+ age, but some parents may be skeptical and hence I am recommending a 2+ age) However, if the water is given to toddlers, you can give just a glass a day instead of totally substituting with their regular drinking water. It also helps you to eliminate free radicals (8).
The antiseptic properties present in vetiver clears up skin by slowly reducing appearance of pimples and acne, it also stimulates growth of new cells and tissues (9). It detoxifies the body and keeps it cool. All these result in clearer skin.
The diuretic nature of vetiver helps you flush out more toxins from your body. It increases the amount of urine and excretes impurities effectively.
When you have unbearable headache (10), vetiver water can you get rid of it. It reduces internal inflammation and calms the body.
When the water is consumed regularly, it can help you treat jaundice (11) effectively. It improves the function of the liver effectively which is the reason for bilirubin in the body. Jaundice when not treated at the right time, it can lead to non-reversible fatal conditions.
Other significant uses of Vetiver
- Treats abscess: To treat abscess, you need to powder the roots using a blender. Take a cup of water and add one teaspoon of vetiver powder to it. Boil well. Add the boiled extract water to warm milk and consume it. Drink it at-least for a period of one month for effective results.
- Treat fever with vetiver: Crush few pieces of the root with warm water and form a thin paste. Apply the paste on the forehead and rinse it off after 20 minutes. This can be used when the temperature is very high.
- Treats swelling: Applying the paste of the roots on the affected area helps to reduce swelling.
- Treats UTI (Urinary tract infection): When the vetiver water is consumed along with few other herbs like holy basil (tulsi) and ginger, it effectively treats UTI (12). It can be crushed and mixed in vegetable juices like cucumber and carrots.
- Reduces body odor: When the impurities are flushed out when vetiver water is consumed regularly, it helps to reduce body odor.
- Improves oral health: When you chew on a piece of clean root, it helps to reduce inflammation in the gums and also reduces bad breath.
- Improves skin health: When the extract water is sprayed or sprinkled on the facial skin, it cools the skin and improves the tone.
- Vetiver oil: The oil prepared with the roots are very effective in treating many health issues like headache, stress and inflammation. It can also be use like an essential oil as it has a mild unique fragrance.
Tip: Replace the roots with some fresh ones after you can feel the water losing the taste of vetiver. Till then you can re-use the roots.