Herbs & Plants

Vetiveria zizanioides

Botanical Name: Vetiveria zizanioides /Chrysopogon zizanioides
Family: Poaceae or Gramineae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: C. zizanioides

Agrostis verticillata Lam. nom. illeg.
Anatherum muricatum (Retz.) P.Beauv.
Anatherum zizanioides (L.) Hitchc. & Chase
Andropogon aromaticus Roxb. ex Schult. nom. inval.
Andropogon muricatum Retz. [Spelling variant]

Common Names: Vetiver, Vetiveria, Vetivergrass, Khas-khas, Benaba ,Sirom, Siromu, Bina-Khar.

Habitat: Vetiveria zizanioides is native to India. It grows on Open dry places at elevations up to 1000 metres in Nepal. Though it originates in India, C. zizanioides is widely cultivated in tropical regions. The major vetiver producers include Haiti, India, Indonesia, and RĂ©union. Almost all vetiver grown worldwide is vegetatively propagated, bioengineering has shown them as essentially the same nonfertile cultigen by DNA profiling. In the United States the cultivar is named ‘Sunshine,’ after the town of Sunshine, Louisiana

Vetiver grows to 150 centimetres (5 ft) high and form clumps as wide. Under favorable conditions, the erect culms can reach 3m in height. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward, 2 metres (7 ft) to 4 metres (13 ft) in depth.

The vetiver bunch grass has a gregarious habit and grows in tufts. Shoots growing from the underground crown make the plant frost and wildfire resistant, and allow it to survive heavy grazing pressure. The leaves can become up to 300 centimetres (10 ft) long and 8 millimetres (0.3 in) wide. The panicles are 15 centimetres (6 in) to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and have whorled, 25 millimetres (1 in) to 50 millimetres (2 in) long branches. The spikelets are in pairs, and there are three stamens.

The plant stems are erect and stiff. They can survive deep water flow. Under clear water, the plant can survive up to two months.

The root system of vetiver is finely structured and very strong. It can grow 3 metres (10 ft) to 4 metres (13 ft) deep within the first year. Vetiver has neither stolons nor rhizomes. Because of all these characteristics, the vetiver plant is highly drought-tolerant and can help to protect soil against sheet erosion. In case of sediment deposition, new roots can grow out of buried nodes.


The most commonly used commercial genotypes of vetiver are sterile (do not produce fertile seeds), and because vetiver propagates itself by small offsets instead of underground stolons, these genotypes are noninvasive and can easily be controlled by cultivation of the soil at the boundary of the hedge. However, care must be taken, because fertile genotypes of vetiver have become invasive.

Medicinal Uses:
Freshly prepared aqueous decoction of the root (ca.15 ml) is given twice a day before lunch and dinner to cure dyspepsia by the Lodhas. Fresh roots (ca. 10 gm) made into paste, and that is applied on the fore-head to cure head-ache by the Mundas. Root ash with
a glass of lukewarm water is given to cure acidity by the Mundas. Fresh stem collected from the young plants which are yet to bloom is kept in a glass of water for overnight. This aqueous decoction is given (ca. 20 ml) each time in regular intervals of 3 hours to cure
the urinary problems by the Oraons. Fresh root (ca. 25 gm) made into paste with seeds of black pepper (Piper nigrum) (ca. l0 gm) is given with a glass of water or milk to retain vitality and overcome the weakness due to excessive sweating by the Polias. Root paste (ca. l0 gm) with honey is given to check vomiting of children by the Mundas. Fresh root decoction is used as a mouth freshener by the Polias. Root paste is given to the children at bed time to stop the habit of passing urine in bed at night by the Polias.

Other Uses:
Vetiver grass is grown for many purposes. The plant helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion, but it can also protect fields against pests and weeds. Vetiver has favourable qualities for animal feed. From the roots, oil is extracted and used for cosmetics, aromatherapy, herbal skincare and ayurvedic soap. Due to its fibrous properties, the plant can also be used for handicrafts, ropes and more.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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