Autumn is my absolute favourite season. The fresh start of a new academic year, the harvest time, a crisp cool season with a bearable chill in air where the days are still bright and colours ever changing. Having said that it does also bring about a change in what essential oils we use turning towards those that are warming and good for colds and cough symptoms.
My favourite oil to use in early autumn has to be Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) it has a beautiful rich earthy but smoky smell that is reminiscent of bonfires. Surprisingly this heavy scented oil comes from the roots of a perennial grass grown in east Asian countries as well as Japan, Sri Lanka and India. The plant is actually used to prevent soil erosion and the dried roots used to make fans, screens and mats.
Vetiver comes from the Poaceae is a large family of grasses that are annual, biennial, or perennial plants that are usually herbaceous but may be woody and can also be aquatic. The Poaceae family includes popular known grasses such as the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassland. Essential oils from the Poaceae family are useful in treating aches and pains, good for acne and stimulating the circulation; The oils in this family are also extremely deodorising and will destroy ‘bad’ smells (animals, fish, illness) rather than just mask them.
It is an incredibly aromatic plant which is mostly main up of alcohols (50-75% vetiverol) so it is excellent for slowing down the CNS, it is particularly good for burnout many face in the run up to Christmas. Mojay has stated of vetivers ability to reconnect us to earth “vetiver sedates yet restores us – centres and reconnects us – closing the gap between spirituality and matter.” It is for this that I most often use it for stress, anxiety, insomnia and busy brains. It is known as the oil of tranquillity in its native Sri Lanka.
Physically vetiver essential oil feel warming to the skin so can be used for conditions such as arthritis, overworked muscles and painful muscles and joints. In Ayurvedic medicine vetiver is used for fever, headaches and heatstroke. It can sometimes catch in the throat if too much is used so be cautious when using or smelling straight from the bottle.
The essential oil of vetiver blends so beautifully with the citrus oils and with other warming oils such as ginger which make it a go to oil in the autumn for a variety of complaints and lets be honest in this day and age who doesn’t want to be more grounded.
Battaglia, S, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2nd Edtn, Perfect Potion, Australia, 2003.
Lawless J. The encyclopaedia of essential oils. Element Books Limited, Great Britain, 1992.
Mojay G. Aromatherapy for healing the spirit. Hodder and Staughton, UK, 1996.