Aphrodisiac or relaxant: discovering the power of Vetiver essential oil

The last few nights I’ve been using Vetiver essential oil to help me sleep. Now let me tell you what a discovery I found out about Vetiver!

Prior to using Vetiver, I’ve always used Lavender essential oil to help me calm down before sleeping. I lie in bed after a shower, drop a few drops of Lavender on my chest and rub it in gently and add a drop on each wrist and lie down and just absorb the aroma, breathing deeply and calmly. Sometimes I combine this with Cedarwood—a drop or two on my fingers and massaged into my scalp (for grounding and balance).

I’ve also become used to diffusing my Tranquil essential oil blend (Sweet Orange, Lavender Maillette, Sweet Marjoram, Bergamot, Neroli), and this has also aided in creating a calm and pleasant space for sleeping.

However, of late, not having any Tranquil oil left and using up all my Lavender, I turned to Vetiver—a luscious and thick woody oil—and the results were so surprising I had to write about it.

Vetiver, the surprise

After applying Vetiver on my wrists (1 drop on each) and holding the bottle to my nose while lying in bed and just breathing it in, I discovered a sleep sedative I have only dreamed of (or at least have begun to since then).

Almost immediately I began to feel heady and drowsy, heavy-eyed and numb. All I was doing was breathing it in and I felt like I had taken an aphrodisiac and drifted into relaxation and sleep almost instantly. In a very short time I was asleep and this was major for me, since it takes me HOURS to wind my head down after switching my brain “computer” off (the static lingering forever!)

So, I decided tonight to look further into Vetiver, what it is and how it works, and why it was so effective in helping me relax and go to sleep.

Facts about Vetiver

“According to Organic Facts, vetiver essential oil provides the following health benefits:

  • Enhances libido and awakens sexual desire
  • Provides relief to insomnia patients
  • Speeds up eradication of scars and other skin marks
  • Has antiseptic properties
  • Provides relief from all types of inflammation
  • Improves and maintains good nerve health
  • Rejuvenates the body and helps boost immunity
  • Helps heal wounds by promoting growth of new tissues”.


Ok, so that explains that… FEELING… I had!

Vetiver, the plant

“The botanical name of vetiver is Vetiveria Zizanoides or Andropogon Muricatus. This grass has a very pleasant, mild, earthy, and musky smell which has a cooling effect on the body and the mind. The grass and its roots are… also used to thatch roofs of earthen houses and mattresses. It is also used as curtains on doors and windows, which, apart from cooling and scenting the rooms, keeps insects away. That is why its demand rises excessively during the summer, particularly in hot countries like India and its neighbors.”


Vetiver, the oil

“Vetiver essential oil is derived through the steam distillation of the plant’s roots. It has a strong initial aroma and is described as woody, smokey, earthy, herbaceous, and spicy. While not widely known, it dates back centuries and, in the 12th century, even became a taxable item in India.

Perhaps the most valued quality of vetiver oil is that it is deeply grounding, and often used for promoting sleep. It is said to also be equally helpful for restlessness.” (Source:

Vetiver and ADHD

“One specific area that vetiver oil can potentially address is ADHD, in large part because it is a calming essential oil. A 2001 study conducted by Dr. Terry Friedman found that the oil’s aroma improved the performance of children with ADD and ADHD by 100 percent. The results emerged as much stronger than lavender’s performance increase of 53 percent and cedarwood’s 83 percent.” (Source:

WOW! So it’s no wonder that my Lavender and even my Cedarwood didn’t result in the same extent of relaxation and sleep that the Vetiver did.

One thing I noted though was the intense potency of the Vetiver essential oil and each night I used even less than 1 drop for both wrists and limited my breathing from the bottle to a few breaths only and then closing the lid and just letting it work. I also felt some tingling on my chest last night when I applied a drop and would only ever use it with a carrier oil, like Coconut or Almond or with a body cream, and even then 1 drop would be plenty.

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