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The Utilization of Vetiver as Medicinal and Aromatic

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A utilização do Vetiver como planta medicinal e aromatica.

Pacific Rim Vetiver Network Technical Bulletin No. 2001/1
The Utilization of Vetiver
as Medicinal and Aromatic
with Special Reference to Thailand
Narong Chomchalow
Office of the Royal Development Projects Board
Bangkok, Thailand
September 2001
Pacific Rim Vetiver Network Technical Bulletin No. 2001/1

The Author
Dr. Narong Chomchalow holds a B.S. degree in Agriculture (with honors) from Kasetsart
University, an M.S. degree in Genetics from the University of Hawaii, and a Ph.D. in Botany
from the University of Chicago. Among his working experiences were Assistant Professor
in Biology at Northern Illinois University ( De Kalb , IL , USA ) ; Research Director of the
Agricultural Products Research Institute , Applied Scientific Research Corporation of
Thailand ; Deputy Governor of the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research; Regional Officer of the IBPGR Southeast Asian Program; Managing Director of
Siam DHV Consulting Services Co.; Regional Plant Production Officer of the FAO Regional
Office for Asia and the Pacific.
Dr. Narong is a renowned research scientist, research administrator, lecturer, author and
editor . He has written more than 300 scientific papers on various crops and in diverse
disciplines. He has edited about a dozen scientific journals and newsletters, both in English
and Thai, including most of the publications of the PRVN. He is advisor/consultant to many
organizations including the Office of the Royal Development Projects Board, the Thailand
Institute of Scientific and Technological Research, IFS, FAO, and the Horticultural Research
Institute of the Thai Department of Agriculture. In the vetiver circle, he prepared the
Constitution of the International Vetiver Conference ( I C V) and was a key person in the
organization of I C V - 1 an d I C V - 2 .
He is presently the Secretary of the I C V Continuing Committee , P R V N Coordinator , and Editor of Vetiver rim . He also serves as the Executive Secretary of the Asian Network on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, and the Chairman of the Essential Oil Committee of the Thai Industrial Standards Institute.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the
expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Pacific Rim Vetiver Network concerning
the legal status of any country, territory, city or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
Trade names, manufacturers, and distributors are solely for the purpose of providing scientific
information and do not endorse products named nor imply criticism of similar ones not
mentioned. Mention of a trade name, manufacturer, and distributor does not contribute a
guarantee or warranty of the product. The recommendation practices or technologies ar e based
on research and best information available so far.
For copies write to:
The Secretariat, Office of the Pacific Rim Vetiver Network
c/o Office of the Royal Development Projects Board
78 Rajdamnern Nok Avenue
Dusit, Bangkok 10200,Thailand
Tel. (66-2) 280-6193, Fax: (66-2) 280-6206, 280-8915
E-mail: pasiri@mail.rdpb.go.th
About this Publication:
Title: The Utilization of Vetiver as Medicinal and Aromatic Plants with Special Reference to
Author: Narong Chomchalow
Publisher: Pacific Rim Vetiver Network , Office of the Royal Development ProjectsBoard,
Bangkok, Thailand
ISBN No.: 974-7774-75-5
Date published: September 2001
Suggested Citation: Chomchalow, N. 2000. The Utilization of Vetiver as Medicinal and Aromatic
Plants with Special Reference to Thailand. Tech. Bull. No. 2001/1, PRVN / ORDPB,
Bangkok, Thailand.
Photo Credits:
Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research
Department of Agricultural Extension
Thai-China Flavours and Fragrances Industry Co. Ltd.
Criss Juliard, DynEnterprises, Dakar, Senegal

The author is greatly indebted to the following persons for their valuable information:
Criss Juliard, DynEnterprises, Dakar, Senegal
Michael Pease, Coordinator, Europe and Mediterranean Vetiver Network,
Lakshmi Arambewela, Industrial Technology Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Indrawan Supraran, Chairman, Indonesian Vetiver Network, Jakarta, Indonesia
Vinai Supatanakul, Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research
Phawana Assawaprapa, Department of Agricultural Extension Foreword .
One of the immediate activities of the Pacific Rim Vetiver Network (PRVN) is to
disseminate information on vetiver systems, especially those that are adaptive to local
conditions of developing countries in the Pacific Rim. In this connection, the PRVN
Secretariat is publishing a series of technical bulletins which can provide useful information
about Vetiver Systems (VS) to readers who are active members of the PRVN.
In 1998, two te ch ni cal b u ll eti ns w e re p u bl ish ed , namely “Vetiver Grass Technology for
Environmental Protection” by Paul Truong and Dennis Baker, and “Vetiver Grass for Slope
Stabilization and Erosion Control” by Diti Hengchaovanich. In 1999, three technical
bulletins were published, namely “Vetiver Handicrafts in Thailand” by the (Thai)
Department of Industrial Promotion, “Vetiver Grass Technology for Mine Rehabilitation” by
Paul Truong, “The Use of Vetiver Grass System for Erosion Control and Slope
Stabilization Along the Yadana Gas Pipeline Right-of-Way” by the Petroleum Authority of
Thailand. In 2000, one technical bulletin was published, namely “Techniques of Vetiver
Propagation with Special Reference to Thailand” by Narong Chomchalow. The present
bulletin, “The Utilization of Vetiver as Medicinal and Aromatic Plants with Special Reference to
Thailand”, is the first one for the year 2001.
One of the problems in promoting vetiver as a player in soil and water conservation is the
lack of direct benefit that the farmers could obtain from growing vetiver hedgerows. As an
ancient crop, vetiver has been utilized traditionally as medicinal and aromatic plants in
many countries long before its use in soil and water conservation was realized in the late
1980s. The author, who is one of the fir st Th ai scie n ti sts w ho stud i ed th e vetive r since the
1 970’ s, has done extensive investigations on growing vetiver for essential oil production.
With his interest in medicinal and aromatic plants as is evident from his role as the
Executive Secretary of the Asian Network on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants as well as the
Chairman of the Essential Oil Committee of the Thai Industrial Standards Institute, he
places special interest in the utilization of vetiver as medicinal and aromatic plants while
working in various capacities on vetiver networking. The present paper, entitled “The
Utilization of Vetiver as Medicinal and Aromatic with Special Reference to Thailand”, is a
compilation of the information on the subject in Thailand and abroad, based on the
author’s experience and his library research.
On behalf of the PRVN, we wish to express sincere thanks to the author, Dr. Narong
Chomchalow, and to Dr. Samran Sombatpanit who helped tidying up the manuscript
voluntarily. It is hoped that this publication will be of some value to extension officers and
others in the field of transfer of technology, to pass on this information to the farmers and
other vetiver users to encourage them to grow vetiver as an income-generating crop in
addition to growing it for soil and water conservation (which is the ultimate objective of
growing vetiver), so that they are able to earn extra income. Social benefit in using vetiver
as traditional medicine and as raw material for botanical pesticides, as well as in the
production of flavor and fragrant materials for their household uses, or to earn extra
income, is also envisaged.
Sumet Tantivejkul
Executive Secretary, Pacific Rim Vetiver Network
and Secretary-General, Chaipattana Foundation
1. Introduction 1
1.1 What is Vetiver? 1
1.2 What are Medicinal and Aromatic Plants? 1
1.2.1 Medicinal Plant 1
1.2.2 Aromatic Plant 1
2. The Vetiver Oil 2
2.1 Producti on of Vetiver Oil 2
2.2 Properti es of Vetiver Oil 2
2.3 Therapeutic R ole of Vetiver Oil 3
2.4 Pesticidal Role of Vetiver Oil 4
3. Tradi tional Uti lization of Vetiver as Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Different Countries 4
3.1 India 5
3.1.1 As Medicinal Plant 5
3.1.2 As Aromatic Plant 5
3.2 Indonesia 5
3.2.1 As Medicinal Plant 6
3.2.2 As Aromatic Plant 6
3.3 Pakistan 6
3.3.1 As Medicinal Plant 6
3.3.2 As Aromatic Plant 6
3.4 Senegal 6
3.4.1 As Medicinal Plant 6
3.4.2 As Aromatic Plant 11
3.5 Sri Lanka 11
3.5.1 As Medicinal Plant 11
3.5.2 As Aromatic Plant 11
3.6 Other Countries 11
3.6.1 As Medicinal Plant 11
3.6.2 As Aromatic Plant 11
4. Utilization of Vetiver as Medicinal Plant in Thailand 12
4.1 Vetiver in Thai Traditional Medicine 12
4.2 Vetiver in Pest Control 12
4.2.1 Insecticide 12
4.2.2 Acaricide 12
4.2.3 Other Pesticides 12
4.3 Vetiver as Herbal Drink 12
5. Utilization of Vetiver as Aromatic Plant in Thailand 12
5.1 Traditional Utilization of Vetiver as Fragrant Material 12
5.2 Research on Production of Essential Oil of Vetiver 13
6. Potential Utilization of Vetiver 15
6.1 As Medicinal Plant 15
6.2 As Aromatic Plant 15
7. Discussion 16
7.1 Main Objective of Planting Vetiver 16
7.1.1 Using Leaves as By-Products 16
7.1.2 Impact of Insect Level on Adjacent Crops 16
7.2 Environmental Implication 16
7.3 Socio-economic Aspects 17
7.4 Industrial Potentials of Vetiver 17
7.4.1 As Medicinal Plant 17
7.4.2 As Aromatic Plant 17
8 References 17
9 Glossary of Pharmacological Terms 19
The Utilization of Vetiver as Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
With Special Reference to Thailand
Narong Chomchalow
Office of the President, Assumption University
Bangkok, Thailand
Vetiver is a tall, tufted, perennial, scented grass with a straight stem, long narrow leaves and a
lacework root system that is abundant, complex and extensive. Vetiver has versatile uses, particularly as an inexpensive yet effective and eco-friendly tool to combat soil erosion.
Medicinal and
aromatic plants (MAP) are two related groups of plants having in their part chemical constituents
which are active in curing ailments (i.e. MP) or in providing flavors and/or fragrances (i.e. AP).
Vetiver has traditionally been utilized as MAP since ancient times, particularly in India, Indonesia,Pakistan, Senegal, Sri Lanka and a few other countries as well as in Thailand. This paper describes potential utilization of vetiver, both as MP and AP. It also highlights the utilization of vetiver as MAP in Thailand that includes the utilization of vetiver in traditional medicine, in pest control, and as fragrant materials. Research on production of vetiver oil and the R&D on industrial potential of vetiver as aromatic plants in Thailand are also described. It ends with the discussion on the main objective of planting vetiver, environmental implication, socio-economic aspects, and industrial potentials.
Keywords: Vetiver, medicinal plant, aromatic plant, essential oil, vetiver oil, traditional medicine,
aromatherapy, botanical pesticides, insecticides, acaricides, industrial potentials.
2.1 What is Vetiver?
Vetiver is a tall, tufted, perennial, scented grass, with a straight stem, long narrow leaves and a
lacework root system that is abundant, complex, and extensive. It offers an inexpensive yet effective and eco-friendly tool to combat soil erosion. The roots have been used in Asia for centuries for their fragrance, and are woven into aromatic matting and screens. The roots of some cultivars and ecotypes possess essential oil that has been utilized as fragrant material since ancient times. The plant also contains active ingredients used in traditional medicine and as botanical pesticide.
2.2 What are Medicinal and Aromatic Plants?
Medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) are two related plant groups that have in their chemical
constituents that are either active in curing ailments (i.e. MP) or provide flavor and/or fragrances (i.e. AP) (Chomchalow 2000). Generally speaking, MAP are distinct enough to be classified into two different categories, if the main uses are taken into consideration, viz.
1.2.1 Medicinal Plants: These plants possess active ingredients used mainly in preventing or
curing ailments. They may, and usually do, have other properties which permit them to be used as botanical pesticides, preservatives, incenses, herbal teas, herbal drinks, natural dyes, spices, etc.
(Chomchalow 2000).
1.2.2 Aromatic Plants: These plants possess aromatic compounds used mainly as flavors (e.g. in
spices and herbs) and fragrances (e.g. in perfumery, cosmetics, soaps) (Chomchalow 2000).
However, from ancient times, these plants have also been used as raw materials for cosmetics,
pharmaceuticals, botanical pesticides, disinfectants, insect repellents, herbal teas, herbal drinks, etc.
2.1 Production of Vetiver Oil
Spongy root mass of certain cultivars of Vetiveria zizanioides contains trace amount of essential or volatile oil, known as vetiver oil or ‘khus oil’, which can be extracted by steam distillation. The
dried roots, after washing and drying, can be distilled immediately, or are stored for 12-24 months so enzymatic process can increase oil yield (Dowthwaite and Rajani 2000). The process of distillation consists of soaking the root mass prior to packing in the distillation unit, and steam is allowed to pass through for a period of six hours or more. The steam distillation produces around 0.3-1.0% of oil although higher percentages can also be obtained. A resinoid is also produced by solvent extraction for perfumery work.
Commerce vetiver oil is mainly produced in China, India, Indonesia, Haiti and Reunion. The
principal constituents include vetiverol, vetivone, khusimone, khusitone, ter penes ( e.g. vetivenes) , and sesquiterpenoids. Its chemical compounds were reviewed by Fuehrer (1970) and more extensively by Virmani and Datta (1975).
Indonesia, particularly Jave, is the leading producers of vetiver oil in spite of the fact tht people are convinced that vetiver actually causes soil erosion, if planted on the slope (Prayogo 1998). This is because harvesters often dig out the roots, leaving behind trenches that triggers severe soil losses.
Such a problem results in the prohibition of vetiver cultivation in many parts of Java (National
Research Council 1993). It is largely grown in the loose rich volcanic soils near Garut in West Java.
Distillation is long and involves high pressure using water and steam distillation method. In
Indonesia, oil from stainless steel vessels has a lighter color than oil from carbon steel tanks. In
terms of volume, vetiver is the leading essential oil exported from Indonesia, with over 1,000 tons
being exported in 1992, and is said to be competitive with the one produced in Haiti. However, the typical Indonesian product is sometimes discounted in the international market due to its having a ‘smoky burnt’ character (www/benzalco.com/vetiver/vetiver_page.html>). The best type of vetiver oil is believed to come from Reunion Islands.
Planting vetiver grass and followed with a rigorous harvest of the roots could substantially affect
soil erosion. Therefore, vetiver planting has been banned in some countries such as Indonesia. This has reduced the supply of vetiver oil such that its price has increased many folds during the past decade.
2.2 Properties of Vetiver Oil
Vetiver oil is a light to dark brown, olive, or amber viscous oil having a deep smoky, earthy-woody odor with a sweet persistent undertone. The color and scent can vary according to the source. For example, Angola produces very pale oil with a dry-woody odor. Poorer grades with darker color and have smoky backnotes are also produced in China and Java by subsistent farmers with primitive equipment (Dowthwaite and Rajani 2000).
Vetiver oil has a rather powerful smell but is very pleasant when diluted (Curtis 1996). It blends
well with oils of sandalwood, rose, violet, jasmine, opopanax, patchouli, oakmoss, lavender, clary
sage, mimos a, cassia, and ylang ylang (Law les s 1995) . I t is a high-priced oil as it is used extensively in fine perfumery and cosmetic products. In dilute state, it smells like sandalwood oil (Georgi
1924). It is used exclusively in the preparation of compound perfumes, in which the oil, on account of its low volatility, is normally used as a base to fix other high-value volatile oils like rose oil, lavender oil, and jasmine oil.
Vetiver roots do not yield their oils easily because the essential oils are located inside hard-to-reach root tissues. To be extracted, these oils must diffuse (which is a relatively slow physical process) from inside fibrous rot tissues outward to the surface. Furthermore, vetiver oil consists of a high percentage of sesquiterpenes (which have high molecule weights with low vapor pressures), which also contribute to the long extraction times needed. The most valuable fractions of vetive oil have the highest boiling points and constitute the high specific gravity oil portion, and characteristically pass through the condenser in greatest volume late in the distillation. These fractions are rich in vetivones and vetiverol (http:www.benzalco.com/vetiver/vetiver/_text.html).
Vetiver oil has been utilized as raw materila for various fragrant products such as perfumes,
deodorants, lotions, soaps, etc. In addition, vetiver oil plays an important role in aromatherapy.
I n “Wilkes P riceles s Recipes - a valuable collection of tried for mulas and simple methods for people in every department of human endeavor:, under the heading “toilet articles”, there is the recipe for vetiver es s ence as f ollow s : “Tw o pounds of the r oot of vetiver (cut small), mois ten w ith a little water , macer ate f or 24 hour s , then beat in a mar ble mor tar , macer ate in s uf ficient alcohol to cover for 8 or 10 days, and str ain w ith pressure; f ilter through paper and in a f ortnight r epeat the filtr ation.” (Pease 2001).
Upon further separation, vetiverol, its main alcohol, can be acetylated to produce vetiveryl acetate having slightly stronger silky fruity-green-woody nuances. It is irreplaceable in the bottom notes of‘Haute Coutur ier’ fragr ances . Vetiver oil and its var ious derivatives are used in the following perfume brands : G uerlain’s ‘V etiver’ , Channel’ s ‘ Coco’ , Chr istian D ior’ s ‘Miss Dior’, Yves St. Laurent’s ‘Opium’, Givenchy’s ‘Ysatis’, among others (Dowthwaite and Rajani 2000).
In addition to being used as a fixative in fine perfumery, vetiver oil is also used as a fragrance
ingredient in soaps, cosmetics and perfumes, especially oriental types. In food, it is used to flavor
sherbet and as food preservatives, especially for asparagus (National Research Council 1993).
2.3 Therapeutic Role of Vetiver Oil
The main action of vetiver oil is on the nervous system and it is both sedating and strengthening in effect. It is excellent in the treatment of depression, nervous tension, debility*, insomnia and many stress-related diseases, and acts as an aphrodisiac where there is a clear connection between impotence or frigidity and stress. It may be used in massage blends and the bath; it has a rather powerful smell but is very pleasant when diluted. It stimulates the circulatory system and makes a useful massage oil for elderly or debilitated people with poor circulation. It also helps to stimulate the production of red blood cells and is thus beneficial for anemia. It makes a useful warming and pain-relieving rubbing oil, suitable for deep massage of muscular aches and pains, sprains, stiffness, rheumatism and arthritis. It may be added to sports oil blends and massaged into muscles before and after sports. In skin care, it helps to balance the secretion of sebum. It is also a useful antiseptic and is slightly stringent. It is used in lotions, compresses and baths for the treatment of oily skin, acne and weeping sores (Curtis 1996).
Vetiver oil revitalizes the body by fortifying the red blood corpuscles crucial in transporting oxygen to all parts of the system. Increased blood flow could alleviate muscular aches and pains and said to be useful in cases of rheumatism and arthritis (Sellar 1992).
Shealy (1998) advocates that vetiver oil is particularly useful for jet lag, and for grounding and
clarity while traveling. His description on the use of vetiver oil for jet lag therapy is as follows:
“Use as a base, 2fl oz (60 ml) apricot kernel oil. Add 5 drops of vetiver oil, 5 drops of geranium,
and 2 drops of juniper or grapefruit oils. Apply this mixture liberally all over your skin before
travel. Once traveling, reapply to as much of your body as possible every four to five hours. You
may also carry a damp washcloth to which the oils have been added. If you are flying, the flight
attendant may heat the washcloth in a microwave for you. Shower or bathe upon arrival and reapply the oils.” The fact that vetiver oil is good for jet lag, and for grounding and clarity while traveling has also been confirmed by Criss Juliard ( pers.com.) that he keeps a small vial of vetiver oil in * The meaning of this and other pharmacological terms, written in italics, is described in the “Glossary of Pharmacological Terms” given at the end of the text.
his brief case, and applies it under his nose before, during and after long trips, and it works for him!
Vetiver oil is helpful during emotional stressful times, and has been used a s tonic for women
suffering post-menstruation syndrome. In Sri Lanka and India, it is known as “the oil of
tranquility”. The recipe for tranquility bath oil is to “add 2 drops of vetiver (oil), 2 drops of lavender (oil), 4 drops of rose (oil) to 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of sweet almond oil. Add to a running bath and disperse with your hands. Relax for at least 10 minutes” (Shealy 1998).
In Ayurveda, vetiver oil reduces ‘Vatha’ and increases ‘Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’ (Shealy 1998). It is
valued most for its sedative properties. It is used in massage and in baths to relieve stress, anxiety, nervous tension and insomnia. I t a ls o he lp s t o gr o un d p eo ple w ho li ve to o muc h in their head , or who need to feel stable after shock or a period of insecurity. It is a stimulant and rubefacient, so it can provide relief from arthritis or rheumatism, and general muscular aches and pains. It is useful in skin care as an antiseptic, tonic, and detoxifier.” Shealy (1998) continues to say that vetiver oil “helps to clear acne, and because it promotes skin regeneration and strengthens the connective tissue, it assists with wound healing and benefits aging skin.”
The many uses of vetiver oil in aromatherapy can be appreciated from the following statement
quoted from http://tntn.essortment.com/whatisvetiver_rtco.htm: “In today’s aromatherapy vetiver has many us es . V etiver is us ed to strengthen the red blood cells and promotes oxygen throughout the body. Vetiver is often used to alleviate the symptoms of rheumatism, arthritis and muscular aches such as muscle pain, sprains, and joint and muscle stiffness. It also aids the reproductive system; it is used to promote fertilization of the female egg. Vetiver is also useful for the skin, it can be used to alleviate the inflammation of acne, aids in healing of cuts, and it reduces oil in the skin. Vetiver is not toxic and nonirritant; it is great for the skin for sensitive and older skin.”
Vetiver oil is believed by Sellar (1992) to be a tonic to the reproductive system. Furthermore, its
relaxing quality may have some effect on tension arising from sexual problems.
2.4 Pesticidal Role of Vetiver Oil
Vetiver oil is known to repel insects; people in India and elsewhere have placed vetiver troot
among their clothes to keep ins ects away (http://tntn.es sortment.com/what is vetiver_rtco.htm). I t also repels flies and cockroaches and may make a useful ingredient in ins ect repellents (National Research Council 1993) . I t has been used to repel moths ( S ealy 1998) . The two tricyclic s es quiterpenoids – zizanal and epizizanal – isolated from vetiver oils how insect repelling activity ( J ain et al. 1982) .
Maistrello and Henderson ( 2001) were of opinion that some of the components of vetiver oil, such as nootkatone – as esquiterpene, which has been found to repel and even kill termites, may have important industrial applications , as insecticide or insect repellent, or eventually, other products may be developed.
It also has some anti-fungal properties (Dikshit and Hussain 1984).
Vetiver is well known for its extensive fibrous root system. The larger its root volume, the better is the capacity to conserve soil and soil moisture. Besides, larger root volume will also ensure higher root yield that has multiple economic value including that related to aroma and essential oil.
Vetiver’s essential oil also plays a big role in traditional medicines as well as in pest control.
In traditional medicine, it has the following therapeutic actions: diaphoretic, antiseptic,
antispasmodic, depurative, rubefacient, sedative, stimulant (circulatory, prodcution of red
corpusles), tonic, and vermifuge (Lawless 1995).
The following paragraphs discuss traditional utilization of vetiver as medicinal and aromatic plants
(MAP) in different countries including India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and a few
other countries. Traditional utilization of vetiver as MAP in Thailand will be discussed in detain in subsequent sections.
3.1 .India
Being native to India, vetiver has found its utilization as MAP for several centuries.
4.1.1 As Medicinal Plant: In Traditional Medicine: Various tribes use the different parts of vetiver for many o f
their ailments such as a mouth ulcer, boils, epilepsy, burns, snake bite, scorpion stings, rheumatism, fever, headache, etc. The Santhal tribe of Bihar and West Bengal use the paste of fresh roots for burns, snakebite and scorpion stings; decoction of the roots has been used as tonic for weakness.
The Lodhas of West Bengal region use the root paste for headache, rheumatism and sprain; the
stem decoctionis used for urinary tract infection . The tribals of Mandla and Bastar of Madhya Pradesh use the leaf juice as anthelmintic. It is also used for boils, burns, epilepsy, fever, scorpion
sting, snakebite and mouth sore. Root extract is used for headache and toothache. The tribals of
Varanasi inhale the root vapor for malarial fever. The root ash is given to patients for acidity by the Oraon tribe. Likewise, there are many different applications of the plant for different ailments among different ethnic tribes in other parts of India (Jain 1991; Singh and Maheshwari 1983).
Local application of leaf paste for rheumatism, lumbago and sprain gives good relief. The dried
roots are also used to provide fragrance to linen clothes (Rao and Suseela 2000).
Sastry (1998) mentioned about his father who used vetiver roots as one of the main ingredients of an ayurvedic medicine to successfully redress childlessness of women due to disorder of the uterus, while Rao and Suseela (2000) appraised vetiver oil as stimulant, diaphoretic and refrigerant. In Pest Control: Singh et al. (1978) advocated that vetiver oil could be utilized as
anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents to combat agricultural pests. The powdered root, used in
sachets, protected Indian muslin from moths and insects (Sellar 1992).
3.1.2 As Aromatic Plant: The bulk of the very sweetly-scent roots are used for cooling purposes and for the extraction of essential oil. A pleasant aroma is released from the vetiver root dug from the soil and hanged in the shade (Singh and Meheshwari 1983). In the hilly regions of Karnataka, peoplemade use of the roots to prepare refreshing drinking water (Sastry 1998). Vetiver oil is utilized in perfumery, cosmetics and soaps, and for flavoring sherbets (Rao and Suseela 2000). The dried roots are also used to give f ragrance to the linen clothes. The root mass of the vetiver plant is used as a blind to cool dow n the heat of the s ummer , a common pr actice in northern I ndia. The blind is woven from the wiry, fibrous root of vetiver . The vetiver b lind is continually doused with water through out the day , turning the very wind that can dehydrate a person walking in the sun , into a scented cooling breeze , which passes through the soaked vetiver blind, releasing a bitter - sweet aroma. An Indian poet, Bihar i (1595-1664), in ‘ The Satasai’ , described the vetiver blinds as “Lend to burning summer noon the scented chill of winter nights ”. This evidence indicated that vetiver is an ancient crop , but its utilization in those days has been limited only to its fragrance ( Vetiver 1998 ) .
3.2 Indonesia:
Until recently, Indonesia used to be the world’s largest producer of vetiver oil. The loose volcanic
soils in the Garut area, West Java are ideal for easy harvesting vetiver roots used in extraction of its essential oil, In such cool moist elevations, vetiver grass flourishes. Annual yields of 5 t/ha of dried root with an average oil content of 1.5%, the range being 0.7-2.3% were reported. The annual yield range of vetiver oil production was between 40 amd 100 kg/ha, with an average of 80kg/ha
3.2.1 As Medicinal Plant: In Traditional Medicine: Vetiver is used in the following recipes:
For body/sweat bad smell: Material: fresh or dried vetiver roots – 50 g, water – 2500 cc.
Preparation: vetiver roots are cleaned and boiled until the water volume is half of its original; let it cool. Drink a glass every day (Wirakusumah and Setyowati 2000).
For rheumatism: Material: vetiver roots (1/4 handful). 10 leaves of betel pepper (Piper
betle), 15 leaves of ‘Gandarasa’, 10 leaves of ‘Glentang Warak’, 10 cm of ‘Canar Babi’ root, 20 cm
of ‘Kelingtang’ root. Preparation: clean all materials, ground to find mix; add water and mix with
calcium oxide (the same type used for chewing with betel pepper). Application: use the mixture for outside application while massaging the painful body twice daily (L:ingga 2001). In Pest Control: Vetiver roots are made into small ball and kept inside thecabinet or
drawer to repel cockroaches (Suparan pers. Com.).
3.2.2 As Aromatic Plant: Traditionally (still practiced in many cities in Central Java), vetiver
roots are made into a fan for use when the weather is hot to release sweet aroma. The same vetiver ball used to repel cockroaches makes the cabinet or drawer smell pleasant (Suparan pers. Com.).
3.3 Pakistan:
3.3.1 As Medicinal Plant: In Pakistan, vetiver, known in Urdu as Khas, Aseer, Daron, is
extensively used in Indusyunic medicine such as in cardiac debility, palpitation, fainting, and to
drive away adverse effects of polluted air and atmosphere. It is prepared as syrup, or bruised and made in infusion ( U smanghani et al. 1997) . It may be prepared as a refreshing drink to cure fever, inflammation and irritability of the stomach. Having the property of being astringent refrigerant and stomach to nic useful in quenching thirst , it is used as febrifuge in bilious and sanguinous fevers. The liquid prepared from half bruised root mixed with 2-3 lotus seeds in aqua ‘ keora’( Pandanus odoratis sim us ) and left for a few hours, can cure polydipsia in children. Vetiver oil is used to check vomiting in cholera. Vetiver leaf fumes over the fire with benzoin is effective in the treatment of headache due to biliousness ( Khan et al. 1997) .
3.3.2 As Aromatic Plant: With its aromatic property, vetiver roots have been made into scents
and is useful refrigerant to individuals having warm temperament (Khan et al. 1997).
3.4 Senegal:
3.4.1 As Medicinal Plant:
3. 4. 1.1 In traditional Medicine: Criss Juliard ( pers .com .) reported that traditional
practices confirm what the encyclopedia ( S healy 1998) identifies as the plant’s use to calm emotional stress, as an aphrodisiac, and that it is regenerating. Juliard found a number of fascinating medicinal uses for Vetiveria nigritana in Senegal, and much of it revolves around both the aphrodisiac however, is most widely known, used and sold as a water purifier (antiseptic) and because it gives drinking water a ‘better scent’, and for its anti-bacterial properties. He has recorded several dozen accounts of medicinal benefits many of them from women. When boiled with rice (a principal dish in Senegal), the decoction is drunk, as it “relaxes and relieves stress”. A particular application is in the ‘preparation’ of the bride-to-be the week prior to her marriage. The family brings the rice/vetiver water daily to the young women as it “increases vaginal secretion”. The groom is given the decoction one day prior to the wedding, supposedly as an aphrodisiac.
Young women use an infusion of vetiver roots to relieve menstrual cramps and treatment is
recommended by practicing nurses. After childbirth, the water is used “to cleanse the reproductive system” and recognized as an efficient depurative of female parts that have been under stress. Field research and usage in Senegal by Juliard (pers.comm) also confirm what is stated in the encyclopedia (Shealy1998) that vetiver is useful in skin care as an antiseptic, tonic and detoxifier.
He found vetiver roots “ground into a powder” is sold in certain markets in the South (Moyenne
Casamance) and used as an astringent “to speed up the healing of wounds and open sores.” He
adds that the drink made from the root boiled in water is used to disinfect and eliminate pathogenic bacteria. Water in which the root has seeped for a few hours is used for light cases of diarrhea for nursing mothers and for small infants. In Pest Control: Juliard (2001) reported that vetiver is used in traditional grain
storage as a way to preserve rice crops. The leaves of the native species, Vetiveria nigritana, are
soaked in seawater , placed on the ground with rock salt, then newly harvested rice is place on the leaf bed. An additional layer of vetiver leaves, also soaked in salt water and sprinkled with sea salt, is then placed on top of the newly harvested rice. This method, developed by coastal farmers in the South, is claimed by practitioners to eliminate losses of stored rice due to invading pests and mold.
In the Moyenne Casamance the vetiver root is placed in linen storage chests as a moth repellent, and the plant has been successfully tested and pictorially documented (Goudiaby and Malainy 2001) as a termite repellent. In the Niayes region, cabbage plants growing closest to vetiver hedges (used to outline vegetable fields) are recognized by the women planters as being less invaded by white flies and worms, and are more resistant to root disease.
3.4.2 As Aromatic Plant: Local finds also confirmed the statement that vetiver has grounding
and relaxing properties. The Peulh, Djolas and Serer people of Senegal are the widest users of their native vetiver plant. Older women wear a ‘belt’ woven of vetiver root under their clothes as grounding “to increase their good scent and attract men”.
3.5 Sri Lanka
3.5.1 As Medicinal Plant: The pulverized or powdered roots mixed with sandal wood powder or
alone are applied to beautify the skin and impart a cooling effect. Roots are used in the preparation of decoctions, ‘Arishta’, ‘Asava’ (fermented products) powders, pastes and oils in Ayurveda along with other ingredients. It is believed tha tvetiver is effective in treating urinary tract infections, urinary calculi, aetc. When used in oils and decoctions, it is believed to produce a cooling effect on the body (Arambewela pers. com.).
3.5.2 As Aromatic Plant: In Sri Lanka, vetiver oil is used in incense to impart sweet aroma
(Arambewela pers. com.)
3.6 Other Countries:
3.6.1 As Medicinal Plant: In Traditional Medicine: In Mauritius, vetiver is used as an abortifacient and as a
medicinal tea in hispaniola (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk 1962); and its root decoctions are used for asthma, influenza and pleurisy (Gurib-Fakim et al. 1993). In Nepal, the roots are used in infusion; When pulverized and paste in water, the roots are used as a cooling external application in fever(Anon. 1970). In Pest Control: In Nigeria, Ibrakim (1996) reported the use of Vetiveria nigritana as
a pest repellent. In South Africa, a researcher found that where vetiver was planted alongside maize, the maize stem borer preferred to lay its eggs on vetiver rather than on maize, and then when the stem borer larvae hatched on the vetiver, it promptly died (Grimshaw pers. com.). Over a century ago, farmers in Louisiana, USA used vetiver leaves and roots to mulch strawberry plants. They found that there were no white flies on the strawberries (Grimshaw pers. com.).
2.5.2 As Aromatic Plant: Vetiver’s essence is used as a tonic in Nepal (Anon. 1970).
Being a native plant found almost every where in Thailand, vetiver has traditionally been utilized in herbal medicine since ancient time. At present, there are two approaches in making medicinal uses of the vetiver plant, viz. as traditional medicine and as pesticides.
4.1 Vetiver in Thai Traditional Medicine
Rural Thai people have utilized vetiver roots to dissolve gallstone, to reduce fever and in treating
diseases related to bile and the gall bladder, and healing stomach discomfort. In addition, various
locations have their distinct ways of utilizing vetiver as medicinal plants. Among these are:
¨ At Nong Chang District, Chachoengsao Province, a traditional healer described the curative
properties of vetiver root as improving functioning of the heart, nourishing blood, treating nervous disorders. Mixing with other medicinal herbs, vetiver roots can be used in various preparations for treating fever and fainting (ORDPB 1996).
¨ At Pho Prathap Chang District, Phichit Province, the herbal forum described the properties of
vetiver that its roots can be utilized to treat stomach discomfort, reduce stomach gas, and stomach disorder while its leaves can be utilized to cure urination problem. In addition, vetiver roots mixed with other herbs in different recipes can be utilized for curing many disorders (ORDPB 1996).
4.2 Vetiver in Pest Control
In Thailand, vetiver has recently been found to have pesticidal effects on various pests. These
include the utilization of vetiver as insecticides in vegetables and acaricides in cow.
4.2.1 Insecticides: Trials have been conducted by Babprasert and Karintanyakit (1996) on the
utilization of vetiver root oil extract as insecticide in vegetable production. Using vetiver oil
extracts of different concentrations (1:100, 1:250, and 1:500) and compared with a commercial
insecticide (monochrotophos) and water in three kinds of vegetables - kale, cucumber and Chinese radish, it was found that during the first three weeks there was no significant difference among the percentage of damages to kale, while in the fourth week, there was a significant difference. For Chinese radish, during the first three weeks, the percentage of damage was significantly different, but was non-significant during the fourth until the sixth week. On the other hand, monochrotophos applied to kale and Chinese radish was more effective than essential oil when the number of insects was high, and there was no significant difference when the number of insects was low in cucumber where there was no significant difference among the percentage of damage from the first until the eventh week. I n addition, there was no difference between vetiver oil and monochrotophos because of the presence of beneficial insects such as labybird beetles and ants in the cucumber plots. There was also no significant difference between the yield. It was concluded that vetiver oil extract has potential to some extent in controlling and preventing insect pests from attacking vegetables, and its attempted in order to obtain the maximum amount of vetiver oil extract from its root and also to arrive at appropriate concentration level of the oil for use as insecticide.
4.2.2 Acaricides: During milking operation, farmers have to clean the cow’s breasts thoroughly
to prevent the dropping of various dirty matters, particularly dairy cow ticks (Boophilus microplus) into the milk. This will deteriorate the milk quality drastically. As normally practiced, the farmers have to wipe the cow’s breast with a piece of clothe dipped in chemical insecticide to eradicate the ticks before milking. Such a practice causes chemical contamination of the milk (ORDPB 1996).
Korpraditkul et al. (1996) conducted an experiment using vetiver extract to control cattle tick.
Three ecotypes of vetiver grass were used, viz. ‘Si Sa Ket’, ‘Uthai Thani’, and ‘Phetchabun’. Two
methods of essential oil extraction were employed, viz. steam distillation and solvent extraction
(using two solvents, ethanol and dichloromethane). It was found that the yield of oil was 0.93-
1.00%. The oil, which was rarely separable from the condensate, was obtained through the use of
ethanol as solvent contains polar substances, with darker color and stronger aroma than the one
obtained through the use of dichloromethane that contained non-polar substances. When adjusting the oil’s concentration at 10% and applying to treat dairy cow tick at larval and adult stages as well as egg-laying stage, the result indicated that chemical substance extracted from vetiver root of different ecotypes possessed different efficiency in controlling ticks. The extract by steam distillation of dried ‘Uthai Thani’ vetiver root killed ticks at both stages at the highest rates, with mortality rate of larval and adult of 50.7 and 20.0%, respectively. In addition, fragments and condition of the root also played a role in controlling ticks; extract from dry vetiver root was able to control larval-stage ticks better than adult stage, while extract from fresh root was able to control adult stage of ticks better than larval stage. It was also found that the oil extracted from vetiver root showed no significant difference in controlling ticks when compared with citronella extract and extract of both citronella and vetiver. The ethanol extract from dried roots of ‘Phetchabun’ ecotype showed very good result to give mortality rate of larvae at 99.4% and inhibited adults from laying egg at 46.7%. The result indicated that the extract from vetiver roots was able to control the growth of ticks during larval and adult stage, and including egg-laying stage of ticks. The ethanol extract has highest potential for controlling cow ticks. The authors were of opinion that if the extraction method is improved or its concentration is adjusted to the optimum level, the experiment may give better results.
4.2.3 Other Pesticides: Putiyanan and Nanthachit (2000) studied the biological activities of six
ecotypes of Vetiveria zizanioides. Such activities have been ascribed to the chemical constituents of the six ecotypes, some of which were found to have antifungal action against Trichophyton
mentagrophyte, while others have antibacterial action against Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923, Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853. All four components from TLC separation demonstrated antifungal action against T. mentagrophyte that was determined by agar diffusion method. The minimum concentration of the purified chemical constituents against the growth of T. mentagrophyte was found to be 78 mcg/ml. The purified extract was found to have structural formula of ‘vetiverin’ (VZ1).
4.3 Vetiver as Herbal Drink
Chomchalow and Hicks (2001) described the method to make ‘vetiver root drink’ or ‘Nam Ya
Faek’, a Thai traditional beverage, as follows: “A handful of vetiver roots and leaves in equal
proportion are boiled with four glasses of water until the liquid is concentrated to a quarter of a
glass”. It is taken as a herbal drink.
5.1 Traditional Utilization of Vetiver as Fragrant Material
In the olden days, Thai people utilized vetiver root to provide fragrant to cloth cabinet, and its
extract as an ingredient of pot pourri, perfume, hair pomade, traditional beverage, and rubbing oil.
The process of extraction and of making such traditional products have been handed down from
generation to generation without written record, many of which have now disappeared. The
incidence that dealt a big blow to these traditional products is the public acceptance of new fragrant products derived from other fragrant plants or synthetic materials, resulting in the lack of interest in using vetiver as fragrant materials, probably due to its high price.
5.2 Researches on Production of Essential Oil of Vetiver
As the Head of the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR)’s Essential Oil Project, the author introduced vetiver cultivars from Indonesia and Sri Lanka in 1968 to be grown on trial for essential oil production at TISTR’s Highland Essential Oil Research Station at Chang Khian, Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. It was found that they gave high yield of high quality vetiver oil. However, due to their erosion induction on steep-sloped land at the time of digging the roots off the ground, he discontinued the cultivation of vetiver on the sloping lands. His collection of vetiver cultivars and ecotypes are still existing to the present day. The cultivar from Indonesia.
has been used by the Royal Project Foundation staff in many trials (Pinthong, pers. comm.).
The author and his coworkers (Chomchalow et al. 1970) reported the results of their screening of
essential-oil yielding crops in Thailand and found, on the basis of its potential for industrial
production, that vetiver was one of the 14 plants selected for further study. It yielded 2.0-2.5% of oil by steam distillation, or 6.7% by solvent extraction.
In a multiplication plot at the Non Sung Agricultural Experiment Station, Nakhon Ratchasima
Province, two of the author’s staff members, Boonklinkajorn and Visuttipitakul (1968) reported that the r oot yield f rom a 9 month- old plot w as 1,625 kg/ha containing 42.5 kg/ha of oil ( 2.6%) . They also observed that there was a great loss of root caused by harvesting procedure. Lacking other possible means, the roots had to be dug up by the use of a hoe. Since the grass extends it fibrous roots in all directions, a certain portion of the roots was unavoidably cut off. The amount of roots left in the soil is believed to be considerable. It was therefore apparent that yield of roots of vetiver will be greatly affected by harvesting method. As a primary approach to reducing such a loss, they experimented with growing vetiver in pots (30 cm diam.) and polyethylene bags (38 x 50 cm size) compared with the one planted in the field (sandy soil). It was found that planting two tillers per pot or bag produced 32 culms at harvest against 24 culms by planting only one tiller; however, the difference is not significant. In terms of dry root yield, they found that growing two tillers per pot (200.89 g) or bag (164.55 g) gave significantly higher yield than growing only one tiller (111.23 g/pot and 134.97 g/bag). However, the number of bags that can be allocated to an area is much higher than the number of pots; consequently the yields of roots and oils are much higher in the former case. As much as 1,265 kg of oil is produced per hectare if bags are used with two tillers being planted for 9 months. This is almos t 30 times as much as if they are grown in a hectare in the field.
However, the interest in extracting essential oil from the vetiver root was halted for quite some time after that, but resumed when vetiver was introduced for s oil and water cons ervation in the early 1990s.
In 1993, Kasetsart University, in cooperation with TISTR, extracted vetiver oil from a 1 _ years old plant of the ‘Sri Lanka’ cultivar, employing a steam distillation method under a pressure of 1 bar (ORDPB 1996). It was found that air-dry root, with 9.17% moisture, yielded 1.91 g of oil from 800 g of the sample, or 0.24% based on half-dry weight. It was noted that the oil extracted had specific characteristic fragrance and is viscous which is of considerable advantage for industrial usage as it is able to fix fragrance for a longer period than the oil with lower viscosity.
The oil yield of 0.24% (half-dry basis) was considered very low as compared to the one produced
industrially with 1.4-1.6% dry-weight basis. Furthermore, the result of chemical analysis of vetiver oil by TISTR revealed that the oil obtained from the ‘Sri Lanka’ cultivar possessed less chemical components than that from ‘Chiang Mai’ ecotype as well as from those exotic origins (Nanakorn 1993). The result of such studies indicated that vetiver oil varies considerable according to cultivars as well as ecotypes. I t w as concluded that s ystematic collection and selection of clones having high yield of oils and better quality of aromatic compounds, supplemented with the improvement in extraction method, can lead to the initiation of vetiver oil industry in Thailand.
Thubthimthed et al. (2000) investigated ess ential oils obtained by hydrodis tillation from five ecotypes/ cultivar s of Vetiveria ziz anioides Nash, namely ‘Sur at Thani’, ‘Songkhla’, ‘S ri Lanka’, ‘Indones ia’ and ‘Japan’, cultivated in the same condition, for their chemical compositions by GC and GC/MS methods. It was found that the volatile oils of all ecotypes mainly contained sesquiterpenes; and khusimol, cedrenol and _-bisabolol were the main constituents, while some minor constituents such as _-terpene, eugenol, isoeugenol, etc. were also found. It was revealed that three ‘foreign’ cultivars, viz. ‘Sri Lanka’, ‘Indonesia’ and ‘Japan’ were similar, but were quite different in chemical composition from the two Thai ecotypes, ‘Surat Thani’ and ‘Songkhla’.
Supatanakul (pers. comm.) conducted a trial on growing vetiver in black polybag of the dimension 43 x 66 cm, with 28 cm-wide base, filled with mixture of sand (59 kg/bag) and chicken manure (1kg/bag). Ten g/bag of 15-15-15 chemical fertilizer were added. It was planted with a single tiller/bag of 8 foreign cultivars and 3 local ecotypes. The entire plots were watered by sprinkler every other days and the leaves cut down to 20 cm every three months. Harvestings were done at the ages of 12, 15, 18, 21 and 24 months by tearing the plastic bag off, cut through the whole root mass with big knife into quarters and remove the sand which adheres to the roots by shaking. It was concluded that ‘Sri Lanka’ cultivar gave the highest yield of dry root of 326.5, 456.7, 494.4, 543.8, and 527.9 g/bag at the ages of 12, 15, 18, 21 and 24 months, respectively. The increase in yield after 18 months was not significant. The yield of oil of the ‘Sri Lanka’ cultivar was also found to be the highest, which was 1.27% (dry weight, at the age of 12 months). The advantage of this system of growing vetiver in sand-based medium in large polybags is that harvesting is much more efficient than growing in the field, and can make efficient use of degraded land (e.g. acid sulfate soil, salty soil, toxic soil, mine quarry, etc.) since the land is only used to place polybags.
A more recent experiment has been carried out by the Department of Agricultural Extension to
grow vetiver as an income-generating crop (Assawaprapa, pers.comm.). It was found that vetiver grown in large, black polybags with two tillers/bag and spaced at the amount of 8,000 bags/rai*, or 5 ba gs /m2 gave the dry root yields of 4 ,000 to 6,000 k g/rai. At a contract price of Baht ** 17 /kg , an income of Baht 68,000 to 102,000/rai per crop (or US$ 9,444 to 14,167/ha) of about one year is expected. This is an exceptionally high income on any standard. However, the cost of investment is also quite high. This includes the cost of the polybags (Baht 2.6/bag, or Baht 20,800 per rai), medium (burnt rice husk, compost, sand and soil), and wages to fill large amount of medium into the polybags, to transplant tillers, and to harvest. Thus only few rather rich farmers can invest in this venture. The Department of Agricultural Extension is now cooperating with the Royal Project Foundation and the Thai-China Flavours and Fragrance Industry Co. Ltd. to launch a commercial production of the vetiver oil by growing vetiver as an income-generating crop.
6.1 As Medicinal Plant
Most of the current demand for vetiver oil is from the fragrance industry, but some of the
components of vetiver oil, such as nootkatone, the sesquiterpene compound in vetiver oil, have
recently been found to repel and even kill termites. It may have important industrial applications, as insecticides or insect repellents, or eventually, other products may be developed.
6.2 As Aromatic Plant Vetiver has been utilized as fragrant material from time immemorial by peoples of many Asian countries. Its root has been used as raw material for commercial essential oil production in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, Haiti, Reunion, and several other countries. In Asia, only one species of Vetiveria, i.e. V. zizanioides, possesses roots that are fragrant. Other species of Vetiveria are either not fragrant or possessing very mild fragrance. In fact , only a few cultiva s of V. zizanioides 1 Rai = 1600 m2 or 6.25 Rai = 1 ha; ** Baht 45 = US $ 1 (September 2001)
are cultivated for their essential oil present in the roots while other cultivars or wild ecotypes, either contain no essential oil or contain in minute amount that makes them not profitable to be
cultivated . In Africa, Vetiveria nigritana has also been utilized as aromatic plant, especially in
A recently demonstrated works on vetiver for His Majesty the King of Thailand’s viewing included the ones on essential oil production from vetiver roots and its potential utilization as household products, a collaborative efforts of the Royal Project Foundation and the Thai-China Flavours and Fragrances Industry Co. Ltd. The exhibition included: (i) the method of essential oil extraction from vetiver roots, (ii) the quality of vetiver oil produced in Thailand as compared to that of other producing countries, (iii) the application of vetiver oil in various industrial products such as cosmetics, soap, incense, and aromatherapy, (iv) demand of the world market and competitive potential.
In addition, the exhibition also covered proposed plan of action, including the following
developments: (i) the portable still for use in the village to provide extra income to the villagers, (ii) the utilization of spent hay after oil extraction, such as in making powder incense, (iii) the
extraction technology to have higher efficiency at industrial level, and (iv) the use of vetiver oil in
various products.
7.1 Main Objective of Planting Vetiver
Vetiver has traditionally been used as medicinal and aromatic plants in many countries, especially in Asia. Recently it has received widespread recognition as being an ideal plant for soil and water conservation as well as environmental protection. This, however, has met with difficulty in promoting vetiver grown as hedgerows for soil and water conservation since the farmers complain that they do not obtain any direct benefit (i.e. cash return) from planting vetiver. However, it is argued that the indirect benefits the farmers could obtain are enormous. These are:7.1.1 Using Leaves as By-Products: Vetiver leaves grown as hedgerows for soil and water conservation can be used as raw material for handicraft making, edible mushroom cultivation, roof thatching, industrial products such as garden pots, nursery blocks, household appliances, etc.
7.1.2 Impact of Insect Level on Adjacent Crops: There are a lot of evidence that vetiver actually
repels insect pests of crop plants as discussed earlier. Thus vetiver would not only be good for the environment, but w ould also be a ver y good mar keting point w hen trying to get f armer s to use vetiver.

7.2 Environmental Implication
Vetiver is one of the most suitable plants to be used in purifying pre-treated wastewater effluent in constructed wasteland The lacework of root system of vetiver provides a large surface area for colonization by heterotrophic bacteria that degrade organic materials. At the same time, vetiver root system creates a hostile environment for other pathogenic organisms. The roots produced in the wetland can be harvested and used as a source of essential oil for non-fragrance applications, especially as pesticides. If the quantity and quality of oil produced by vetiver plants used in treating wastewater are comparable to conventionally produced oil, the revenues from vetiver production that could be recovered could off set the investment and operating costs of a w astew ater treatment plant.
7.3 Socio-economic Aspects
Socio-economic factor has great influence in determining farmers’ preference in doing their farming activities. In Indonesia where vetiver has been grown as a single crop for essential oil extraction, it is considered by the farmers as an unprofitable economic crop (Prayogo 1998). This is evident by the fact that farmers in the upland watershed area are more likely to choose other crops. He concluded that, as an integral part of an upland farming development, vetiver has the greatest role in soil and water conservation and not as erosion induction as previously believed. Thus the researchers and extension workers should reconsider the way to do their activities on the uplandwatershed areas.
A new concept, that of growing vetiver as an income generating plant, has recently been launched by the Royal Project Foundation of Thailand (see details in 6.4.2). This approach in interesting since vetiver provides a very good income to the farmers if grown specifically for its roots.
7.4 Industrial Potentials of Vetiver
7.4.1 As Medicinal Plant: As a campaign to go ‘back to nature’ is everywhere, the utilization of
vetiver as a medicinal plant to produce pharmaceutical products on a commercial scale has great
potential for development.
7.4.2 As Aromatic Plant: As the demand for vetiver oil is very high at the moment, the
cultivation of vetiver for essential oil production is a reasonable proposal, especially if grown for
other purpose, in which digging the roots does not interfere with environmental protection, like in constructed wastewater treatment area, or intentionally for essential oil production by growing in large polyethylene bags, as being attempted by the Highland Foundation Project in collaboration with the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research, Department of Agricultural Extension, and the Thai-China Flavours and Fragrances Industry Co. Ltd.
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abortifacient: causing abortion; an agent that causes abortion or expulsion of the fetus from the womb
acne: a common chronic skin disease, esp. among adolescents and young adults,
characterized by inflammation of the sebaceous apparatus, usually causing pimples
on the face, back and chest
anemia: a condition in which there is a reduction of he number, or volume, or red blood
corpuscles or of the total amount of hemoglobin in the bloodstream, resulting in
paleness, generalized weakness, etc.
antiplasmodic: any substance which tends or has the power to prevent or relieve spasms or convulsions
antiseptic: any substance which prevents infection or decay by inhibiting action of microorganis ms without necessarily killing them
aphrodisiac: stimulating sexual desire; a drug arousing the sexual instinct
arthritis: an inflammation of one or more joints due to infectious, metabolic, or constitutional causes asthma: a chronic disorder of the bronchial tubes; a respiratory disorder in the body
characterized by labored breathing, either continuous or accompanied by wheezing, a
sense of constriction in the chest, and often by attacks of coughing or gasping caused
by conditions that interfere with the inflow and outflow of air in the lungs
astringent: an agent which tends to shrink mucous membranes or raw or exposed tissues; a drug
which arrests secretion or bleeding
biliousness: a symptom complex with nausea, abdominal discomfort, headache and constipation,
formerly attributed to excessive secretion of bile
cardiac: of or relating to the heart; pertaining to the opening between the oesophagus and the
cardiotonic: having a tonic effect on the heart; an agent that has a tonic effect on the heart
cholera: acute infectious inflammation of the intestine, caused by an enterotoxin elaborated
by Vibrio cholerae, and characterized by severe watery diarrhoea
debility: weakness or feebleness of the body
decoction: a medicinal preparation or other substance made by boiling, especially in water.
depressant: diminishing functional activity; a drug which lowers functional activity and vital
energy in general.
depurative: tending to purify or cleanse; blood purifier
detoxifier: agent used to remove a poison or poisonous effect from the body
diaphoretic: pertaining to, characterized by, or promoting (profuse) perspiration; a drug that
induces sweating or copious perspiration or increases the amount of perspiration.
diarrhoea: a profuse, frequent, and loose discharge from the bowels
emmenagogue: an agent or measure that regulates and induces menstruation
epilepsy: a chronic nervous disorder marked by attacks of unconsciousness or convulsions
exhilarant: agent to make cheerful, merry, or lively
febrifuge: an agent that relieves or reduces fever
hyperaemia: an excess of blood
inflammation: a protective response of the body in response to injury, infection, irritation, etc.,
aimed at destroying or isolating the injurious agent and injured tissue, and
characterized by redness, pain, heat, and swelling
influenza: an acute highly contagious virus disease characterized by sudden onset, fever,
prostration, severe aches and pains, and progressive inflammation of the respiratory
mucous membrane
infusion: a liquid extract obtained by steeping or soaking something in a liquid for the purpose
of extracting its medicinal principles without boiling; medicinal fluid made by
pouring boiling water on a plant or plant part, or adding a plant extract to boiled
water; similar to a tea
insomnia: sleeplessness
lumbago: pain in the lumber region of the back (loins); lumbar rheumatism; rheumatism of the
muscles of the small of the loins
palpitation: condition when the heart beats rapidly
pleurisy: imflammation of the membrane enclosing the lungs
polydipsia: abnormal thirst or having an excessive desire to drink
refrigerant: a drug which relieves feverishness or produces a feeling of coolness; an agent that
relieves fever and thirst
rheumatism: any of various disorders, characterized by inflammation, degeneration, or metabolic
derangement of the connective tissue structures of the body, especially the joints and
related structures, and accompanied by pain, stiffness or limited mobility of these
parts; an indefinite term used for pains in the muscle, joints and certain patches
rubefacient: a mild counter-irritant; reddening the skin by causing hyperaemia; an agent that
reddens the skin sedative: acting on the central ner vous s ys tem to produce sleep; an agent that allays excitement spasm: an abnormal muscle contraction that is often accompanied by pain and may signal anunderlying disorder.
sprain: the resulting condition, characterized by swelling, pain, and disablement of the joint
stimulant: producing a temporary increase of the f unctional activity or efficiency of an organism
or any of its parts; making a body organ or system work faster
stomachic: a drug that strengthens the stomach and promotes its action
tonic: an agent that restores or maintains health in the whole body or its individual organs.
ulcer: an open sore on the skin
vermifuge: an agent that expels intestinal worms; also called anthelmintic.