About Vetiver Essential Oil

Of all of the essential oils, few capture the aromatic complexity of the earth’s botanical bounty as completely as Vetiver grass. Organically grown in West Papua, Indonesia, by the indigenous Meyah people group, this oil is traditionally used for therapeutic¹, meditative and perfuming purposes. Its sweet, rooty, deeply relaxing aroma, which is reminiscent of woods and marshlands, is grounding, cooling and nourishing. Vetiver is perhaps the premier perfume fixative, as over 90% of all western perfumes use Vetiver essential oil as an effective “base note” that holds lighter “top notes” to the skin.

Vetiver is in itself an extremely healing oil to the body and the mind (for more information, see “Resources” here)¹. It is also valued as a component in cosmetic preparations for its natural affinity for the skin and its ability to enhance skin health and radiance. Deeply calming, balancing and restorative, Vetiver promotes rejuvenation on all levels and aids relaxation. Vetiver is an excellent choice to keep on your nightside table for promoting deep and revitalizing sleep¹.

As one of the most biochemically complex of all essential oils, Vetiver contains over 150 identified aromatic compounds, and many more unidentified. It remains to be one of the very few essential oils yet to be successfully artificially synthesized in a laboratory. Because its chemical properties are a function of the soil it is grown in, each batch of Vetiver oil will have fragrance variations that are unique and subtle.

What makes Cenderawasih Aromatic’s Vetiver Oil so special?

The rich, relaxing, “earthy” oil of Vetiver is produced by harvesting and distilling the roots of the plant.  The best quality oil comes from roots that are 18 to 24 months old, and this is the age at which Cenderawasih Aromatic’s plants are harvested. These roots are freshly unearthed by hand, cleaned by hand, soaked in water, and distilled in a Portuguese alembic pure copper still, a process which takes up to 24 hours.


Freshly unearthed Vetiver roots

Similar to the production of Sandalwood essential oil, Vetiver oil distillation is a long and laborious process with small percentage yields. There are many techniques for extracting the oil from the roots, each resulting in different yield quantities and oil qualities. Most techniques utilized throughout Indonesia focus on using high pressures and temperatures or chemicals to forcibly extract as much oil as possible out of the roots, however this “brute-force” technique has a marked disadvantage, namely, aromatic compound decomposition caused by the high distilling temperatures. At Cenderwasih Aromatics, we have instead focused on creating the highest quality oil possible, putting to use centuries of ancient knowledge and artisinal non-chemical extraction techniques originating from India. This allows us to create a rare and exquisite emerald-green/ light-amber oil full of these otherwise lost delicate aromatic compounds. However, this all comes at a cost – the percent yield dramatically drops to 0.1-0.2 %. This means that 25 kg of dried roots yield only 40mL of precious pure Vetiver essential oil.


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Vetiver, specifically the Chrysopogon zizanioides (previously classified as Vetiveria zizanioides) species, is truly an amazing grass. Not only is it world-renowned for its aromatic characteristics, but also for its role as an powerful tool for combating erosion and landslides, regenerating damaged topsoils, and phytoremediation (biological wastewater treatment). To learn more about how just how impactful Vetiver is for the Meyah people group, read our story.

¹These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please read our full disclaimer here.

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