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Vetiver (Khus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: C. zizanioides
Binomial name
Chrysopogon zizanioides
(L.) Roberty

Vetiver - Chrysopogon zizanioides (previously Vetiveria zizanioides) is a perennial grass of the Poaceae family, native to India. The name comes from Tamil. In western and northern India, it is popularly known as khus (Hindi-Urdu:ख़स/خس), giving the earlier English names cuscus, cuss cuss, kuss-kuss grass, etc.[1] Vetiver can grow up to 1.5 meters high and form clumps as wide. 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, 2–4 meters in depth. Vetiver is closely related to other fragrant grasses such as Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus), citronella (Cymbopogon nardus, C. winterianus), and Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii). Though it originates in India, vetiver is widely cultivated in the tropical regions of the world. The world's major producers include Haiti, India, Java, and Réunion.

Contents

Uses

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Erosion control

Vetiver roots on sale.

Several aspects of Vetiver make it an excellent erosion control plant in warmer climates. Unlike most grasses, Vetiver does not form a horizontal mat of roots; rather, the roots grow almost exclusively downward, 2–4 meters. This makes vetiver an excellent stabilizing hedge for stream banks, terraces, and rice paddies. The close growing culms also help to block the runoff of surface water. Because Vetiver propagates itself by small offsets instead of underground stolons, it is noninvasive and can easily be controlled by cultivation of the soil at the boundary of the hedge.

The Vetiver System, a technology of soil conservation and water quality management, is based on the use of the Vetiver plant.

Perfumery and aromatherapy

Vetiver is mainly cultivated for the fragrant essential oil distilled from its roots. Worldwide production is estimated at about 250 tons per annum (Lavania). Due to its excellent fixative properties, Vetiver is used widely in high end perfumes. It is contained in 90% of all western perfumes (Lavania). Haiti is one of the leading producers of Vetiver in the world, along with Java, China, India, Brazil, and Japan. The United States, Europe, India, and Japan are the main consumers.

In perfumery, the older French spelling, vetyver, is often used.

Medicinal use

Vetiver has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.[2]

Old Tamil literature mentions the use of Vetiver for medical purposes.

In-House use

Mats made by weaving Vetiver roots and binding them with ropes/cords are used in India to cool rooms in a house during summer. The mats are typically hung in the doorway and kept moist by spraying with water periodically. It acts like an air-cooler when wind from a fan or outside hits it. It also adds a pleasant aroma in the house which is commonly described as "cool" and "refreshing".

In the hot summer months in India, sometimes a muslin sachet of Vetiver roots is tossed into the earthen pot that keeps the household's drinking water cool. Like a bouquet garni, the bundle lends its distinctive flavor and aroma to the water.

Essential Oil

Composition

Vetiver oil or khus oil is a complex oil containing over 100 identified components. Typical make up is as follows:

benzoic acid furfurol
vetivene vetivenyl vetivenate
terpinen-4-ol 5-epiprezizane
Khusimene α-muurolene
Khusimone Calacorene
β-humulene α-longipinene
γ-selinene δ-selinene
δ-cadinene valencene
Calarene,-gurjunene α-amorphene
Epizizanal 3-epizizanol
Khusimol Iso-khusimol
Valerenol β-vetivone
α-vetivone vetivazulene

The oil is amber brown and rather thick. The odor of vetiver oil is described as deep, sweet, woody, smoky, earthy, amber, balsam. The best quality oil is obtained from roots that are 18 to 24 months old. The roots are dug up and cleaned then dried. Before the distillation, the roots are chopped and soaked in water. The distillation process can take up to 18 to 24 hours. After the distillate separates into the essential oil and hydrosol, the oil is skimmed off and allowed to age for a few months to allow some undesirable notes which form during the distillation to dissipate. Like patchouli and sandalwood essential oils, the odor of vetiver develops and improves with aging. The characteristics of the oil can vary significantly depending on where the grass is grown and the climate and soil conditions. The oil distilled in Haiti and Réunion has a more floral quality to it and is considered of higher quality than the oil from Java which has a smokier scent. In the north of India, an oil is distilled from wild-growing vetiver. This oil is known as Khus or Khas and is considered superior to the oil obtained from the cultivated variety. It is rarely found outside of India as most of it is consumed within the country.

Notes

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1989.
  2. ^ Narong Chomchalow, "The Utilization of Vetiver as Medicinal and Aromatic Plants with Special Reference to Thailand", Office of the Royal Development Projects Board, Bangkok, Thailand September 2001, Pacific Rim Vetiver Network Technical Bulletin No. 2001/1.[1]

References

  • Germplasm Resources Information Network: Chrysopogon zizanioides
  • Veldkamp, J. F. (1999). A revision of Chrysopogon Trin., including Vetiveria Bory (Poaceae) in Thailand and Malesia with notes on some other species from Africa and Australia. Austrobaileya 5: 522–523.
  • Other Uses and Utilization of Vetiver: Vetiver Oil - U.C. Lavania - Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow-336 015, India
  • E. Guenther, The Essential Oils Vol. 4 (New York: Van Nostrand Company INC, 1990), 178-181, cited in Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (Australia: The Perfect Potion, 1997), 205.]
  • Ruh Khus (Wild Vetiver Oil)/Oil of Tranquility - Christopher McMahon

Chrysopogon zizanioides
File:Vetiveria
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: C. zizanioides
Binomial name
Chrysopogon zizanioides
(L.) Roberty
Synonyms

Vetiveria zizanioides

Chrysopogon zizanioides, commonly known as vetiver (derived from Tamil), is a perennial grass of the Poaceae family, native to India. In western and northern India, it is popularly known as khus (Hindi-Urdu:खसखस/خس), giving the earlier English names cuscus, cuss cuss, kuss-kuss grass, etc.[1] Vetiver can grow up to 1.5 meters high and form clumps as wide. 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, 2–4 meters in depth. Vetiver is closely related to other fragrant grasses such as lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), citronella (Cymbopogon nardus, C. winterianus), and Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii). Though it originates in India, vetiver is widely cultivated in the tropical regions of the world. The world's major producers include Haiti, India, Java, and Réunion.

Contents

Uses

Erosion control

Several aspects of vetiver make it an excellent erosion control plant in warmer climates. Unlike most grasses, vetiver does not form a horizontal mat of roots; rather, the roots grow almost exclusively downward, 2–4 meters. This makes vetiver an excellent stabilizing hedge for stream banks, terraces, and rice paddies. The close-growing culms also help to block the runoff of surface water. Because vetiver propagates itself by small offsets instead of underground stolons, it is noninvasive and can easily be controlled by cultivation of the soil at the boundary of the hedge.

The Vetiver System, a technology of soil conservation and water quality management, is based on the use of the vetiver plant.

Perfumery and aromatherapy

Vetiver is mainly cultivated for the fragrant essential oil distilled from its roots. Worldwide production is estimated at about 250 tons per annum (Lavania). Due to its excellent fixative properties, vetiver is used widely in perfumes. It is contained in 90% of all western perfumes (Lavania).

Haiti is one of the leading producers of vetiver in the world. Vetiver processing was introduced to Haiti in the 1940's by Frenchman Lucien Ganot.[2] In 1958, Franck Léger established a plant on the grounds of his father Demetrius Léger's alcohol distillery. The plant was taken over in 1984 by Franck's son, Pierre Léger who expanded the size of the plant to 44 atmospheric stills each built to handle one metric ton of vetiver roots. Total production increased in ten years from 20 to 60 tonnes annually, making it the largest producer in the world.[3] The plant extracts vetiver oil by steam distillation.

Java and Réunion are also major producers of vetiver, along with China, India, Brazil, and Japan.

Réunion is considered to produce the highest quality vetiver oil called “bourbon vetiver” with the next favorable being Haiti and then Java.

The United States, Europe, India, and Japan are the main consumers.

In perfumery, the older French spelling, vetyver, is often used.

Medicinal use

Vetiver has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.[4]

Old Tamil literature mentions the use of vetiver for medical purposes.

In-house use

In South Asia, khus (vetiver roots) a often used to replace the straw or wood shaving pads in evaporative coolers. When the cool water runs for months over the cheap straw/wood shaving evaporative padding, they tend to accumulate algae, bacteria and other microorganisms. This will cause the cooler to emit a fishy smell into the house. Vetiver root padding counteracts this smell. A cheaper alternative is to add vetiver cooler perfume or even pure khus attar into the cooler's water tank.

Mats made by weaving vetiver roots and binding them with ropes/cords are used in India to cool rooms in a house during summer. The mats are typically hung in a doorway and kept moist by spraying with water periodically and cool the passing air as well as a cool and refreshing aroma.

In the hot summer months in India, sometimes a muslin sachet of vetiver roots is tossed into the earthen pot that keeps the household's drinking water cool. Like a bouquet garni, the bundle lends its distinctive flavor and aroma to the water.

Fuel cleaning

A recent study, made in the volcanic institute in Israel, by Dr. Nativ Dudai found out that the plant is capable of growing in a fuel-contaminated ground. In addition to that, the study discovered that the plant is also able to clean the ground, so in the end, the soil is almost fuel-free.[5]

Essential oil

Composition

Vetiver oil or khus oil is a complex oil containing over 100 identified components, typically:[citation needed]

benzoic acid furfurol
vetivene vetivenyl vetivenate
terpinen-4-ol 5-epiprezizane
Khusimene α-muurolene
Khusimone Calacorene
β-humulene α-longipinene
γ-selinene δ-selinene
δ-cadinene valencene
Calarene,-gurjunene α-amorphene
Epizizanal 3-epizizanol
Khusimol Iso-khusimol
Valerenol β-vetivone
α-vetivone vetivazulene

The oil is amber brown and rather thick. The odor of vetiver oil is described as deep, sweet, woody, smoky, earthy, amber, balsam. The best quality oil is obtained from roots that are 18 to 24 months old. The roots are dug up and cleaned then dried. Before the distillation, the roots are chopped and soaked in water. The distillation process can take up to 18 to 24 hours. After the distillate separates into the essential oil and hydrosol, the oil is skimmed off and allowed to age for a few months to allow some undesirable notes which form during the distillation to dissipate. Like patchouli and sandalwood essential oils, the odor of vetiver develops and improves with aging. The characteristics of the oil can vary significantly depending on where the grass is grown and the climate and soil conditions. The oil distilled in Haiti and Réunion has a more floral quality to it and is considered of higher quality than the oil from Java which has a smokier scent. In the north of India, an oil is distilled from wild-growing vetiver. This oil is known as Khus or Khas and is considered superior to the oil obtained from the cultivated variety. It is rarely found outside of India as most of it is consumed within the country.

Notes

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1989.
  2. ^ The Fragrance Industry- Profiles c. 2007 by Glen O. Brechbill
  3. ^ © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2001
  4. ^ Narong Chomchalow, "The Utilization of Vetiver as Medicinal and Aromatic Plants with Special Reference to Thailand", Office of the Royal Development Projects Board, Bangkok, Thailand September 2001, Pacific Rim Vetiver Network Technical Bulletin No. 2001/1.[1]
  5. ^ ynet.co.il The plant that cleans the ground (in Hebrew).

References

  • Germplasm Resources Information Network: Chrysopogon zizanioides
  • Veldkamp, J. F. (1999). A revision of Chrysopogon Trin., including Vetiveria Bory (Poaceae) in Thailand and Malesia with notes on some other species from Africa and Australia. Austrobaileya 5: 522–523.
  • Other Uses and Utilization of Vetiver: Vetiver Oil - U.C. Lavania - Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow-336 015, India
  • E. Guenther, The Essential Oils Vol. 4 (New York: Van Nostrand Company INC, 1990), 178-181, cited in Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (Australia: The Perfect Potion, 1997), 205.]

  • Ruh Khus (Wild Vetiver Oil)/Oil of Tranquility - Christopher McMahon

External links


Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Chrysopogon zizanioides

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Poales
Familia: Poaceae
Subfamilia: Panicoideae
Tribus: Andropogoneae
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: Chrysopogon zizanioides

Name

Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty

Synonym

Vetiveria zizanoides

References

  • Bull. Inst. Franç. Afrique Noire 22:106. 1960
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. [1]

Vernacular

English: Cuscus grass
lea faka-Tonga: ahisiaina
日本語: ベチバー , カスカスガヤ
Türkçe: Vetiver
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Chrysopogon zizanioides on Wikimedia Commons.

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