By Drew Canole
Mother Nature has provided us with thousands of natural remedies that can help us with everything from minor cuts or digestive upset to neurodevelopment and complicated diseases.
I have been using essential oils for a few years now and have been impressed with the results. They are one of the most useful things in my house and I consider them a valuable tool in my everyday life.
Today I want to talk to you about Vetiver oil. This versatile oil has been used for centuries in traditional medicine in both South African and Asian countries. It’s native home, India, considers the herb to be sacred and the “oil of tranquility” because of its healing and soothing properties.
So what are the benefits of vetiver oil?
The Vetiver Plant
Vetiver is actually a type of bunchgrass that grows primarily in India. It grows up to five feet tall with roots burrowing eight feet down underground. The leaves are long and thin, the flowers a sort of faded purple color.
Vetiver oil, which contains over 100 components, is distilled from its deep root system. The scent of vetiver oil is rich, woody, earthy and exotic and only improves as the oil ages. It is a scent used in many perfumes.
Vetiver Oil and ADHD
A study was performed by Dr Terry S Friedmann, M.D., A.B.H.M. from 2001-2003 to try and find whether or not essential oils could be a beneficial treatment for children with ADHD.
Dr. Friedman had concerns about using pharmaceutical drugs on children with ADHD because they don’t “…sustain any healing properties” and in many instances, have been shown to have potentially frightening side effects on the neurological development of the brain itself.
“The common treatment in our society for ADHD is usually the drugs Ritalin… or to a lesser extent the drug Dexedrine. Unfortunately, both drugs have been shown to have similar side effects on the brain, mind, and behavior including conditions such as psychosis, mania, drug abuse, and addiction. Ritalin can cause permanent neurological tics and also growth retardation in children by disrupting the cycles of growth hormone secretion by the pituitary gland.
Ritalin, when ground up and inhaled, is being used as a recreational drug. It is being obtained illegally with and without a prescription, and reports indicate that it could present a problem of addiction. There is also evidence that occasionally it eventually leads to the use of more serious narcotics.”
Dr. Friedman took two years to study 34 children, ages six-fourteen, about half of which had been diagnosed with ADHD. All the participants had never taken medication as a treatment for ADHD.
The children were asked to inhale a specific essential oil three times a day by holding a bottle up to their nose and taking three deep breaths. The different oils used in the study were Vetiver, Cedarwood and Lavender.
“The chemical constituents of essential oils have been compared to human blood for they have similar properties; that of immune and nervous system stimulation, being antimicrobial in nature, of containing nutrients and oxygen, and of stimulating the regeneration of all tissues. One of the reasons for this is the way by which the oils are absorbed by the body. When the essential oil is inhaled, the micro droplets are carried to the limbic system of the brain, which is that portion that is the processing center for reason, emotion, and smell, and to the hypothalamus, which is the hormone command center. The essential oil micro droplets are also carried to the lungs where they enter the circulatory system. Some essential oils contain high levels of the chemical constituents sesquiterpenes, which can dramatically increase oxygenation and activity in the brain. Other essential oils because of their unique constituents tend to have a greater role in hormonal secretion and in the balance of mood and emotions.”
The participants were monitored throughout the two-year study period. Researchers found that those using Vetiver essential oil showed significant improvements in brain activity (32%) and showed reduced symptoms of ADHD. Parents reported that school performance improved and the improvement in their child’s behavior was even noticed by some teachers.
“In addition, I received several letters from parents of the ADHD children stating that their behavior at home had improved for the better. In several cases, they also stated that school educators informed them that their performance was observed to improve in the classroom. The report cards in some of the subjects had reflected this improvement as well.”
Dr. Friedman reports that he would, without hesitation, recommend the use of Vetiver Oil for helping children with ADHD.
To read the full study, click here.
Tips To Using Vetiver Oil
I personally would recommend getting vetiver oil through a company like Doterra. You can also find it at most health food stores or online. Only buy oil that is 100% vetiver and is organic.
For vetiver oil’s calming benefits you can diffuse it in your home or put 1-2 drops on your wrists, the bottom or your feet or your neck. If you are sensitive to essential oils, be sure to dilute it with a little coconut oil first (coconut oil is used as a carrier oil with essential oils to maximize absorption).
You can also mix vetiver oil with a massage lotion for a soothing massage.
One of my favorite ways to use this oil is at the end of a long day. I like to put 5 drops in a warm bath water and soak for at least 20 minutes. This is especially helpful for those who have a hard time winding down at night, suffer from insomnia or are going through a particularly difficult time in their life.
If you are pregnant or nursing, consult with a physician before using vetiver oil. Use caution when taking internally as there is not a lot of research done on the effects of vetiver oil when used inside the body.
In modern society, a lot of people have lost touch with nature and her healing elements. I encourage you to always be striving to learn about different beneficial plants and their compounds in order to bring better health and wellness to your home.
What benefits have you found from using essential oils? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.