Originating from India where it is known as Khus - a syrup is made from it - Vetiver is a grassy plant now grown extensively in various tropical countries including Haiti, Indonesia, Madagascar and La Reunion.
The plant has great environmental benefits in certain areas prone to heavy rain and flooding, thanks to its deep rooting system which prevents soil erosions and mudslides. These roots are also the part of the plant that contain its precious essential oil.
During the harvest, the plant is completely unrooted - a very physical work that requires 2-3 men. The roots are separated and need to be washed and dried before they can be distilled.
Harvesters keep a tiny part of its leaves and rooting system so it can be replanted again and it will reach full maturity again within 2 years. It is a very important crop for the local economy in southwestern Haiti (Les Cayes region) which produces arguably the best quality vetiver oil today.
Our supplier has invested in the local communities to try and mechanise the growing and harvesting of vetiver in the region, to help prevent harvesting on the hills (and prevent soil erosion) and support the local communities in different ways (school, hospital). This oil is certified organic and 'For Life' (a fair trade label).
Vetiver essential oil has been used in perfumes for over a hundred years and is still very popular today, for its earthy/woody and fresh grapefruit like facet and smoky undertones. A comforting scent like many wood oils are, it is also used in skin and hair care formulas and proves to be a good bug repellent.
Vetiver oil is a thick oil and doesn't always pour easily from the bottle so you may have to remove the dropper to pour it (see instructions here), but it is a great oil to have in your collection and will hold its quality for many years.