Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Monograph-Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)

Monograph-Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)

Images of Vetiver


Description
It is a densely tufted grass. The culms are arising from an aromatic rhizome. The grass is stout, up to and over 2 m. tall, in dense tufts, with stout spongy aromatic roots. The leaves are narrow, erect, keeled, glabrous and its margins are scabrid. The inflorescence is a panicle ofnumerous slender racemes in whorls on a central axis. The spikelets are grey-green or purplish in colour and in pairs. One is sessile and the other is pedicelled. Those of each pair are more or less alike in shape and size, different in sex and 2-flowered. The lower floret is reduced to a lemma. Upper is bisexual in the sessile. Male is in the pedicelled spikelet, glumes armed with short, tubercle-based spines,lemmas awn-less, palea minute.
Himalayan Health Care


Habit, Soil and Climate

Although the plant grows in all kinds of soils, a rich well-drained sandy loam is considered best for harvesting the roots. The grass grows luxuriantly in areas with an annual rainfall of 1,000 to 2,000 mm at temperatures ranging from 21°C to 44.5°C although it can also grow at much higher and lower temperatures. V. zizanioides has been successfully established at 42° N. Lat., North of Rome, where it has survived snow for 18 days and−11°C (including eight months when the minimum tempera- tures periodically dropped below freezing) at an altitude of 650 m with winter rainfalls of 1,100+ mm. It has been successfully established at an altitude of 2,300 m in the Himalayas ( Pauri. UP. India), where it not only withstood extreme cold, but survived heavy grazing by goats, deer and other livestock on poor, eroded mountain soils. Wherever V. zizanioides has been planted it has grown. If grown for its essential oil, it requires its natural habitat of humid to sub-humid tropical conditions and alluvial or recent Andosols (volcanic ash soils that release the roots easily). By taking this plant from its natural habitat, where as a hydrophyte it put all its energy into seed produc- tion, and planting it in conditions ranging from the semi-arid tropics to the temperate zone, it functions like a xerophyte putting all its energy into a deep root system necessary for survival (Greenfield, 1988).

Habit: Perennial grass up to 2 m high with a strong dense and mainly vertical root
system often measuring more than 3 m. It is by nature a hydrophyte, but often thrives
under xerophytic conditions.

Climate: Temperature– Mean 18–25°C; Mean coldest month 5°C; Absolute mini-
mum–15°C. When the ground freezes the grass usually dies. Growth normally starts
again above 12°C. Hot summer temperatures (25°C+) are required for rapid growth.
Rainfall: as low as 300 mm, but above 700 mm preferable; the plants will survive
total drought, but normally require a wet season of at least three months. Ideal con-
ditions include a well spread monthly rainfall.
Humidity: although the plants grow better under humid conditions, they can also do
well under low humidity conditions.
Sunshine: the plants are difficult to establish under shade; however, when shade is
removed, growth recovery is rapid.
Soil: the plants grow best in deep sandy loam soils. However, plants will grow on
most soil types ranging from black cracking vertisols through to red alfisols. They will grow on rubble, comprising both acid (pH 3) and alkaline (pH 11) soils, and are tolerant to high levels of toxic minerals e.g. aluminium and manganese (550 ppm).
Copyright © 2002 Taylor and Francis
These grasses will survive complete submergence in water for up to three months and
will grow on both shallow and deep soils.
Altitude: plants will grow at altitudes up to and over 2,000 m, growth being
constrained by low temperatures at higher altitudes.
Introduction to the Genus Vetiveria 1

I had the good fortune to travel in the company of Dr. Mohan Mashewari, one of the foremost researchers in the aromatic components, several years ago in the state of Uttar Pradesh. As we traveled along a small country road, he instructed the driver to pull off to the side where wild vetiver was growing in great abundance near a railroad track. There he proceeded to pull out of the ground a small clump of wild vetiver grass with roots intact as it grows in North India. It was my first introduction with the living plant. Looking at this humble denizen of the plant world one could hardly conceive that in its roots was to be found an aromatic elixir that is the very essence of mystery and depth. Hundreds of tiny fibrous rootlets radiate off the main stalk and thread their way through the soil in which it lives. These tiny rootlets someone absorb from the soil in which they dwell components which they then convert into the molecules producing the volatile oil which is dearly loved by people in India and many other parts of the world. Because of the intimate contact between the earth and these fibrous rootlets one will find that at every place this plant grows oils distilled from them will be unique and special. It takes on the fragrance of the earth in which it grows. It is such a complex material that those who have devoted their lives to quality control analysis are sometimes baffled as to what to say about it. The list of components that have been identified exceed 200 and there are many trace ones that have yet to be discovered.

And of greatest importance is the emotional and psychological effect the essence has upon the heart and mind. It is so complex in its profile that one cannot properly explore it in a session of 1 hour. The attention needs to be brought into the sphere of its redolent radiation again and again for the full effect to penetrate into ones being. This oil contains within itself the mysteries of the earth and while drawing ones attention to that zone, also has a unique exhilaring effect that points one towards the stars. Perhaps this unique effect is due to its "cooling effect" for which it is renowned. Special shades and mats are woven to put over windows in the hot interior zones of India. They are sprinkled with water throughout the day so that when the slightest breeze blows the house is cooled with the refreshing aroma of vetiver roots. Elixirs are also made with the oil. A few drops of the essence are dropped upon baked clay and then immersed in boiling water to which has been added a bit of raw sugar. When cooled it is imbibed to cool the body in the hotest part of the day.
It is no wonder that the oil has been given the name of the Oil of Tranquility.
White Lotus Aromatics Newsletter

History
Vetiver grass, in particular the species Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash, has been known to be a useful plant for thousands of years. It is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings and is also part of Hindu mythology. Rural people have used it for centuries for the oil from its roots, for the roots themselves, and for the leaves. Its center of origin appears to be in southern India and it has spread around the world through its byproduct value as a producer of an aromatic oil for the perfume industry. In the latter part of the last century and also in this century the sugar industry particularly in the West Indies, the off shore eastern African islands such as Mauritius and Reunion, and Fiji, has used the grass for its conservation properties (Grimshaw, 1998).
Vetiver grass has grown in the tropics over many centuries (NRC, 1993) and it has been mentioned among inscriptions on Kananj king copper plates since 1103 A.D. It has been cultivated longest for the scented oil produced by its roots as well as for the ability of the plant to retain soil and prevent erosion. For over two hundred years there has been an irresolved controversy over both the naming of the genus and the species of this grass. Hence, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Andropogon grasses were frequently confused with each other and even after a great deal of library work and search for original specimens, as documentary evidence, in the older herbaria, Stapf stated that there could still be some confusion in the taxonomy of these grasses. Even today many doubts remain on the systematical identification of the species. Another source of doubt is raised by the fact that the cultivars of vetiver found in other parts of the world have been named individually by the different people; for example, the species called V. nigritana in Nigeria could in fact be V. zizanioides, and until we have some better means of distinguishing the species from each other the true identity remains doubtful (Greenfield, 1988).

Historically, vetiver grass was known by the peoples of Northern India by the popular names “Khas Khas” or “Vetiver.” Other Sanskrit names which have been inter- preted in the same sense are “Virana”, “Lamajjaka” (or “Lamaja”) and “Bala”. The actual term used is ‘turushka-danda’, which Babu Rajendrala’la Mitra interprets as meaning ‘aromatic reed’ (turushka= aromatic substance, danda= stick), and hence also ‘Khas Khas’. The latter term, now so commonly used, is supposed to be of Persian origin, but this appears doubtful (Greenfield, 1988). It has long been known that the roots, but not the leaves, are fragrant and are sold in the bazaars to prepare lotions, infusions and decoctions for medical purposes. In Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the grass has
been known since the seventeenth century as“Saewaendara”, a name surviving to the present day. In 1700, it was known in Madras under the Tamil name of“Vettyveer” (=Vetiver), the vernacular name by which the grass is best known in Europe. A list of other common names is given later in this chapter.

Ground roots of vetiver have been used since ancient times to prepare odorous pads, while in woven form they provided perfumed strings, fans or curtains protecting from summer heat and producing a pleasant smell when watered or pushed by the wind. In infusion, roots have been used to provide a refreshing drink against fevers or stomach diseases. Used for topical applications, vetiver preparations are known to relieve pains caused by skin burns and warm sensations. The essential oil was used against cholera because of its emetic properties. Chapter 5 describes some of the main pharmacologi- cal properties of vetiver oil together with ethnopharmacological data. Nevertheless it is because of its odorous essential oil, used particularly in perfumery, that the plant is famous (Peyron, 1989).
Introduction to the Genus Vetiveria 1


Essential Oil Production

Vetiver oil is one of the perfumers’ most basic traditional materials. It possessesfixative properties that help to render long lasting the effects of the composition in which it is used. The oil’s aroma is basically of a heavy, woody, earthy character, pleasant and extremely persistent (Sreenath et al., 1994). It is difficult to reproduce with synthetic aromatic chemical formulations because of the complexity of the molecular structures. No identical synthetic substances can be found in commerce. Chemical research has produced a set of generally woody smelling molecules, more or less recalling the typical vetiver smell e.g. vetiver cedar smell Vertofix (widely used) and others with a woody-cedar note; various vetiver-like notes (quinolein, nootkatone,floro-pal, fhubofix, etc.) and other woody subtances such as b-isolongifolene (Peyron, 1989).

Elite germlines of Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash have long been cultivated for their fragrant roots, which contain the essential Oil of Vetiver. This oil is clearly dis- tinguished chemically and in commerce from Khus oil, which comes from natural (fertile) populations of V. zizanioides in the Ganges Plains of North India (CSIR, 1976). The Oil of Vetiver has long been produced pantropically through Vetiver cuttings. Within the past decade, vetiver occurrence has increased enormously through wide- spread plantings (over 100 countries) to form hedges for stabilizing soil and control- ling waterflow.
Introduction to the Genus Vetiveria 1


ESSENTIAL OIL IN ROOTS OF VETIVERIA ZIZANIOIDES (L.) NASH EXSMALL FROM BANGLADESH
Highly Volatile Constituents of Vetiveria zizanioides RootsGrown under Different Cultivation Conditions



Traditional Use

India is inhabited by a wide variety of tribal populations who dwell in forested areas and depend on
surrounding resources for their livelihood. Among the several hundreds of plants which are gathered by
tribal populations, Khas grass, particularly in North Indian plains, takes a leading role. Various tribes use
the different parts of the grass for many of their ailments such as mouth ulcer, fever, boil, epilepsy, burn,
snakebite, scorpion sting, rheumatism, fever, headache, etc. The Santhal tribes of Bihar and West
Bengal use the paste of fresh roots for burn, snakebite and scorpion sting, and a decoction of the roots as
a tonic for weakness; the Lodhas of West Bengal use the root paste for headache, rheumatism and
sprain, and a stem decoction for urinary tract infection; the Mandla and Bastar tribes of Madhya Pradesh
use the leaf juice as anthelmintic; the tribes of the Varanasi district inhale the root vapour for malarial
fever. The root ash is given to patients for acidity by the Oraon tribe. Likewise, there are very many
different applications of the plant for different ailments among different ethnic tribes (Jain 1991; Singh &
Maheshwari 1983).

Apart from the medicinal uses, the culms along with the panicles form a good broom for sweeping. The
culms and leaves are also extensively used by the tribes and villagers for thatching their huts, mud walls,
etc. Some tribes (in Kerala) use the mats of the roots and leaves as bed for a cooling effect (Table 2 &
3).
Root mats for door, window screens during summer for cooling effect
For desert coolers in summer in North India
As eco-friendly soil binders
Roots for preparing Sharbat (sherbet) or soft drink during summer, especially in North India
Socio-economic life of the rural population in India
Dried roots for scenting clothes
Dried culms as brooms and for thatching
Pulp of the plant for paper and straw board
VETIVERIA ZIZANIOIDES (LINN.) NASH A MULTIPURPOSE ECO-FRIENDLY GRASS OF INDIA

Wild Vetiver Harvest
As I am sitting here at my desk writing this article I have in my hand a bottle of this exquisite essence. This particular sample is prepared by a close friend of ours, Mr. Manoj Avasthi who has lived in Kannauj all his life and is a professional perfumer himself. We have engaged him to personally supervise the preparation of the finest ruh khus that can be made. His work begins during the month of October when the harvest of the roots begins in earnest. This can only be done when the monsoon season is over as the roots need to dry in the ground before they are harvested. In order to understand the
whole process from start to finish we requested him to actually visit one of the places where the work of digging the roots was going on. He journeyed deep into the heart of Uttar Pradesh and far off the main road to photograph this interesting part of the story. It is hard for many Westerners to imagine that there is much of India which is still uncultivated, but it is so. In such open lands wild vetiver can be found growing in vast areas many acres in extent. The people who do the harvest are what Indians called the Advasi or tribal people, the original inhabitants of India.

They come to these areas and basically camp out for several months while the harvest is going on. They build small huts out of readily available materials, including the overground of the vetiver grass which they use as thatch. In the ground they dig out small fire places where they place their vessels for cooking their simple meals. When the day begins they get out their hand made tools for prying the vetiver out from the ground. Before root removal takes place the above ground portion is removed so that only 15-20 centimeters remains. The stalks of the aerial portions are also collected and
used for a variety of purposes including the building of elabortate structures for religious ceremonies. The main implement for this is a stout long-handled pry bar which they plunge into the ground and then lift to bring the roots to the surface. Sometimes a heavy steel pronged fork is also employed for root removal. When removing the clumps only about 60% of the roots come loose and many times the harvesters will redig the area to recover as many loose rootlets as possilbe. The soil is then knocked away from the roots against heavy stones or wooden locks. Women sit and remove the remaining aerial parts of the grasswith a machete leaving just enough so that the ball of roots will remain intact. They then neatly tie each section of roots into a neat bundle. It is a real work of art to see how deftly they do this and how beautiful each bundle looks. Smaller bundles are then collected into larger bundles and affixed to both ends of a carrying pole, which men then transport to a central collection area.

After several weeks of digging and bundling by which time a significant stock of vetiver bundles has been collected, buyers for the roots come to the remote location where the Advasi's are working and purchase the roots. They are carefully counted, weighed and loaded into bullock carts which then transport them to the nearest paved road where transport trucks await their arrival. From here the roots are transported to Kannauj where they are brought to the various distilleries which prepare either Ruh Khus by traditional means or by the modern steam distillation technique. The buying of roots is a very important part of the years calendar for the distillers of Kannauj. Some of the distillers who use the "deg" are very particular about the roots they purchase as there units are small enough to use one type of root from a particular area. It is known to the cities perfumers which districts have roots with specific aromatic characteristics. Those who are true conniseurs of vetiver can also select roots which have been harvested at the proper time. Ones that are 18-24 months old are considered the finest from the quality of oil they contain. The finer nuances of the art of selection are well known to
those who produce oils for select buyers. Often oil is produced on contract for a specific high-end market and when this is the case, the "deg" method is almost always perferred. If a more generic oil is acceptable, the steam distillation technique can produce a nice oil. In this case from 500 lbs to 1000 lbs of material are charged into each still which means that they often have to mix roots from different areas as well as ones in different states of maturity. Perhaps the lines of difference are very fine between the "deg" khus oil, produced in small batches, and that produced by larger steam distillation units,
but there is little doubt that there is a real old-world charm that comes from the former technique. I do not know how much that adds to the quality of the oil in terms of its scientific analysis but I think that one can "sense" the difference in that it is a labor intensive art and craft which I hope we can preserve.
White Lotus Aromatics Newsletter

Vetiver-Ayurveda
Vetiveria zizanioides
Ushira
Vetiver
Botanical Name (Latin): Vetiveria zizanioides
Sanskrit Name: Ushira
Common Name (English): Vetiver
Type of Herb: Ayurvedic
Effect on the Doshas: Vata: - Pitta: - Kapha: -Rasa (Taste): madhura, kashya
The six flavors are: Madhura (sweet) Amla (sour) Lavana (salty) Katu (pungent) Tikta (bitter) Kasaya (astringent)
Virya (Energy): shita
The two energies are: Shita (cold) Ushna (hot)
Vipak (Post-Digestive Action): katu
Guna (Qualities):
The twenty gunas or qualities of all substances are: Guru (heavy) Manda (dull) Shita (cold) Ushna (hot) Snigdha (unctuous) Slaksna (smooth) Sandra (dense) Mridu (soft) Sthira (stable) Suksma (subtle) Visada (non-slimy) Laghu (light) Tikshna (sharp) Rooksha (un-unctuous, dry) Khara (rough) Drava (liquid) Kathina (hard) Sara (unstable) Sthula (gross) Piccila (slimy)
Prabhava (Special Potency):
Dhatu Affinity (Tissues Entered):
The seven dhatus or tissues are: Rasa (plasma, lymph), Rakta (red blood cells), Mamsa (muscle tissue), Meda (adipose tissue), Ashti (bone tissue), Majja (bone marrow, nervous tissue , connective tissue), Shukra (male reproductive tissue), Artava (female reproductive tissue)

Pharmacological Action: cools, calms, soothes, alterative, antiemetic, antipytetic, diuretic, antiinflammatory, aromatic, volatile OL = acrid, refdrigerant, aromatic, diaphoretic, depurative, digestive, carminative, stomachic, antiemetic, constipating, hematinic, hemostatic, expectorant, diuretic, febrifuge, stimulant, anthelmintic, emmenagogue, alexeteric, soporific, antispasmodic, tonic

Indications (Uses):vomiting, thirst, burning sensation, toxins in blood (such as urea, cholesterol, tri-glycerides, bacteria), dysuria, UTI, pericarditis, cystitis, urethritis, burning urethra, urethritis, heart burn, acidity, kives, rash, kidney stone, crystal urea, hepatitis, flu, fever, nausea, pregnancy, motion sickness OL = vitiated conditions of pitta and vËta, hypersipsia, burning sensation, ulcers, skin diseases, nausea, obstinate vomiting, dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, anemia, hemorrhage, hemoptysis, cough, asthma, hiccough, strangury, bilious fever, gout, lumbago, sprains, halitosis, cephalalgia, spermatorrhea, hysteria, insomnia, diarrhea, hyperhidrosis, amentia, cardiac debility, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, helminthiasis, spasmodic affections, erysipelas, emaciation, general debility
THE AYURVEDIC INSTITUTE

Medicinal Uses
Vetiver essential oil is a circulatory and endocrine gland stimulant, while having a calming effect on the mind. In other words, it stimulates and balances function, while putting the body to rest. The chemical picture this essential oil paints is one that supports relaxation, the immune system, and inflammation.
Immune Response
Vetiver has the ability to stimulate a weakened immune system when stress has dampened the energy. It also has the capacity to regulate an over stimulated immune system, especially in an allergic response. In my experience, it has great effect on inflammation due to allergic response as well as low immune function when combined with essential oils of lavender, myrrh and eucalyptus, with a hint of mint. I have clients apply the formula under their nose, where they can inhale it deeply. Do this for a few minutes every 15 minutes, or until relief is felt. This can work to aid an allergic reaction, but should not be substituted for medication in the event of a life-threatening allergy. To stimulate a weakened immune system, apply the same formula under the nose 4 times daily and inhale for a few minutes each application.
Emotional Attributes
The frequency of vetiver oil is slow. If you meditate and sit with the scent, it makes a wave through the body that changes ones own frequency to a more tranquil and calm state. The positive effect vetiver has on the immune system is due in part to its ability to calm and cool the body. Vetiver is specifically indicated for stress and over extension emotionally and physically. It acts to sedate the nervous system and lessen what feels like an attack on the body, thus chemically balancing our reaction. Conditions of nervous debility, sexual frigidity due to stress, excessive heat, and tension are relieved by a combination of vetiver and rose, with a bit of atlas cedar wood. For a more sedative effect, substitute sandalwood for atlas cedar wood. For a more aphrodisiac effect, combine vetiver with sandalwood, ylang-ylang, sweet orange and cinnamon.

Sensitive Skin

With sensitive immune systems and emotions comes sensitive skin for some. Vetiver’s anti-inflammatory effects and soothing nature also work on dry, irritated skin. For a general formula in such cases, try a combination of essential oils of vetiver, yarrow or german chamomile, and a hint of myrrh and rose in an infused oil of comfrey or calendula. Skin conditions can be tricky, so it is not always as easy as a general formula. But it is worth a try.

How to Make a Cooling Foot and Hand Spray

Salves and lotions can be heavy in summer. To benefit from the emotional and heat relieving effects of vetiver, I recommend making a hand/wrist/foot spray that can also be used all over the body. You will need a glass spray bottle, which can be obtained from Community Pharmacy or Whole Foods. The ingredients I use are distilled water, witch hazel, and essential oils of lavender, peppermint and vetiver.

These essential oils restore balance and tranquility after a day in the heat. Peppermint calms, increases vitality, and brings clarity to a cluttered and swollen mind after a hot day outside. Lavender and vetiver calm as well. They clear the fog of heat that weighs heavy on the emotions, for an overheated body causes emotions to run hot as well. Together they support us in our over sensitivity, nervous debility and stress that come from the heat. They can also aid a heat headache when inhaled deeply for a few minutes at a time until the desired result is felt.

To make the spray in a 4 oz. bottle, use 2 parts distilled water to 1 part witch hazel. Add 15 drops of vetiver, about 7 drops of lavender and 5 drops of peppermint. If you would like one scent to be more pronounced then the others, play with the formula to decide what you like best. And feel free to add something different.
Red Root Mountain School of Botanical Medicine

3.2.2 From Roots: It has been well known since ancient times that vetiver possesses aromatic
roots. A pleasant aroma is released from vetiver root dug from the soil and hanged in the shade. In
India the dried roots are used to give fragrance to linen clothes while the root mass is used as a blind
to cool down the heat of the summer, especially in northern India (Sastry 1998). The blind, known
as ‘Tatti’, is woven from the wiry, fibrous root of vetiver. The vetiver blind is continually doused
with water throughout the day, turning the hot wind into a scented cooling breeze, which passes
through the soaked vetiver blind, releasing a bitter-sweet aroma. The scented vetiver roots are also
used for making fans, cloth hangers, and are mixed with other kind of flower scents and leaves for
making sachets.
OTHER USES, AND UTILIZATION OF VETIVER

Indigenous Uses of Vetiver
Indigneous Uses of Vetiver

The oil is not restricted to perfumery use. It has played an important part in indigenous medicine since antiquity. Perhaps its most reknowned use is as a refrigerant. During the hot summer months the oil is added to bath water or directly applied to the skin to reduce the effects of the external heat.. The oil is also used to treat flatulence, colic and obstinate vomiting. It is said to be useful when applied locally for sprain, rheumatism and lombago. The hydrosol is widely used in preparing a delicious sherbet which is a favorite summer time drink which quenches thirst and cools the body temperature. This hydrosol also finds its way into a great variety of regional dishes, especially sweets.

The dried roots themselves are widely used to make a number of useful household items. Indian housewives like to layer them in amongst their clothes both to repel insects and to impart their sublime fragrance to the material with which they come in contact. In South India, they are woven into mats which impart a cooling effect when slept upon. The most renowned use to which the roots are put is for making screens which, since ancient times have been hung over windows during the hot months. During the day these "khuschiks" are periodically sprinkled with water so that when any chance breeze blows through them a cooling fragrance is imparted to the air. It is one of the most unique forms of "air conditioning" I have ever heard of. This cottage industry is still very much alive in North India. In the sacred city of Nathdwara, Rajasthan where the ancient temple of Shri Nath Ji is to be found, the tradition of using the Khus mats to cool the temple compound is praciticed in all its varied dimensions. On the lovely web site created by Bhagwat Shah a fine description is given of the important role Khus mats play in worshipping the diety.(http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/2425/summer.htm)

"Khas reeds are a natural coolant and have been used in India to cool the interiors of houses for centuries. Mats of the khas reeds are often used to cover the roof, doors and windows to keep out the sun and cool the air. It also adds a touch of the "exotic" by scenting the cool air with its special natural perfume. As in the ancient royal palaces,Shri Nathji's palace is well sealed with thick mats of the fragrant reed. This blocks out the scorching sun and helps to keep the dust out of the inner sanctum. To assure it's potency in keeping the interior cool, an army of servants are constantly engaged in sprinkling the mats with ample amounts of water. When drenched with water, the khas emits cool sweet fragrance, carried around the various chambers by the summer breeze. Large manually operated ceiling fans stir the fragrant air, as a servant pulls the cord back and forth from outside the inner sanctum. Hand held fans are also regularly used to cool the immediate surroundings of the Lord. Some of the fans in the inner sanctum are also made of khas, and are doused with copious amounts of cool fragrant waters from silver fountains.

Imitation pavilions of coloured khas are set up in the inner sanctum to delight and cool Shri-Ghanshyam. Fragrance of this most ancient of Indian air-conditioning unit also lends it self to the culinary delights of summer, for khas sherbets are per-annually popular with India's masses and their Gods."

When we visited Nathdwara in July 1995 I was able to see exquisite miniature examples of the Khus Pavilions created for the worship of Shri Nath Ji. These were sold to pilgrims so they could create place them upon their home alters and recreate the experience which they gained while in the actual precincts of the temple. We were also shown clay water pots wrapped with khus roots. As the water cools in the pots and slowly evaporates from the tiny pores contained in the clay, the roots absorb the moisture and perfume the homes in which they are kept with their fine fragrance.

The rich, mysterious vetiver fragrance, known as the "aroma of tranquility" in the East is a wonderful gift to mankind from the botanical kingdom. Its aesthetic and therapeutic value has been appreciated for thousands of years and hopefully will continue to provide enjoyment and healing virtues for future generations. Its story is intimately interwoven with the lives of many people; collectors, distillers, and users. When we contemplate the exquisite beauty of any such oil, we can greatly deepen our level of appreciation if we endeavor to connect ourselves with all the hard work that went into producing each precious drop. When our thoughts dwell on how the plant has been brought into being by a long evolutionary process in nature's alchemical laboratory, we can further refine our awareness of the oils unique qualities. When such sensitive thoughts appear in our heart and mind we will undoubtedly contact those wonderful feelings of joy, and purity which the world of fragrance produces in the heart and mind.
White Lotus Newsletter

Multiple Uses of Vetiver

No comments:

Post a Comment