5 Proven Health Benefits of Vetiver Oil (ADHD Included!)


In this article, you will learn about:

  1. Vetiver Oil's Complex Composition
  2. 5 Benefits of Vetiver Oil, including: ADHD Management, Anxiety Control, Lyme Prevention, Bug Repellant, and Chemotherapy Relief
  3. A Quick Word of Caution

Do you have vetiver oil in your essential oil cabinet yet? If you've already begun to use and enjoy fresh, herbaceous oils like lemongrass, vetiver simply must be next on your list.

Vetiver Oil's Complex Composition

Vetiver is a grass, not dissimilar to lemongrass and citronella. The root base – which is what is distilled for essential oil – is thick and matted. While growing, it can preserve soil structure, and harvested the root base is often traditionally used as a fragrant floor mat, among other varied uses. (1)

Vetiver essential oil's fresh, herbaceous scent and some of its applications reinforce its similarities to citronella and the like, though vetiver has many other properties that set it apart.

In fact, vetiver is one of the more complex essential oils. As one analysis described,

Vetiver essential oils (VEO) are important raw ingredients used in perfume industry, entering the formula of numerous modern fragrances. Vetiver oils are considered to be among the most complex essential oils, resulting most of the time in highly coeluted chromatograms whatever the analytical technique. (2)

Vetiver's complexity results in a wide variety of uses, while still retaining an enjoyable fragrance that most of the perfume industry utilizes.

5 Benefits of Vetiver

Vetiver oil is recommended in topical blends and dilutions, aromasticks and personal inhalersdiffusion, and surface treatment blends for bug control. 

With such a varied chemical composition, it is poised to affect us in a range of ways. Inhaled and diffused applications are ideal (more on that later), as well as diluted into topical and oral blends. Here are some of the more impressive ways to use vetiver.

1. ADHD Management

Like it or not, cases of ADHD are more prominent than ever, and our kids need ways to cope and manage their symptoms in order to become productive adults. Essential oils are portable, easy to use, and can be effective for relieving symptoms of ADHD and helping kids (or adults!) to focus.

While we often think of lavender as a calming oil, one study weighed the effects of lavender, cedarwood, and vetiver oils on children with ADHD. The study was small but the results were clear: vetiver was the strongest choice. (3)

This simply study only asked parents to help their children smell the oil right from the bottle a few times each day. Off the record because it wasn't part of the design, parents reported better attention and behavior from their children during the study period.

2. Anxiety Control

The direct effects of aromatherapy inhalation on the limbic system (responsible for reason and choices, among other things) make it a perfectly suited remedy and tool for conditions like ADHD and anxiety, which can be a trigger for ADHD and like concerns.

A 2015 in vitro study compared the effects of vetiver oil with diazepam, a commonly used anxiety prescription. Again, these preliminary results show vetiver to be quite effective. (4)

We're always excited to see more research confirming actions like this, but when all you have to do is inhale the aroma to test it for yourself, what have we got to lose?

3. Lyme Prevention

Lyme disease is a painful and difficult to treat disease that spreads like wildfire in “tick season,” especially in the south. It's hard to step outside without risking a tick bite. Some ticks carry Lyme disease from person to person, so their control is the first step in Lyme prevention and control.

To further complicate the problem, ticks have seemed to become resistant to much of our control measures.

Vetiver essential oil remains one of the substances that can still affect ticks. (5) Topical treatments as bug repellants are helpful, as well as sprays and treatments directly on surfaces where ticks may roam.

4. Bug Repellant

Ground and surface treatments with vetiver essential oil are not only warranted for ticks, but potentially for termites, as well. In a study of seven essential oils and their effects on termites, vetiver “decreased termite tunneling activity at concentrations as low as 5 micrograms/g sand.” (6)

Clove oil was also highly effective at both reducing tunneling and directly killing the termites.

Together with tick prevention and elimination, vetiver shows off its similarities to citronella and lemongrass in bug repelling effects. Treating vulnerable surfaces with a blended spray can be a quick, easy, non-toxic form of prevention.

5. Chemotherapy Relief

Some early testing is exploring the potential that the antioxidant levels in vetiver have to mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy. This difficult route of cancer treatment is sometimes necessary but always inflicts secondary damage. Researchers seem to be on the prowl for natural ways to combat this very unnatural treatment.

In this particular study, vetiver was administered orally to mice who were also given an injection of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. Presumably because of its antioxidant capacity, damage to DNA, kidneys, and marrow were slowed compared to those without the oil. (7)

This study should give cancer patients much hope, especially those who are taking drugs that cause toxicity!

Aromatic, internal and topical use of this strong antioxidant can be added to any essential oil cancer protocol.

A Quick Word of Caution

When we start to learn about all of the wide range of uses that essential oils offer, it's easy to want to try each of them in every way possible. Thankfully, this is neither necessary nor terribly advisable. There's no need to try to make an essential oil do more than it is known to do.

Vetiver is one that we know to be used effectively and extensively via topical, inhaled and oral preparations. This works out beautifully, because its internal use has been questioned for toxicity. Ultimately, the verdict was that low internal doses are fine. (8) As is the case with consuming all essential oils, dosage is key a drop or two goes a long way!

Safety & Contraindications

Are you sure you're using essential oils safely and effectively? Are you confused by dilutions and conversions?

 Let me help take out the guesswork and download my FREE roller bottle guide HERE.

Essential Oil Roller Bottle Dilution Guide

When it comes to drug interactions and contraindications, there are literally textbooks devoted to the study of essential oil safety and, as a trained researcher and doctor, I think it’s important to note that there is virtually no research out there discussing how essential oils interact with drugs in human clinical trials. This means that essential oil safety is still a wild frontier in the science community and no one really knows (for certain) how essential oils will interact with drugs or your body.

Nonetheless, properly diluting your essential oils is fundamental to safety and effectiveness because they are highly concentrated plant compounds. To help you along your journey, I have a created an easy-to-use dilution guide that you can download for FREE to make sure that all of your topical applications are safe and effective for the entire family. 

CLICK HERE to download my free EO Roller Bottle Dilution Chart! 

As with as medicine and natural therapies, this is only a guide and be sure to discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur and consult your physician immediately.


  1. http://www.plantsjournal.com/vol1Issue1/Issue_may_2013/6.pdf
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23522261
  3. http://files.meetup.com/1481956/ADHD%20Research%20by%20Dr.%20Terry%20Friedmann.pdf
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25553641
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26359641
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11521400
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25910835
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24650756



This post currently has 13 comments.

  1. Marcia
    August 14, 2017

    I simply can’t do without my Vetiver and Lavender spray at night. It has totally relieved my depression and anxiety. I sleep so well now.

  2. Lisa
    April 3, 2017

    I really do not understand why you say it is unsafe to take internally. To take caution, I get you can be liable, but it is a known tonic for treating sepsis internally. I would say if you could say chemo can be a necessary route for healing, I do not, but I cannot see condoning chemo and giving a warning on vetiver. We know the body can handle natural known agents but does not with unnatural man made chemicals.I for one am tired of the science world putting fear where it is not warranted and praising and promoting drugs with horrible side effects including death. I know tonics can release a lot of toxins when shedding dead bacteria but this by no means makes vetiver the culprit of demise. ( it does work for nerve pain I use it at night now to sleep three days I have finally been able to sleep. I do plan on taking internally when I have a organic therapeutic grade. If I remember I will get back if it is more affective that way. Right now I fun it on my feet at bed time. I am sure those who have nerve pain can imagine my relief. It does seem on the feet does not as effectively reach higher up like into the arms but like I said I am sleeping now. 🙂 it is not just sedation either I always wake around 2-4 am and that is when the pain makes it impossible to sleep, this aspect is gone just by rubbing it on my feet. Also put it on my sons wound it is said to promote healing.

    • Dr. Z
      April 3, 2017

      Hi Lisa, I didn’t say that it’s unsafe to take vetiver orally. Like all EOs, there are simple some safety concerns that people need to be aware of a dosage is key.

      Also, I am certainly NOT condoning chemotherapy. I’m not sure what you got that. If you’ve been following my work for any length of time, you’d know that I propose a naturally-minded integrative approach to healthcare. 🙂

  3. Paula
    March 26, 2017

    Ok to diffuse? I had heard it was too thick and could ruin it. THoughts?

    • Dr. Z
      March 26, 2017

      Nope. Works great – just a few drops. 🙂

    • Alicia
      June 9, 2017

      I diffused vetiver, usually with a citrus oil, in my classroom last year. Diffuser still works great. Classroom behavior improved.

  4. Laurie Lollar
    February 1, 2017

    Have veviter and I love it. Great for circulation.

  5. Wendoff
    November 2, 2016

    How about some blends and/or recipes to go with the articles?

    • Dr. Z
      November 21, 2016

      Yes, that’s what the Dr. Z’s Essential Oils Club Inner Circle is for!

      You can check that out here –> http://essentialoilsclub.info

  6. Kelly Smith
    October 27, 2016

    Are there any essential oils that can help raise cortisol levels? I noticed you had Frankincense listed as lowering cortisol. My test results indicate high cortisol at night and low during the day. I would like to try using oils to help regulate.

    • Customer Support
      December 9, 2016

      My apologies, but Dr. Z is legally prohibited from giving medical advice over email. He has, however, created a special Facebook group that can help as we have hundreds of members that are actively engaged in sharing testimonies of how they have overcome similar illnesses as yours. You can be part of it by joining his essential oil’s club here –> http://essentialoilsclub.info

  7. Lissie
    March 6, 2016

    I have been looking at some of your information on the EO pages. There have been some questions related to cancer and you have answered them with some links.
    However, it seems that all your links to cancer related pages have been removed (“page not found”)

    Why is that?

    • Dr. Z
      March 7, 2016

      Hello Lissie,

      We’ve been having problems with links not redirecting properly. No articles have been remove -you can find all of my EO articles here –> http://drericz.com/essential-oils/


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