Vetiver Grass

Moras (Chrysopogon Zizanioides) is a coarse, erect, tufted perennial, growing 1 to 2 meters high. Roots are fibrous and fragrant. Leaves are arranged in two rows, about 1 meter long, 1 centimeters or less in width, and folded. Panicles are terminal, erect, purple or greenish, about 20 centimeters long; the branches are slender, whorled, spreading or ascending, 5 to 12 centimeters long. Sessile spikelets are about 4 millimeters long and muricate; the awn of the fourth glume is very short or absent.

Vetiver oil is a constituent of high-grade perfumes and cosmetics. Used for making agarbattis, massage blends, soaps, soft drinks, pan masala. Oil is mixed in sorbets and beverages as flavoring agent. Oil claimed to have an aphrodisiac effect. Vetiver oil is also known as Oil of Tranquility, with a fragrance all of its own, and with no synthetic substitute. Annual world trade in vetiver oil is estimated around 250 tons (about $20-200 million a year). Main producers are Haiti, Indonesia, China, Japan, India, and Brazil, while main consumers are USA, Europe, India, and Japan.

Essential oil is extracted from roots by steam distillation; freshly harvested roots giving higher yield than stored roots, decreasing with increased period of storage. Low recovery of traditionally distilled oil fetches highest price in the perfumery market. Oil has been attributed various properties i.e., anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, aphrodisiac, cicatrizant, nervine, sedative, tonic and vulnerary. Over 150 compounds have been isolated and characterized from vetiver oil. The major portion of the oil consists of sesquiterpene alcohol. The chemical composition of vetiver essential oils from nine countries i.e., Brazil, China, Haiti, India, Java, Madagascar, Mexico, Reunion, and Salvador yielded 110 compounds, with characteristic constituents of ß-vetispirene (1.6-4.5%), khusimol (3.4-13.7%), vetiselineol (1.3-7.8%), and α-vetinone (2.5-6.3%).