Vetiver cultivation is conducive to the climatic conditions of Kerala. It belongs to the Poaceae family of bunch grass. It is mainly seen in India and Indonesia. It is cultivated in Africa and in some islands in the Pacific Ocean. By planting them on slanting land, soil erosion can be prevented. Also it brings in good money too. The fibre like roots of Vetiver helps in retaining soil.
The Aromatic and medicinal plant research station at Odakkali has 28 different types of Vetiver genetic varieties. ODV 3 is the best among them. Some varieties developed in Lucknow are sugandhadharini, gulabi, kesari and simvrudhi. The variety developed by NBPGR in Delhi is called, pusa hybrid 8. There are basically two varieties of Vetiver- South Indian and North Indian. Though more roots are found in South Indian variety, more essential oil is found in the other variety. It grows well even in unfertilized soil. It needs good amount of sunlight. It can even be grown in areas difficult to grow other plants. It needs only a little water. Pests don’t attack it much, and is very economical to cultivate with minimum care.
The labour force required for farming is less. Hence it is more profitable. The twigs of the plucked Vetiver is used for planting.
The area for planting has to be dug up well and add cow dung or any other organic pesticide as basal fertilizer. Make beds a little high and plant the twigs. Two twigs can be planted in a single hole. The best month for planting is June. The twigs must be 1.5 mts apart and 2 layers should be 2.5 mts apart. The twigs from plucked Vetiver soaked in water can be used for planting. Add per cent, 500 gms of rock phosphate, 150 gms of Potassium, have to be spread 3 times, and made into small mounds in the plant bed. Removing the top part of Vetiver is noted to have higher yield.
The brewed essential oil contains 45 to 60 pc vetiverol and 15 to 27 pc of vettivon. The paste made out of ground Vetiver is good for skin diseases. Vetiver oil is good for arthritis, pain relief, and swelling. Water boiled with Vetiver is good for health, excessive thirst, exhaustion, and stomach ailments. It helps in digestion and increasing the immunity of the body.
The timelimit for harvest is roughly 18 months.The leaves turn yellow. Tie up the top parts and dig up the bottom of the plant with a spade. Root is the most important part and hence it must be plucked carefully. The root can be washed well. It can be used once the water has drained off. Vetiver can be divided into 2 or 3 grades. The first is exclusively roots. The second has root and stem. The third has more of stem.
Keeping Vetiver in the house purifies the air. It keeps away mosquitoes and insects to an extent. It is used as an ingredient in ‘dahasamani’ (herbal mix used in drinking water) the processed root of Vetiver is used as scrub. This helps to ward of unpleasant smell and skin diseases. Using handfans made of it is good for asthma patients. Lying down on Vetiver mattress is good for various body pain issues. Vetiver and its oil is used in the making of various aromatic goods, beauty products, soaps and handicraft products. To reduce pollution and to prevent soil erosion, it is ideal to grow Vetiver.