Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash: A Magic Bullet to Attenuate the Prevailing Health Hazards

  • Asfia Shabbir
  • M. Masroor A. Khan
  • Bilal Ahmad
  • Yawar Sadiq
  • Hassan Jaleel
  • Moin Uddin


Amidst the haze surfacing the earth with the occurrence of ever-increasing diseases, indigenous plant remedies stand as the only ray of hope with its heroic therapeutic properties. Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides L. Nash), a quintessential medicinal and aromatic plant (MAP), is known to possess miraculous therapeutic properties and distinct base note characteristics. The plant stockpiles its essential oil (EO) in the roots which serves as the wellhead of the key natural input to the proliferating cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical, and perfumery industries. The roots exhibit a two-way benefit by forming an intertwined network sustaining the environment as well as producing essential oil, which is highly valued for its aromatic and biological properties. Moreover, the plant seems to be best suited to the adverse conditions of today because of its morphological adaptations. The leaves are adapted such that they can survive stresses such as drought-desiccation, salinity, temperature, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, etc., while roots are so dense, long, and lacy that they interlock into massive curtain-like structure forming an underground network most suitable for soil and water conservation, land rehabilitation and gully control, slope stabilization, disaster mitigation, improvement of the interface of water and structures, water quality, remediation of polluted sites, agricultural uses, and other applications that are unrelated to the forgoing. The phenomenal nature of vetiver is realized because of its multifarious utilities. The roots as well as aboveground parts are known to benefit almost all segments of humankind. Vetiver oil has distinctive rich balsamic tonality indicating that the EO is mainly composed of highly complex volatile sesquiterpene and its derivatives. Apart from its direct applications in perfumery industry, vetiver oil in its dilute form is extensively used commercially in food and cosmetic industries and aromatherapy. Furthermore, the essential oil is reported to greatly underpin pharmaceutical industry as it exhibits anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antidiabetic, anticataleptic, anti-arthritic, sedative, calming, antidiuretic, antimicrobial, antifungal, herbicidal, insecticidal, antioxidant, and even anticancer activities. The following section highlights the botanical information, update of essential oil composition, economics, extraction, secondary metabolites biosynthesis, cellular compartmentalization, ethnobotanical significance, and their therapeutic properties discovered and proved in the past decades and their potential for future exploitation.


Vetiver Medicinal and aromatic plants Therapeutic properties Secondary metabolites Cellular compartmentalization Anti-inflammatory Antioxidant Anticancer 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asfia Shabbir
    • 1
  • M. Masroor A. Khan
    • 1
  • Bilal Ahmad
    • 1
  • Yawar Sadiq
    • 1
  • Hassan Jaleel
    • 1
  • Moin Uddin
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Life Sciences, Department of BotanyAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia
  2. 2.Botany Section, Women’s CollegeAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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