Ushira, Vetiver, Vetiveria Zizanioides

Description of the Ushira

Ushira (Vetiver) is known as nectar in summers as it lightens all health issues related to heat and summer. The scientific name of the Ushira plant is Vetiveria zizanioides. It is famous with the name of khus. These are known as perennial grass that can grow up to one to two meters high with wide clumps. Ushira tillers are known as stem produced by grass plants. The clumps or tillers arise from rhizomes. The clumps can be grown up to 8 feet. These tillers are strong and stiff. The rhizomes are so small and do not run out. The lodging is very low in these. Roots of the plants are spongy, stout and strong type. These are with aromatic character. The root system of the plant is somewhat massive but compact, structured and very strong. It grows about 2 feet on both sides of the plant but it can acquire depth up to 8 feet. The leaves of the plant can grow up to 120 to 125 cm long and 0.8 cm wide. The leaves are narrow, keel and erect with rough margins. The inflorescence panicles are 15 to 30 cm long with 2.5 to 5.0 cm long whorl branches. These are purple brown in color. The spikelet are of grey, green or purple color, 1/8-1/4 inch long with three stamens.

General Description

Ushira is also famous with the name of Khus Khus grass. This is the best known ayurvedic herb used for pacifying pitta dosha. It is also mentioned in Vedas. It has been known as Gandhatrna. It is also mentioned in charak samhita and sushruta samhita.

Ushira is known as Vetiveria zizanioides, its scientific and botanical name. It belongs to the Graminae family. This tufted grass present throughout the plains of India up to an elevation of 1200 m. It is known for haematinic, expectorant, digestive, anthelmintic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, diuretic, carminative, stomachic, antispasmodic, antiasthmatic, anti-oxidant, anti-arthritic activity and antigout properties. Its roots are used for cooling action, to cool down brain and in treatment of ulcers. It is also used to cure problems like anemia, amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea. The oil of the plant tends to calm stress, anxiety, insomnia and nervous tension.

This plant oil and other parts contain phytochemicals like Calarene,-gurjunene, aamorphene, benzoic acid, furfurol, vetivene, Khusimone, Calacorene, ß-humulene, a-longipinene, dselinene, d-cadinene, valencene, vetivenyl vetivenate, terpinen-4-ol, 5-epiprezizane, Khusimene, a-muurolene, epizizanal, 3-epizizanol, Khusimol, Isokhusimol, Valerenol, ß-vetivone and a-vetivone.

Classification

  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Subkingdom - Tracheobionta
  • Superdivision - Spermatophyta
  • Division - Magnoliophyta
  • Class - Liliopsida
  • Subclass - Commelinidae
  • Order - Cyperales
  • Family - Graminae
  • Genus - Vetiveria
  • Species - Zizanioides

Habitat

Ushira is cultivated in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka India and Malaysia. It grows in the tropical areas of Asia, Africa, Australia, India, China, Brazil, Haiti, Indonesia and Guatemala. It is also produced in the areas of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Jamaica, Japan, Angola, Belgium, Argentina and British Guiana. In India, it grows in the regions of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Assam. In India approximately 20-25 tons of oil is produced annually.

Names of the Ushira

  • Sanskrit name - Ushira, Amrnala, Veerana, Virani, Veeratara, Valaka, Balaka
  • English name - Khas Khas grass, Kus Kus grass, Vetiver
  • Hindi name - Khas, Khas-Khas, Khus-Khus, Garara
  • Bengali name - Khas, Khas-Khas, Khus-Khus, Venaghas
  • Gujarati name - Valo
  • Marathi name - Vala
  • Telugu name - Kuruveeru, Vettiveellu, Vettiveerum
  • Tamil name - Vattiver
  • Kannada name - Vattiveeru, Laamancha, Kaddu, Karidappasajje Hullu
  • Malyalam name - Ramaccham, Vettiveru
  • Kannada name - Lavancha
  • Fijian name - Mulimuli
  • French name - Chiendent odorant, Vetiver
  • Portuguese (Brazil) name - Patchuli-falso
  • Spanish name - Zacate violeta, pacholi
  • Tongan name - Ahisiaina

Ayurvedic Properties

Hindi / Sanskrit English
Rasa Tikta, Madhura Taste Bitter, Sweet
Guna Laghu, Ruksha Physical Property Light, Dry
Virya Sheet Potency Cold
Vipaka Katu Metabolic Property (After Digestion) Pungent

Effects on Doshas

It balances vata and pitta doshas.

Classical Categorization

Charak Samhita Sushruta Samhita Vagbhata
  • Chardinigrahana - Anti-emetic group of herbs
  • Shukrasodhana - Semen, sperm cleansing and quality improving group of herbs
  • Stanyajanana - Group of herbs promoting lactation
  • Daha Prasamana - Burning sensation relieving group of herbs
  • Varnya - Group of herbs useful in improving complexion
  • Angamardaprasamana - Bodyache relieving group of herbs
  • Tikta Skandha - Bitter tasting group of herbs
  • Pittasamsamana - Pitta pacifying group of herbs
  • Eladi Gana
  • Sarivadi
  • Sarivadi

Ancient Verse of Ushira

Ancient Verse of Ushira

Bhavprakash nighantu edition of 1998: verse 86-87, page no-239

It states the names and properties of Ushira. There is a root of viran name grass which is known as khus. It is known as usher, nalad, amritaal, sevya and samagandhika.

It is digestive, cold in potency and stops bleeding. It is light, bitter and sweat in taste. It is good for fever, vomiting, addiction, kapha pitta diseases, blood impurities, toxins, heat in the body, skin diseases, difficulties in urination and wounds.

References

The Bhavprakash nighantu with elaborated Hindi commentary by Padmashri prof. K.C. Chunekar, edited by Dr. G.S. Pandey: Edition of 1998, verse 86-87, page no.239.

Practical uses of Ushira

  • It is used as blood purifier, so helps to reduce extra water from blood and plays cardio protective role.
  • The herb is helpful in treating disorders like epistaxis and diaphoresis.
  • Ushira helps to manage acid production, gastric secretions and strengthens the stomach.
  • It is helpful in curing digestive problems like indigestion, appetite and acidity.
  • This herb treats the problems of anorexia, diarrhea and fever.
  • It is very useful in treating respiratory disorders like asthma, hiccups and cough.
  • Ushira is nerve relaxant, helps to calm and strengthen brain and nerves. So very helpful in problems such as unconsciousness, vertigo and brain disorders.
  • It is very useful in problem of thirst and temperature associated fevers.
  • The herb is beneficial in improving skin glow and texture.
  • It acts as antidote and also helpful in the case of tuberculosis.

Parts Used

  • Roots
  • Vetiver oil

Dosage

  • Powder - 3-6 grams
  • Decoction - 50-100 ml
  • Aqua-cold infusion - 50 ml

Ayurvedic Products from Ushira

Planet Ayurveda has some herbal formulations in which Ushira is used as herb.

1. Kumkumadi Thailam

It is known as complexion promoter oil. Kumkumadi thailam helps to maintain healthy skin and blood circulation. It balances tridoshas. This thailam is 100% natural and safe for use.

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2. Yograj Guggul

It helps to maintain digestion, metabolism, muscles and joints pain. Yograj guggul maintains the equation of all three doshas. It is very useful in treating various types of arthritis.

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