Down to Earth with Vetiver and Angelica

Down to Earth with Vetiver and Angelica

As we slowly move towards spring, we can feel the stirrings of the earth in this time of new root growth. Now is the time for contemplating how to nurture the seeds that are sprouting in our lives. Lately, we are turning to earthy roots of Vetiver and Angelica for inspiration in our growth process.

 BELOW: Botanical drawing of an Angelica plant with a Vetiver root basket and scented balls.

Vetiveria zizanioides

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) is a grass that grows in tropical climates. Instead of spreading horizontally underneath the ground as many grasses do, Vetiver roots grow straight downward. We obtain the medical and aromatic properties from this part of the plant, as well as the volatile oil. The roots are dug, dried, then chopped and soaked in water to create the oil, which may take up to 24 hours! For us, it is a superior oil for pulling us back to earth, or maybe as the root growth suggests, helping us dig deeper into the nutritious soil of our lives.

Angelica archangelica

Angelica Root (Angelica archangelica) oil is also grounding but in a different way. The Angelica plant’s most distinguishing feature is its burst of flowers, which grow out of its leaves and create a majestic canopy above the plant. In its first year, it produces only leaves, and its stem can reach six feet high. In the second year, the umbrella-shaped burst of flowers appears in the summer. These flowers yield seeds, which also create an oil.

The scent of Angelica root oil is deep like Vetiver, but it also contains a sweetness that propels us to venture forth on the next expansion of our journey.

Together in equal proportions, they make a light and airy scent, as the tenacious Vetiver holds back the ethereal Angelica. Use it for meditation, wear it in a necklace, or use it in inhalers. Caution as Angelica is phototoxic, so avoid skin use if you’ll be going out in the sun. 

As you move onto new projects this year, use these oils to help keep you planted on earth while still reaching towards the sky.


Tidbits from Tony Burfield’s Second Edition Natural Aromatic Materials – Odours and Origins:

Vetiver (java type) – Red-brown to deep brown viscous liquid. Odour is heavy sweet woody earthy­ reminiscent of roots and wet soil with a rich undertone of precious wood. Long-lasting.  Dry-out is woody-earthy and creamy with a slight smoky aspect.

Angelica Root – It is a pale yellow to brown oil, usually darker than the seed oil, with a­ pungent, heady, fatty, liqueur odour with some fruitiness, and peppery aspect. Dry-out is tobacco, fatty, spicy/cumin-like.

Natural Aromatic Materials, Second Edition

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