Family • Gramineae - Andropogon zizanioides ( Linn.) Urban - VETIVER - Yan lan cao

Scientific names

Andropogon zizanioides ( Linn.) Urban
Andropogon muricatus Retz.
Andropogon nardus Blanco
Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty
Phalaris zizanioides Linn.
Vetiveria zizanioides Stapf.
Xiang gen cao (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

AFRICA: Khus-khus grass.
DANISH: Vetiverrod
DUTCH: Vetivergras, Akar wangie.
FRENCH: Chiendent odorant, Chiendent des Indes, Vétiver.
GERMAN: Vetivergras, Vetiverwurzel.
HINDI: Gandar, Khas khas.
ITALIAN: Gramigna indiana, Gramigna delle Indie.
KANNDA: Vetiveru
PORTUGUESE: Vetiver-da-India.
SANSKRIT: Reshira, Sugandhimula, Sugandhimuta, Ushira.
SPANISH: Zacate violeta
TAMIL: Vettiver
TELUGU: Kuruveru

Common names

Amoora (C. Bis.)
Amoras (Ilk.)
Anias de moras (Pamp.)
Giron (P. Bis.)
Ilib (Pamp.)
Mora (Bik., Bis.)
Moras (Tag., Bis., Bik.)
Moro (Tag.)
Narawasta (Sul.)
Rais de moras (Span.)
Rimodas (P. Bis.)
Rimora (Sbl.)
Rimoras (Bik.)
Tres-moras (Bis.)
Cuscus grass (Engl.)
Fragrant grass (Engl.)
Indian couch grass (Engl.)
Vetiver (Engl.)
Vetiver grass (Engl.)
Yan lan cao (Chin.)

Vetiver grass for animals.

Moras 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.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Studies on antihypertensive and antispasmodic activities of Andropogon muricatus Retz. / Gilani, Anwar H; Shah Abdul et al / Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, Volume 85, Number 9, 1 September 2007 , pp. 911-917(7)

(2) Vetiver oil extracts as termite repellent and toxicant / FreePatentsOnLine

(3) Sorting Chrysopogon names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(4) Phytotechnology, a Nature-Based Approach for Sustainable Water Sanitation and Conservation / Yulinah Trihadiningrum, Hassan Basri, Muhammad Mukhlisin, Denny Listiyanawati, Nurul ‘Ain bt Ab. Jalil /

(5) Greenhouse study on the phytoremediation potential of vetiver grass, Chrysopogon zizanioides L., in arsenic-contaminated soils. / Datta R, Quispe MA, Sarkar D. / Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2011 Jan;86(1):124-8. doi: 10.1007/s00128-010-0185-8.

(6) Investigations on biological activity of Vetiveria zizanioides L. Nash, a palingenesis of some important findings in miracle grass / Suaib Luqman / doi:10.1038/npre.2012.6904.1


– Widely distributed in the settled regions of the Philippines.
– Commonly planted on dikes of rice paddies and on river banks to prevent erosion.
– Native of tropical Asia.
– Introduced into the Philippines.
– Now pantropic.


– Yields an oil known as vetiver oil; also, as cuscus.
– Vetiver oil yields various substances: vetivenes, vetivenol, vetivenic acid, vetivenyl acetate and other similar compounds.

– Root reported as cooling, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, refrigerant, tonic, stomachic.


Parts used

– Oil sometimes used to flavor sherbets.

– Decoction of roots used for tonic baths.
– Decoction of roots taken internally as a lithotripic – to dissolve or break kidney stones.
– Roots used for thirst, inflammation, acne, stomach irritability.
– Weak infusion of roots used for fever.
– In Ayurveda, different plant parts used for various ailments and diseases, including boils, burns, epilepsy, fever, scorpion stings, snakebites, mouth sores, headaches, lumbago, malarial fever.
– Essential oil of vetiver used in aromatherapy for relieving stress, anxiety, nervous tension, and insomnia.
– Root used as carminative, stimulant, and diaphoretic.
– Root decoction taken internally for nervous and circulatory problems. Externally, used for tonic baths, muscle pains and treating lice.


Weaving: Roots used for weaving fans, baskets, and making fragrant mats. Flower stalks are used in making mats, and occasionally, brooms. Leaves sometimes made into awnings and sunshades.
Perfume: Prized for its agreeable odor, akin to that of sandal wood. Dried roots used to perfume clothes. Shavings used for filling sachet bags.
Oil: Vetiver oil is a constituent of high-grade perfumes and cosmetics. Used for making agarbattis, soaps, soft drinks, pan masala.
Phytotechnology : A super-absorbent and deep rooted perennial grass with use for landfill rehabilitation, erosion, and leachate control. Also recommended for rehabilitation of mining areas.


Study Findings
• Antihypertensive / Antispasmodic: Study of aqueous-methanolic crude extract of A muricatus showed a cardiodepressant effect on the rate and force of spontaneous contractions. In isolated rabbit jejunal preparations, it showed a relaxation of spontaneous and high K-induced contractions, suggesting a spasmolytic effect mediated possibly through calcium channel-blockade. Phytochemical screening yielded phenols, saponins, tannins, and terpenes, which may be responsible for the cardiodepressant, vasodilator and antispasmodic effects.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study showed that A. muricatus extract possesses anti-inflammatory property by inhibiting serotonin, histamine and prostaglandin biosynthesis.
• Termite Repellent and Toxicant / Nootkatone: Study isolated nootkatone which was found to be a significant repellent and toxicant of termites. Nootkatone is an effective repellent or toxicant either alone or as an addition to other substrates, including mulches made from vetiver grass roots or other wood products. It is non-toxic to humans and environmentally safe.
• Phytoremediation of Arsenic-Contaminated Soils: A greenhouse study evaluated the capacity of vetiver grass to accumulate arsenic from pesticide-contaminated soils. Results showed vetiver is capable of tolerating moderate levels of arsenic. High biomass, widespread root system and environmental tolerance makes it an attractive choice for remediation of soils contaminated with arsenic.