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Family Gramineae
Chrysopogon zizanioides ( L.) Roberty

Yan lan cao

Scientific names Common names
Anatherum muricatum ( Retz.) P.Beauv. Amoora (C. Bis.)
Anatherum zizanioides ( L.) Hitchc. & Chase Amoras (Ilk.)
Andropogon muricatus Retz. Anias de moras (Pamp.)
Andropogon zizanioides ( Linn.) Urban Giron (P. Bis.)
Chamaeraphis muricata (Retz.) Merr. Ilib (Pamp.)
Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty Mora (Bik., Bis.)
Holcus zizanioides (L.) Stuck. Moras (Tag., Bis., Bik.)
Phalaris zizanioides Linn. Moro (Tag.)
Rhaphis zizanioides (L.) Roberty Narawasta (Sul.)
Sorghum zizanioides (L.) Roberty Rais de moras (Span.)
Vetiveria arundinacea Griseb. Rimodas (P. Bis.)
Vetiveria muricata (Retz.) Griseb. Rimora (Sbl.)
Vetiveria odorata Virey Rimoras (Bik.)
Vetiveria odoratissima Lem.-Lis. Tres-moras (Bis.)
Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash Cuscus grass (Engl.)
  Fragrant grass (Engl.)
  Indian couch grass (Engl.)
  Vetiver (Engl.)
  Vetiver grass (Engl.)
Moras is a common name shared by Morus alb (morera) and Andropogon zizainoides (moras).
Andropogon zizanioides (L.) Urb. is a synonym of Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty. The Plant List
Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
AFRICA: Khus-khus grass.
BANGLADESH: Khas-khas.
CHINESE: Xiang gen cao, Yan lan cao.
DANISH: Vetiverrod
DUTCH: Vetivergras, Akar wangie.
FRENCH: Chiendent odorant, Chiendent des Indes, Vétiver.
GERMAN: Vetivergras, Vetiverwurzel.
HINDI: Gandar, Khas-khas, Balah, Bena.
INDIA: Khus, Khus-khus.
INDONESIAN: Akar wangi.
ITALIAN: Gramigna indiana, Gramigna delle Indie.
KANNDA: Vetiveru, Laamanche.
MALAYALAM: Ramacham.
PORTUGUESE: Vetiver-da-India.
PUNJAB: Panni.
SANSKRIT: Abhaya, Amrinala, Reshira, Sugandhimula, Sugandhimuta, Ushira.
SPANISH: Zacate violeta
TAMIL: Vettiver.
TELUGU: Kuruveru.

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.

- 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.
- Study of roots yielded khusimol (2) together with other sesquiterpenes, including ß-vetivenene (1), vetiselinenol (3), isovalencenol (4), vetivenic acid (5), α-vetivone (6) and β-vetivone (7). (see study below)
- Study of essential oil identified 25 compounds. Major components were cedr-8-en-13-ol (12.4%), α-amorphene (7.80%), β-vatirenene (5.94%) and α-gurjunene (5.91%). (see study below)
- Study of roots for essential oil yielded sesquiterpenes (3-4%), sesquiterpenols (18-25%), and sesquiterpenones (7-8%). Economically active compounds were khusimol, α-vetivone and ß-vetivone which constitute about 35% of the oil. (16)
- GC-MS analysis of essential oil yielded major components of khusimol (19.57%), E-isovalencenol (13.24%), α-vetivone (5.25%), ß-vetivone (4.87%), and hydroxy-valencene (4.64%). (see study below) (17)
- Study of roots by steam distillation yielded an essential oil composed mainly of sesquiterpenes (3-4%), sesquiterpenols (18-25%), and sesquiterpenes (7-8%). Among the economically important active compounds are khusimol, α-vetivone, and ß-vetivone constituting about 35% of the oil. (25)

- Root reported as cooling, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, refrigerant, tonic, stomachic.
- Studies suggest antimicrobial, repellent, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and hypoglycemic properties.

Parts used
Roots, essential oil, leaves.


- 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.
- In West Bengal, root paste used for headache, rheumatism, and sprains. Stem decoction used for urinary tract infection. In Madhya Pradesh, the Mandla and Bastar tribes used the leaf juice as anthelmintic. In Varanasi, root vapour inhaled for malarial fever. (24)
- Crafts / Weaving: Roots used for weaving fans, baskets, and making fragrant mats. Dried culms used for making brooms and to thatch roofs. 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.
- Vetiver oil: Vetiver oil is a constituent of high-grade perfumes and cosmetics. Used for making agarbattis, massage blends, soaps, soft drinks, pan masala. () Oil is mixed in sorbets and beverages as flavoring agent. Oil claimed to have an aphrodisiac effect. (23) Vetiver oil is also known as Oil of Tranquility, with a fragrance all of its own, and with no synthetic substitute. Annual world trade in vetiver oil is estimated around 250 tons (about $20-200 million a year). Main producers are are Haiti, Indonesia, China, Japan, India, and Brazil, while main consumers are USA, Europe, India, and Japan. (25)
- 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.
- Planting uses:
Harvested leaves, culms, and roots utilized after processing as mulch, compost, nursery block of planting medium.
- Fodder:
Young leaves grazed by cattle and sheep.
- Construction / Industrial products:
Used for roof thatching, vetiver-clay composites, veneer-fiber board, ash for concrete work, straw bales, pulp and paper products.

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. (1)
Anti-Inflammatory: Study showed that A. muricatus extract possesses anti-inflammatory property by inhibiting serotonin, histamine and prostaglandin biosynthesis.(2)
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. (3)
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. (7)
Antimicrobial / Roots: Study of roots yielded khusimol (2) together with other sesquiterpenes (1, 3-7). Kushimol was slightly active against tested microorganisms. (see constituents above). (10)
Essential Oil / Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant: Study of essential oil yielded 25 compounds. VZEO may suppress inflammatory responses of LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages, including NO production and cell apoptosis, by regulating expression of inflammation-related enzymes, inducible NO synthase and COX-2 and inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, interleukin-1ß and interferon-ß. The anti-inflammatory activity correlated with its antioxidant activity. (see constituents above) (11)
Decontamination of Irrigation Water: Study evaluated the phytoremediation potential of Vetiver grass in decontaminating leachate from conventional agricultural irrigation. Analysis of water and leachates indicated the species significantly decreased the concentration of some chemicals such as nitrates, nitrites, and phosphates. (12)
Anti-Diabetic / Roots: Study evaluated C. zizanioides roots extracts in STZ-induced diabetic Wistar rats. Results showed significant improved glycemic control, antioxidant and hypolipidemic properties, together with protective effect against hepatic and renal injury associated with diabetes. (13)
Synergistic Sedative-Hypnotic Effects: Study evaluated the sedative-hypnotic effects of two dose levels of ethanolic extract and one dose of essential oil of VZ root. Ethanolic extract and essential oil showed significant sedation and hypnosis in Swiss albino mice. Findings show comparable therapeutic efficacy with diazepam in insomnia. (14)
• Phytoremediation for Tetracycline: Study evaluated the potential of vetiver grass as phytoremediative agent in removing tetracycline from aqueous media. Results showed a cost-effective in-situ phytoremediation technique to remove TC from wastewater. (15)
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory / Essential Oil: Study evaluated the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of C. zizanioides essential oil in rodents. EO at 50 and 100 mg/kg significantly reduced the number of writhes (51.9 and 64.9%, respectively) and the number of paw licks during phase 2 (56.7 and 86.2%, respectively) of a formalin model. In paw edema test, 100 mg/kg of EO inhibited all three phases of edema equally well, suggesting a non-selective inhibitory effect on the release or action of these mediators. (see constituents above) (17)
• Bioremediation of Uranium Mill Tailings: Study evaluated the uranium immobilization potential of vetiver grass under simulated conditions using complex tailings. Results showed the plant could bioremediate up to 49% of the uranium at the 90th day of experiment. The remediation efficiency of vetiver increased with time and the uranium was predominantly localized in the roots. (18)
• De-Fluoridation Efficiency: Consumption of fluoridated water (>1.5mg/L) leads to fluorosis which has no cure. Of the 1.21 billion living in India, 62 million suffer from fluorosis. Study evaluated the de-fluoridation efficiency of C. zizainoides and Ocimum tenuiflorum leaves alone and in combination. Results showed 70%-40% de-fluoridation in C. zizainoides treated water. Fresh Ocimum tenuiflorum leaves showed fluoride reduction from 60%-30%, and adsorbent combination of 1:2 showed maximum reduction of 89% in 1 mg/L solution. (19)
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of V. zizainoides in Wistar rats and Swiss albino mice showed analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity possible mediated through central and peripheral mechanisms. (20)
• Antihyperglycemic / Roots: Study evaluated an ethanol extract of roots of V. zizainoides for anti- hyperglycemic activity in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant reduction of blood glucose levels. The antihyperglycemic effects were compared with those of glibenclamide. (21)
• Biosynthesis of Nanoparticles: Study reports on a simple biological and ecofriendly method for the synthesis of silver and gold nanoparticles using Chrysopogon zizainoides. The nanoparticles can have clinical use as antibacterial, antioxidant, and cytotoxic agent and can be used for biomedical applications. (22)
• Essential Oil: Essential oil is extracted from roots by steam distillation; freshly harvested roots giving higher yield than stored roots, decreasing with increased period of storage. Low recovery of traditionally distilled oil fetches highest price in the perfumery market. Oil has been attributed various properties i.e., anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, aphrodisiac, cicatrizant, nervine, sedative, tonic and vulnerary. (23) Over 150 compounds have been isolated and characterized from vetiver oil. The major portion of the oil consists of sesquiterpene alcohol. (24) The chemical composition of vetiver essential oils from nine countries i.e., Brazil, China, Haiti, India, Java, Madagascar, Mexico, Reunion, and Salvador yielded 110 compounds, with characteristic constituents of ß-vetispirene (1.6-4.5%), khusimol (3.4-13.7%), vetiselineol (1.3-7.8%), and α-vetinone (2.5-6.3%). (25)


Updated June 2017 / October 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: Chrysopogon zizanioides / Seeding habit at Kokomo Haiku, Maui - Credit: Forest and Kim Starr - Plants of Hawaii / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, permitting sharing and adaptation with attribution / Click on image to go to source page / alterVISTA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Vetiveria zizanioides / Hitchcock, A.S. (rev. A. Chase). 1950. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Washington, DC. - Non-Copyrighted Image / Public Domain / AlterVISTA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
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)
Anti-inflammatory Activity of Andropogon muricatus Extract / Anwarul-Hassan Gilami, Shagufta Khan et al / SEB 49TH ANNUAL MEETING 2008 SCIENTIFIC PROGRAM
Vetiver oil extracts as termite repellent and toxicant / FreePatentsOnLine
Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Sorting Chrysopogon names
/ Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Phytotechnology, a Nature-Based Approach for Sustainable Water Sanitation and Conservation / Yulinah Trihadiningrum, Hassan Basri, Muhammad Mukhlisin, Denny Listiyanawati, Nurul 'Ain bt Ab. Jalil /
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. / oi: 10.1007/s00128-010-0185-8.
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
Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty / Synonyms / The Plant List
Seasonal phytochemical study and antimicrobial potential of Vetiveria zizanioides roots
Study of the chemical composition, antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory activity of essential oil from Vetiveria zizanioides / Su-Tze Chou, Chia-Pei Lai, Chih-Chien Lin, Ying Shih / Food Chemistry, Volume 134, Issue 1, 1 September 2012, Pages 262–268
Study of Chrysopogon Zizanioides ability to decontaminate irrigation water in Southwest Spain / Galea Grajera, F. A. / EGU General Assembly 2009, held 19-24 April, 2009 in Vienna, Austria
Evaluation of Anti-Diabetic Effects of Chrysopogon zizanioides Linn Root Extracts in Streptozotocin Induced Diabeteic Wistar Rats / G. Rajeswari, V. Rajagopalan / Journal of Scientific and Innovative Research 2013; 2 (3): 555-574
/ Rajasekhar CH*, Kokila BN, Rakesh, Rajesh B / International Journal of Experimental Pharmacology, Vol 4, Issue 2, 2014, pp 89-93.
Phytoremediationn potential of vetiver grass [Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.)] for tetracycline / Detta R et al / Int J Phytoremediation, 2013; 15(4): 343-51|
Chemical composition and biological properties of Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty syn. V. zizanioides (L.) Nash - A Review / Khushminder Kaur Chahal, Urvashi Bhardwaj et al / Indian Journal Nat Prod Resour., Dec 2015
Phytochemical screening, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities of Chrysopogon zizanioides essential oil / Gabrielle M. LimaI; Lucindo J. Quintans-JúniorI; Sara M. ThomazziI et al / Rev. bras. farmacogn. vol.22 no.2 Curitiba Mar./Apr. 2012  / http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-695X2012005000002
Simulation Model for Feasibility Studies on Bioremediation of Uranium Mill Tailings using Hyper Accumulator Chrysopogon zizanioides / H. Shanmugasundaram, Sathesh Kumar Annamalai, Kantha Deivi Arunachalam, V.N. Jha, N.K. Sethy, K. Sivasubramaniam, H. Krishnan and M. Pandima Devi / American Journal of Environmental Sciences, Volume 12, Issue 6, Pp 370-378 / DOI :10.3844/ajessp.2016.370.378
Studying the De-fluoridation Efficiency of Chrysopogon zizainoides, Ocimum tenuiflorum and Combination of Two
Evaluation of analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect of Vetiveria zizainoides / Arul Amutha Elizabeth, Glory Josephine, Inbaraj, Farhana Rahman, and Muniappan / J Pharm Biomed Sci 2012, December; 25 (25); 164-170.
Antihyperglycaemic Effect of Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash Root Extract in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Rats / SANJAY KUMAR KARAN,*, DILIPKUMAR PAL, SAGAR KUMAR MISHRA and ARIJIT MONDAL / Asian Journal of Chemistry, Vol. 25, No. 3 (2013)
Chrysopogon zizanioides aqueous extract mediated synthesis characterization of crystalline silver and gold nanoparticles for biomedical applications / Arunachalam KD, Annamalai SK  / International Journal of Nanomedicine, Vol 8, Issue 1 , 3 July 2013 / DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S44076
Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Vetiver / D. Balasankar, K. Vanilarasu, P. Selva, S. Rajeswari, M. Umadevi, Debit Bhowmik / Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies, 2013; 1(3): pp 191-200
Chemical composition and biological properties of Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Roberty / syn.Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash-A Review / Khusminder Kaur Chahal, Urvashi Bhardwaj et al / Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources, Dec 2015; 6(4): pp 251-260

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