Vetiver Grass in Peru

For sometime now there has been a number of enquiries anout vetiver in Peru. At last we have concrete evidence that Vetiveria zizanioides has been in Peru for a long time, used as a medicinal plant by local people in the Amazonia region. The following letter from Dr. Julio Aleare Orihuela is attached, I am sure he would be happy to communicate with other interested parties. Dick Grimshaw... Editor

May 21 1996

Vetiver Network Coordinator and News letter Editor
15 Wirt Street NW. Leesburg Virginia 22075 USA

Dear Dr Grimshaw

I am a Senior Scientist with the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) working during the last 20 years in the Amazon Region of Peru. I receive the vetiver news letter and recently the World Bank Technical Paper #127 about Vetiver grass for soil and water conservation, land rehabilitation, and embankment stability.

I enjoyed reading all the benefits of this grass; also I was a little surprised because I have not seen any references about the use of Vetiver in Puru.

Before I received the first news letter about Vetiver I did not know anything about this grass and then I started to research for this grass in Peru but I was not successful. The last year I went to Nairobi, Kenya, where I saw a lot of vetiver planted on canals borders and for embankment stability. Some researchers from my Institution (ICRAF) have planted a nursery for vetiver propagation, and I got 10 slips (bare roots) of Vetiveria zizanioides and took it to Peru. I planted in a very acid soil 85% Al saturation and low in all nutrients) and in 6 months I had 10 large plants with many tillers.

I started to propagate it in other areas and now I have material for around 5,000 slips. I sent material for propagation to other parts of the Amazon Region and I think in one year we will have enough material to start trials for soil conservation and inclusion in Agroforestry systems on slopy areas. My idea is also to support the comunity with the plantation in areas of waste disposal to the rivers where there are a lot of problems with weeds and erosion.

When I sent ths material to Iguitos (Capital of the State of Loreto) the local people recoqnized this grass which is called locally as PACHULI (Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash) and is used by the native people for a long time. The roots are used as a medicine for dermatitis and control of fungus. Also for hemorrhoids, fever, rheumatism and neuralgia. The fresh roots (25 gm) are boiled for 10 minutes in one liter of water and then is applied in the skin. The dry roots are used inside the shelves to protect against insects.

Also the roots are mixed with sugar cane alcohol, and after a maceration is used as a lotion on the head for hair care. The roots are sold in the markets for around half dollar for a package of 250 gm. I got this information from the a Biologist Elsa Rengifo who is working with the Instituto de Investigacion de la Amazonia Peruana. She has planted Vetiveria mainly for medicinal purposes. Please send the Vetiver Newsletter to EIsa Rengifo. Her address is: IIAP Av, Abelardo, Quinonez Km 2.5, Apartado 784 Iguitos, Peru.

Please feel free publish it in the next news letter. I will inform you any result that I get with this marvelous grass.

Dr. Julio Aleare Orihuela
Head, Agroforestry Programe ICRAF Peru

E.mail : Julio Aleare Orihuela <[email protected]>
Fax: 094352675