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Vetiver (Cuscus Grass) – Ramacham Khuskhus grass with fragrant roots

Vetiver (Cuscus Grass) (Ramacham) plant – A dense perennial grass with fragrant roots which are yellow-grey and long.  The leaves are narrow,long and erect.  Fruits are oblong and grain like.

Vetiver (Cuscus Grass) in different Indian languages

  • Botanical Name – Vetiveria Zizanioides (L) Nash,Andropogon muricatus Retz
  • Family – P0aeae
  • Sanskrit – Usiram
  • Hindi – Khas
  • Bengali – Khuskhus
  • Tamil – Vetiver
  • Telugu – Kuruvera,Vettiveru
  • Malayalam – Ramacham

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Properties of  ramacham roots


The roots are bitter,sweet,acrid and refrigerant with an aromatic fragrance. They are digestive,diaphoretic,depurative,,carminative,stomachic,constipating,expectorant,diuretic stimulant,tonic and antispasmodic.  The roots are believed to be effective in curing a wide range of disorders.  In South India ramacham is cultivated and mainly for the oil.

Ramacham Therapeutic Uses

  • Infusion made with the roots is good for treating diarrhoea and fever
  • Inhaling smoke from dried roots can cure coughs,bronchitis and hiccoughs,as an expectorant
  • Paste of roots can be applied externally to alleviate burning and itching
  • External application makes an excellent deodorant
  • In ancient times ramacham roots were used as natural air conditioner.  Screens made of vetiver roots were used to cover windows and then sprinkled with water to produce cool,fresh and fragrant air
  • Dried roots are used for devotional poojas

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