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Vetiver water

Summer is one of the hardest seasons in India. The average temperature has soared up atleast a few degrees Celcius in the past 10 ten years.
Smart ways to handle the heat are the ones that have been laid down by our ancestors. Local ingredients like tender coconut, palm fruits, gingelly oil, pearl onions, ragi porridge, fermented rice porridge has been in vogue to cool the body against the harsh heat.


At our home my father used to get a Kooja, a clay pot with narrow neck to store water. Water stored in clay pots have cooling effects on the body.
He would buy the clay koojas wash them so very well. Then he would pour boiled water to the kooja and add a small bundle of Vetiver root. Vetti means to cut and ver is root in Tamil. Leaving the root bundle in the water for a few hours and the water will get an acquired sweet smell and taste from the vetiver.
Wiki says
Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) is a perennial grass of the Poaceae native to India.”Vetiver” name is native to Tamil language. Old Tamil literature mentions the usage of vetiver for medical purposes. Unlike most grasses which form horizontally spreading mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward up to 2-4 meters in depth.


Even now in universities and colleges, during summer when examiners are doing paper-correction for the year end finals, you can see halls having big thick vetiver mats on windows. Water will be sprinkled occasionally on these mats. The inside of the room will be very obviously cool and fragrant.
When my father came to visit me a few months ago, he got vetiver for me. A biggg bundle. Last weekend I recreated the vetiver water at home. Cool, crisp tasting with a citrus smell is what I would describe vetiver water as !!
Update: Nannari is a different kind of plant – roots and seeds are used in ayurveda and for preparing Sherbet. It is different from Vettiver. Its commonly called Indian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus). More here on Wiki
Another picture of Vettiver from Mr Vasan, who is from Kollidam where Vettiver is grown and harvested.



May 2, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Good info Revathi. We really miss all these by staying away from home. The mild sweetness you get from these ver is so nice and you will drink water more really. We never bought the mineral water and mud pot water is so tasty always. Tks for reminding this valuable info Revathi. Viji

    Comment by Vcuisine | May 3, 2007 | Reply

  2. wonderfull info revathi! i never knew about this ver but ofcourse we also use the mud pot, cool water in the mud pots are divine.

    Comment by Roopa | May 3, 2007 | Reply

  3. Hello!

    I am thinking of starting a new portal to host simple and easy-to-prepare recipes. This is mainly for bachelors/bachelorettes who may not have the time and the necessary utensils to prepare anything elaborate.

    Please do contribute. For more details, I have made a post on this at:

    Err.. does this comment look like spam? :O It really is not! Also, tell me what you think about the idea and better ideas of how I can go about this, if any.

    Comment by N | May 3, 2007 | Reply

  4. Its been ages since I saw this root Revathi and it really made me nostalgic. We call it Waalaa in Marathi and also use it for the same purpose. I used to love drinking water from a clay pot (called Maath in marathi) with the fragrance and mild sweetness of Waalaa. This is one of the charms of a hot indian summer.

    Comment by Anupama | May 3, 2007 | Reply

  5. Never knew this Revathi.Great info.Thanks:))

    Comment by Asha | May 3, 2007 | Reply

  6. Gosh you brought back some memories…..we used to add this to our earthen pots of water too,and we call it “vaalo” in Gujju.


    Comment by trupti | May 3, 2007 | Reply

  7. This was a fascinating article Revathi. I would love to try this. So many wonderful Indian practices that are so healthy for the body.

    Comment by | May 3, 2007 | Reply

  8. WOW Wonderfull information… I have never tasted vativer water…will surly give it a try..

    Comment by Sukanya Ramkumar | May 3, 2007 | Reply

  9. Revathi, I just found this in some enews and they have many of our blogs and posts without asking us(or me anyway!)I write personal things about kids etc which I don’t want the whole world to see!What do you think?They have this post too.

    Comment by Asha | May 4, 2007 | Reply

  10. It looks so beautiful in the glass pitcher, Revathi — and what a fascinating drink! Your description makes me want a taste 🙂

    Comment by Linda | May 5, 2007 | Reply

  11. Anupama, Trupti I was thinking using vetiver is only in tamilnadu. Truly an eye-opener to me.

    Asha me too concerned with the external link !!

    Ya you might find it in Malabar/Kerala groceries Linda !

    Comment by Revathi | May 5, 2007 | Reply

  12. Never tasted this!but now reading your post is making me wants to have some!

    Comment by Anonymous | May 5, 2007 | Reply

  13. hey, this is something i dont know , i have to aks mom about this , somehting really niceto know about. thanks for sharing it here.

    Comment by Pooja | May 6, 2007 | Reply

  14. cps says: very happy reva to know this. i saw your other preparations oin this site

    Comment by mohanavelu | May 6, 2007 | Reply

  15. Here is yet another Tamil heritage water delight. In a mud jaggu, you put vetti ver and also some sabja seeds over night. Morning, you see these sabja seeds bulged and with vettiver, they give very sweet aroma for your cold water. and these sabja seeds are, are nothing but Thiruneetrupatrigai seeds.

    Comment by mohanavelu | May 6, 2007 | Reply

  16. Hello:

    I don’t know how I got here, but I sure am happy to have stepped into your food blog.

    I grew up close to the banks of river koLLidam where they used to grow lot of vetti vEr. Your article brought back some nostalgic memories after almost some 25 years! ;(

    Thank You.

    Had a different picture of vetti vEr; enclosing it here for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

    vetti vEr – வெட்டி வேர்

    Comment by வாசன் | May 6, 2007 | Reply

  17. Yay!! This is ramacham in malayalam, isn’t it? Mmm I can almost smell it.

    Comment by RP | May 6, 2007 | Reply

  18. This post reminds me of summer holidays spent at my grandpa’s house. Nice cool water in earthen pot with vettiver. The taste, smell – ah! I wish we cud get this in the US.

    Comment by Suganya | May 6, 2007 | Reply

  19. Hi revathi,
    useful information. This water tastes great with nannari sarbhat.

    Comment by Menu Today | May 7, 2007 | Reply

  20. Your post reminds me of the earthen pots we used for cooling water. We use to call them “Kujo”
    Did not know about this root, though have seen blinds using this

    Comment by Sandeepa | May 7, 2007 | Reply

  21. Hi Revathi,

    I know very well about the benefits of vetiver….oh…i can feel that smell andcoolness on the hot days…we use to damp that the air that pass through the mat…will be cool and with pleasant smell…

    Looks gr8, feels like take a glass after seeing you jug of vetiver water…

    Comment by USHA | May 7, 2007 | Reply

  22. Revathi, Nice info. I have never heard of this. But there is something in Kerala which is called hmm…I forgot the name but people add it to warm water and it turns light violet. It is said that this water has medicinal value. I am not sure if that powder is made from this root.

    I used to love water in Kuja. I loved the smell and coolness.

    Comment by reena | May 8, 2007 | Reply

  23. Reminds me of the song,”vettiveru vasam vedalappulla nesam”,root also called Nannari used to make those red sherbets,the local man’s “coke’ here.
    I feel lucky to live here very much in the banks of KOLLIDAM!

    Comment by Bharathy | May 9, 2007 | Reply

  24. Thks for sharing the info revathi …learnt many new things out of this post

    Comment by DEEPA | May 9, 2007 | Reply

  25. nice write up and info. I love the fragrance of vetiver. miss it all here.

    Comment by Sharmi | May 9, 2007 | Reply

  26. My mom uses this vettiver for grinding along with ‘kuliyal podi’ Revathi.Good one.

    Comment by Prema | May 10, 2007 | Reply

  27. Hi,
    the first time in ur blog,good info and when i saw the photo i feel like going back to india(home sick).
    Pls do visit my blog and give ur comments.

    Comment by priar's, | May 10, 2007 | Reply

  28. Revathi,
    I know this word ‘vetiver’ from some tamil movie song…”vetiveru vasam vedalai ponnu nesam”. Never knew so many good things about it. Nice pictures. Will try it when I go to India.

    Comment by Kribha | May 11, 2007 | Reply

  29. can i have some mailed to me? is it also called nanari by any chance? i remember soemthing similar being used in TVM.

    Comment by Mallugirl | May 11, 2007 | Reply

  30. Anything for u Shaheen !!

    Comment by Revathi | May 12, 2007 | Reply

  31. Hi Revathi, I have heard of vettiver from little poems we used to say as kids…’enne ver..vettiver, enne vetti..etc etc’ dont remember much of it now. Thanks for reviving old memories. Is this close to khus khus?

    Comment by Hema | May 15, 2007 | Reply

  32. RP, i too think this is ramacham..remember that old ad “Ramachathinte kulirum kasthoori manjalinte kaanthiyum…” :))

    Comment by Pooja | May 16, 2007 | Reply

  33. Wonderful post Revathi…It has got me all nostalgic…

    Comment by Chandrika | May 18, 2007 | Reply

  34. I think Vetriver is used as hair perfume.
    The one that is used in drinking water is called as VILAMUCHIVER.

    Comment by Anonymous | May 21, 2007 | Reply

  35. we call it nannari and can taken with lime juice during hot summer for heat relief

    Comment by Anonymous | August 20, 2007 | Reply

  36. Aloha Revathi! We are growing vetiver in Hawaii! My partner adores the oil, in perfume and in her soapmaking. She then learned of its phenomenal erosion control, water purification, termiticide ( and more!) properties. When we harvest to split and replant, we save the trimmed roots for tea and cool water! I love grabbing a small bundle of roots on my way to work, to steep in my water for the day!
    thank you to all of you for the stories and background. It is new to us here in Hawaii!
    Much aloha, Debra

    Comment by | August 27, 2007 | Reply

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