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Vanilla Essential Oil Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

Derived primarily from the Mexican flat-leaved vanilla, Vanilla Essential Oil is comes from orchids of the genus Vanilla. The Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés introduced both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s, which accounts for the fact that the word Vanilla is derived from the Spanish word vaina (meaning pod).

The act of pollination is required to create the flavour-bearing fruit. It was discovered that the plant could be hand pollinated, making it easier to extract the flavouring. There are three major species, which areVanilla planifolla grown in Madagascar, Vanilla pompona found in the West Indies, and Vanilla tahitensis grown in the South Pacific. Vanilla plainfolla, produced in Madagascar is the more common Vanilla used today. Because growing Vanilla is labor is so intensive, it the second most expensive spice after Saffron. Vanilla planifolia is also known as “Bourbon Vanilla”.

Today, Indonesia is responsible for the majority of the world’s Bourbon Vanilla production. Vanilla grows as a vine and requires some type of climbing apparel such as a tree, pole, or other support. It can be grown on trees or in a plantation. The Vanilla’s distinctive flavor compounds are found in the fruit that comes from the pollination of the flower. One flower will produce one fruit and each fruit contains about a thousand tiny black vanilla seeds. The Vanilla plant grows best in hot, humid climates from sea level to an elevation of about 1500 m. The Vanilla plant grows quick on the vine, but can take up to six months to mature.

The oil is extracted using a solvent extraction of resinous substances from the fermented vanilla beans. 

Vanilla Essential Oil Benefits

There is a wide use of vanilla as a flavoring agent in certain organic foods, beverages and pharmaceutical industries as well as in culinary endeavors. Vanilla Essential Oil has extensive use in the world of medicine. Other benefits include:

  • Antioxidant– protects the body from wear and tear, infections
  • Antidepressant– has a positive impact on the psychology
  • Anticarcinogenic– cure, prevent, or slow down cancer particularly regarding prostrate and colon.
  • Febrifuge– reduce fevers by fighting infections
  • Sedative-soothes nerves and nervous tension
  • Aphrodisiac– Vanilla Essential Oil stimulates the secretion of certain hormones and promotes sexual arousal
  • Tranquilizing– with the relaxing properties you will definitely get a good night’s rest
  • Respiratory– relief from cough, asthma or any other respiratory problems
  • Digestive-the stimulating effect calms the stomach and hunger pains
  • Acne-eliminates the effects that acne has
  • Antiseptic-fast healing for wounds, itching and eczema
  • Weight Reduction– reduces  cellulite in the body
  • Anxiety– when inhaled as in aromatherapy
  • Deodorant-great for eliminating body odor
  • Respiratory– relief from cough, asthma or any other respiratory problems
  • Vasoconstrictor-with the calming and soothing effect on the nerves
  • Insecticide– mosquito repellent
  • Antibiotic– inhibits the growth viruses and infections
  • High Blood Pressure– by eliminating stress
  • Menstruation– helps regulate a woman’s menstruation

Vanilla Essential Oil blends great with the essential oils of Orange, Neroli, Lemon, Chamomile, Lavender and Sandalwood.

Vanilla Essential Oil Uses

  • Vanilla and Vanilla Essential Oil is widely used in baking, perfume manufacturing and aromatherapy. Vanilla’ is the proprietary ingredients in these mouthwatering goodies like ice creams, chocolates, cakes, pastries, custards, biscuits, confections and soft drinks. How would these taste without the addition of Vanilla?
  • Aroma therapists use Vanilla Essential Oil to help people relax and reduce stress. Put a few drops in you diffuser or just on a cotton ball and inhale.
  • Vanilla Oil is used in the perfume and cosmetic industries.
  • Many of our massaging and moisturizing oils contain Vanilla Oil.
  • Simply add a few drops into your bath water when suffering from stress, fatigue, or anxiety.
  • For an uplifting effect just add a few drops of Vanilla Essential Oil in a diffuser or candle.
  • Add a few drops in to your daily shampoo, for shiny and healthier looking hair.
  • Take a spray bottle add a few drops of the oil diluted with water and this is a great natural bug spray to keep the pests away.
  • For a great facial scrub:  three tablespoons brown sugar and two drops vanilla essential oil to a freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix the ingredients together then apply it on your face and massage in for a few minutes, then rinse off with warm water and finishing with a cold splash of water.
  • When you have a hard time sleeping, just take a few drops and put them on your pillow for a restful, relaxing night.
  • For unsightly sore or acne- take a cotton ball with a few drop of Vanilla Essential Oil and wipe the affected area a few times a day.
  • Help your bites, sores or little cuts heal quicker with a little dab of Vanilla Oil.

Vanilla Essential Oil Side Effects

Vanilla essential oil does not seem to produce any side effects, but like many essential oils, it is not recommended for use with pregnant women or children. Some essential oils may cause irritation or allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin so it is wise to do a patch test before using regularly.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.