Vanilla essential oil is extracted from Vanilla plant, an orchid, which is native to the countries of Mexico and Tahiti. Vanilla essential oil is obtained from the vanilla crystals of the fermented vanilla plant bean by solvent extraction.
Vanilla essential oil blends very well with other essential oils like jasmine, clove, lavender, rose, sandalwood, chamomile and ylang Ylang. It also blends with citrus oils, flower oils, spices, bitter orange and honey.
Vanilla Plant: The vanilla plant (Vanilla planifolia) is grown as a perennial (ornamental plant) herbaceous vine to a height of 4- 5 metres (although it can grow up to 25 metres high). It takes up to 3 years or so to flower.
These large white flowers have a deep narrow trumpet that develops into a long green pod (12 -15 cm long) and looks like a big green bean. This takes a few months. Even then, these pods must remain on the vine for 8 or 9 months.
Once these pods or beans are harvested, the beans must be put through a curing process to turn them into the fragrant brown vanilla pods of commerce with their signature aroma. This process may involve curing via sun drying, oven heating or hot water causing the glucosides to break down into vanillin which can accumulate as white crystals on the surface of the bean.
Characteristic of Vanilla Essential Oil: Vanilla essential oil is a dark brown viscous liquid with a rich, smooth, sweet balsamic vanilla like aroma.
Uses of Vanilla Oil: Due to the sweet smell of vanilla essential oil, it is used as flavoring in ice creams, cakes and cookies. Vanilla essential oil is also used as a flavoring agent in many pharmaceutical products. Vanilla essential oil is also an ingredient of skincare products and perfumes. The scent in these perfumes can convey comfort, nurturing, and security.
Health Benefits of Vanilla Oil:
- Vanilla essential oil has a calming effect on the brain and the nerves and gives relief from anxiety, anger, restlessness etc.
- Vanilla essential oil can help you get a good night sleep. This is due to the sedative and relaxing properties of this oil.
- Vanilla essential oil can help regularize menstruations (although not exactly an emenagogue) by activating certain hormones like estrogen.
- Vanilla essential oil is an aphrodisiac. Studies have shown that it stimulates secretion of certain hormones like testosterone, estrogen etc. which help bring about normal sexual behavior and promotes arousal.
- Vanilla essential oil can stimulate weight loss by significantly reducing a person’s sweet food intake.
- Vanilla essential oil soothes all kinds of inflammation of the body.
Caution: Remember that all essential oils should be used with care. Do not apply it directly on skin. Carry out a patch test before using it. Avoid high concentration of vanilla essential oil in pregnancy since it can induce menstruation. Also avoid high concentrations in skin care.
“This post was originally published on January 12, 2012 @ 22:42”