Vanilla is a plant that is part of the orchid family, its beautiful flower is hermaphrodite, that is, it does not carry out the pollination process by itself, it requires the help of an insect expert in the field and the only one of them. capable of doing this is the Mellipona bee, native to Mexico.
It is a plant that requires special care and attention, but is endowed with a number of useful properties and benefits not only in the kitchen as it is often known for being the protagonist in pastry, for example, responsible for exquisite flavors and aromas. We invite you to learn a little more about vanilla and its many uses.
Origin of vanilla oil
It is known that vanilla was known by the Spaniards on the coasts of the city of Veracruz, Mexico , when they observed that the plant had a black spike protruding from its flower, very similar to that of green beans, they decided to call it pod, for characterized as being an elongated brown shell .
They are the only plants belonging to the orchids that are grown for multiple purposes unlike the others that are grown for their beauty and used to decorate gardens. Its cultivation is more common in Mexico from where it is native and in Central America, although it has become extinct in other parts of Europe thanks to the Spanish who took it to several countries.
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History of vanilla oil
It is known that in Veracruz, Mexico a town called Totonaca were the first cultivators of vanilla, these people used to associate them with chocolate since this brown pod rich in an unbeatable perfume and flavor was added in for the preparation of chocolates or atoles. , The Mayans and the Mexica highly appreciated vanilla, especially when it was linked with cocoa, corn and the black flower as they called vanilla.
These drinks or atoles were made for the warriors, however, they could not cultivate it due to weather conditions. The Aztec emperor called Itzcóatl (1427-1440) came out glorious in the Totonacs, which meant that its inhabitants had to pay this emperor and they did it with the so-called black flower, and little by little it spread in the middle of the 19th century.
Hernán Cortés was a Spanish conqueror who knew the taste of such drinks and was impressed and designated it as the chocolate of Europe at the beginning of the year 1520, this is how for three centuries Mexico became the main vanilla grower, and the Spanish became They commissioned to make it known in many other places with its rich drink of roasted corn and chocolate . It is known that Madagascar was also one of the great growers and producers of vanilla.
Characteristics of vanilla oil
Vanilla oil It has a viscous consistency that stimulates the nervous system, with aphrodisiac, sedative, aromatic content among others.
Scientific name of vanilla oil
Its common name is pod or vanilla and its scientific name is vanilla planifolia, a word in Spanish. Derived from orchids, its flowers are beautiful white with yellow features from which the brown pod is born.
Chemical composition of vanilla oil
Its chemical components are made up of sugar 32%, Hydroxybenzaldehyde vanillin, fat in 21%, Furfural vanillin, proteins, Caproic acid, Acetic acid, humidity in 30%, Fiber in 26%, Isobutyric acid, carbohydrates between 50% and 62%, eugenol.
It has been determined that Vanillin and piperonal are the protagonists that give it its pleasant aroma and exquisite flavor. It has many tiny but equally significant aromatic substances, such as creosol, pentanal, nonanal, dodecanal, among others. Alcohols present cresol, pentanol, undecanol.
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How is vanilla oil extracted?
The vanilla oil is brown in color and is carried out by separating the resinous ones, and the extraction with solvents results in a resinous substance concentrated in the seeds or in the grains of this. Its extraction is very selective and of high purity content, it is done with the DCF Co2 method, so that it is free of residues, pesticides and is solvent, it is of viscous consistency because it is recommended to place it in a water bath before using.
Active ingredient of vanilla oil
Among the active principles of vanilla we mention the heterosides that are unsweetened molecules that convert into glucose naturally, it is also called aglycone or genin, in the same way it contains limonene, eugenol, anisic alcohol, zingerone, coumarin, salicylic acids, Nonaoic acid and vanillic alcohol, which are rich in sweet flavor, their flavoring capacity that has made it known comes from the fermentation process to which the pods are subjected when they are collected before maturing.
Its cultivation is not an easy task , nor is it impossible, the most important thing is to pay attention to details to obtain success in the plantation. For this, the first thing you should know is that Vanilla favors the humid and warm climate, you must necessarily have wire ropes or hangers suitable for it, it requires the rays of the sun only half a day and it should also have a little shade. Three ways are applied for its sowing which consist of:
- They are planted on tree trunks arranged in the forests preferably in low parts.
- Multiple or intercropped sowing is carried out, that is, two different plantations at the same time
- If the above conditions are not available, sowing is carried out in greenhouses, which is a closed space with a plastic or metal structure that has curved shapes covered by materials that allow the entry of the sun’s rays to maintain the temperature of the place that should oscillate. by about 65 °. The stems or cuttings should be hung at the height of the size of a person. These stems when buying them that are new should be about 28 centimeters long, and in mature age of the plant it can measure approximately 6 meters.
If you are going to place it in a pot, keep in mind that it is mainly nourished by a tree trunk, so you can place special soil for orchids, this is made up of tree bark such as mulch, pine, or perlite.
It is important to mention that this plant completes its process to flower in a period of 7 years and the flowering takes an average of 6 weeks and its flowers only last one day, which is why it must be pollinated the same day before it withers to manage to produce vanilla pods.
Its process is very important so patience is required to do it early in one of the flowers where with great care you have to unfold the stamen of the flower and introduce the pollen then it closes with great and delicate care towards its previous shape, certifying the union .
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Recommended dose of vanilla oil
Vanilla has multiple benefits, hence its dosage. To improve digestion problems, cardamom is used, which is the immature fruit of vanilla, we add mint from these ingredients you must add a tablespoon for each cup of water that you are going to prepare. The water is boiled and then added. Cover and turn off the fire, it should rest for about 10 minutes and then drink this preparation half an hour after each meal, it is not necessary to add sugar or derivatives.
Uses and benefits of vanilla oil
It is used in aromatherapy to stimulate the senses , it is widely used for the preparation of moisturizers, lotions, perfumes, natural soaps. Vanilla is an antioxidant and can be an ideal ally to prevent oxidation of skin cells or tissues.
Among its benefits we mention
- It is a stimulant of sexual desire.
- It generates a feeling of relaxation and rest, which is why it is considered to be anti-stress.
- Improves heartburn and poor digestion.
- Helps break down cancer-causing cells.
- It is considered Anti-depressant since it is hydroxybenzaldehyde in its natural components.
- It is also beneficial to relieve annoying pain in the teeth.
- Normalizes menstrual periods for women.
- Helps fight fever caused by colds.
- Combats sickness related to nausea.
- It is considered anti inflammatory, among others.
What are the benefits for the skin?
1. Prevents premature aging
Vanilla provides softness and natural regeneration of the skin , in addition it can alleviate conditions such as irritations, dryness, prevents early oxidation of its tissues and cells. For this you can apply a couple of drops to your cream normally applied, or in the cosmetic industry they have prepared moisturizing creams that fulfill these functions in addition to providing a rich fragrance.
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2. Fight acne
Vanilla oil is a natural antibacterial, very important to eliminate unsightly acne suffered by many people of various ages, the application of vanilla-based toners is of great help to clean the skin of the accumulated bait dead cells that inflame the follicles, vanilla is a great option to get rid of acne
3. Heals burns
If you have skin burns or irritations caused by the sun, we recommend the application of vanilla oil which repairs the skin tissues and heals them from the inside out, restoring their smooth and healthy appearance.
Vanilla oil and pregnancy
The use of vanilla oil is not indicated for consumption or application for pregnant or lactating women because it contains ketones that can cause unwanted effects to both the mother and the baby.
Massages and vanilla oil
Regarding the use in the application of massages and aromatherapy, it generates relaxing benefits also due to its pleasant aroma that produces a sedative sensation, stimulating sleep, it can be related to sesame oil, for example, for which it must be heated a little before application.
Cosmetic uses of vanilla oil
There are many uses in the area of cosmetics, due to its pleasant fragrance it is very attractive, it is incorporated in the elaboration of handmade soaps, shampoos, creams, body soaps, perfumes, facial masks, to promote the beauty of the body and the prevention of diseases of the skin, among others.
Read the article we have on Why Organic Cosmetics. Benefits of Natural Beauty Products.
Medicinal uses of vanilla oil
Vanilla oil fights the damage caused by radical agents and external pollutants, acting as a blocker protecting the skin, on the other hand, it eliminates the cells responsible for producing various types of cancer, revitalizes skin tissues and level cellular , because among its components are favorable antioxidant properties to delay premature aging and help optimize the appearance and good health of the skin.
Vanilla is considered a sexual stimulant for men and women, as it has aphrodisiac properties, for example in men it improves premature ejaculation, sexual impotence , lack of desire … in women it stimulates the production of libido, which cause frigidity under sexual desire, is favorable for both members of the couple by increasing the production of male and female hormones responsible for our sexuality.
Relieves symptoms of pre menstrual syndrome
By stimulating the production of estrogens in women , vanilla oil contributes to alleviating the discomfort of women before their menstruation, as well as those that have lack of control in it, therefore, it has been determined that the swelling of the belly, acne , irritability of mood, sensitivity in general can decrease considerably thanks to vanilla oil. This is also due to the sedative effects, which allow the body to relax, lowering the tension levels of stress and day-to-day problems.
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Prevents the growth of cancer cells
Vanilla oil contains properties that fight various types of cancer, thanks to the fact that its natural components destroy the cells that produce it, preventing its development and spread in our body. At the same time it acts as a blocker against free radicals and external environmental agents, as well as protects from the sun’s rays and revitalizes skin cells and tissues.
In such a way that its antioxidant actions also act on the cells avoiding the acceleration of oxidation or aging earlier than expected, that is why frequent use is of great importance because in prevention life and health are preserved
For the treatment of fever symptoms caused by infections lodged in the body, especially in the respiratory system, which is the most frequently affected, vanilla essential oil is very useful as it relieves flu or common cold symptoms and also eliminates from the body the bacteria that cause it, thus reducing fever and infections
It has been proven that vanilla oil contains hydroxybenzaldehyde, vanillin, eugenol responsible for effectively fighting infectious diseases caused by fungi or bacteria.Some components present in vanilla oil, such as eugenol and vanillin, are capable of fighting skin infections and the respiratory tract, which are mostly the areas of the body most frequently affected, therefore the use of vanilla oil is recommended to promote good health and the prevention of such conditions.
Works as an antidepressant
Vanilla oil works as a natural antidepressant, several studies have proven that the use of vanilla improves people’s spirits, stimulating positivity and leaving aside apathy, fatigue, lack of stimulation among negative things. For example, a person who goes through a state of depression can be offered an ice cream, a flan or a dessert with vanilla, you will notice that their attitude varies favorably, being much better and more positive.
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The sedative effect produced by vanilla oil allows the improvement of various health conditions that lead to making our body sick, therefore vanilla favors the digestive system, the respiratory system, anxiety, reactivates blood circulation, levels the nervous system, it deflates areas of the body affected by bacteria, controls anxiety, stimulates the good action of the excretory system, among other important factors.
It evens out the nervous system, stress , fatigue, anger as it has properties that relax our brain and main systems, which leads to relaxation and stimulation of sleep.
Vanilla essential oil produces a calming effect through its soft and rich fragrance in aromatherapy is used to relax and soothe the body’s systems and apparatus, it is recommended to apply before sleeping, to produce a placid and calm sleep, lowers blood pressure and relieve stress, your body and mind will appreciate it.
All health processes are related to inflammation located in any area of the body caused by some alteration by bacteria, fungus or external agents that enter the body, it has its greatest emphasis on organs such as the liver.
The excretory system, the respiratory system, the circulatory system, completely improving it by eliminating swelling, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, this disease gradually destroys the cartilage, directly affecting the joints. Its antioxidant capacity is one of those responsible for reducing bad cholesterol levels, and adjusting triglyceride levels
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Lowers blood pressure
The incidence of vanilla on blood pressure has been positive since it contributes to lower levels of bad cholesterol, triglycerides, excellent reasons that promote optimal health of blood vessels allowing an excellent performance of blood flow, preventing the risk of contracting coronary diseases such as heart attacks, mainly caused by arteries blocked by layers of fat, lack of oxygen, stroke, diabetes, all this thanks to these incredible vanilla. Let’s not forget that it is a powerful natural antioxidant that slows down the risks of cell and tissue oxidation while dilating the arteries for better blood flow throughout the body.
Culinary uses of vanilla oil
Among many ingredients that we use in our kitchen, we cannot miss vanilla , due to its powerful aroma, its exquisite flavor, without a doubt one of the most used in the preparation of food and drinks in our home. It can combine very well with other spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, anise, among other very good as well, it is a number of preparations, then we will show you some recipes with vanilla.
Butter and vanilla cookies
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons vanilla essence or vanilla extract (more concentrated)
- Zest of a lemon or orange
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of sugar
- 200 grams of butter
- A mixng bowl or cup
- Wooden mixer or paddle
- Roller to roll out the dough
- Figure molds
- Baking sheet
In the bowl, cream the sugar with the vanilla, mix well to perfume, then the butter is added and stir very well once a whitish color of the preparation is noticed add the egg, the lemon or orange zest and after that the flour.
Have a clean surface and dry, sprinkle a little flour and knead the mixture until it becomes uniform and homogeneous, if you wish you can leave it in the fridge to rest for half an hour. Roll out the dough and cut the cookies with the molds of the shape you want. Preheat the oven for about 15 minutes before baking. Then place on a previously buttered and floured tray.
Bake 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown and they will be ready to eat a delicious vanilla cookie.
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Squash meringue with vanilla
- A cup of cooked butternut squash
- Two cups of milk
- Two or three tablespoons of vanilla
- Cinnamon powder
In a blender add the milk with the squash puree, blend at medium speed, add the vanilla. Serve very cold with ice cubes and sprinkle a touch of cinnamon in the glass and the meringue is ready.
Coffee and vanilla-based drink
- Two cups of coffee a little strong
- A cup of milk
- Two tablespoons of vanilla essence
Place all the ingredients including the ice in the blender, process at high speed, once ready serve cold if you like you can also add condensed milk
Vanilla oil in aromatherapy
As for aromatherapy, vanilla essential oil favors perfume and purify the environment wherever you are, promoting harmony, awakening the senses and projecting a feeling of well-being, sedative tranquility, stimulating relaxation of the body and mind while inducing and tasty and deep sleep.
It can be added as an air freshener or through candles to which you will add a couple of drops, light it and sit down to read or relax.
If you want to give yourself a rich massage, add vanilla oil to the cream and perform gentle and circular massages to relieve depression, fatigue, stress, you will feel totally renewed after this therapeutic practice.
Check out our article on Aromatherapy: The Power of Essential Oils
How to make homemade vanilla oil?
Make vanilla oil at home if you can, for this follow these useful tips: You need, vanilla seeds, a pot with water, ice to taste.
In a pot about half full, bring it to medium heat until boiling, then in another pot you are going to place the vanilla seeds and put it in a water bath, cover it with the lid upside down, once it has been done on the top of the lid you will add the ice, continue over medium heat for an hour, do not stop monitoring the preparation on the lid, the ice should not be missing, this will act as follows when boiling the water generates the heat in the seeds this pot will produce steam that will drain through The lid where the ice is will not be particular drops of water they are from the vanilla oil that we are producing, after time turn off the heat and remove the lid very carefully so that the drops of oil remain inside the pot,Let it cool and then pack by straining the preparation and thus we obtained the vanilla essential oil which is ready to use alone or with other coconut, jojoba, almond or other oils, keep it in place, dark, dry and fresh.
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Contraindications and risks of vanilla oil
In general , vanilla oil is not toxic , but that does not mean that there are no more people with sensitive skin who may be irritated by contact with essential oil of vanilla, if that were the case, the most frequent symptoms would be irritation. of the skin, inflammation, that is why we always recommend that before using a product for the first time, apply a drop to the skin area for a few minutes to test how the skin reacts and thus prevent greater evils. And always consult with your doctor when you see any unusual symptoms.
Nutritional value of vanilla oil
Here are the contents of vanilla essential oil:
- Vitamin A in 0 µg,
- cholesterol in 0 mg,
- Energy at 51.4 Kcal,
- Thiamine at 0.01 mg.,
- Calcium at 11 mg.,
- Vitamin B1 at 0.011 mg.,
- magnesium 12 mg.,
- Potassium at 148 mg.,
- Proteins in 0.06 g.,
- Vitamin B1 at 0.011 mg,
- Carbohydrates in 12.7 g.,
- guaiacol Vitamin B2 in 0.095 mg,
- Niacin at 0.42 mg.,
- polyunsaturated fatty acids in 0.004 g.,
- Vitamin B6 at 0.026 mg.,
- anise alcohol,
- sodium in 9 mg.,
- Phosphorus in 6 mg.,
- Monounsaturated fatty acids in 0.01 g.,
- Fiber in 0 g.,
- Sugars in 12.65 g.,
- Saturated fatty acids in 0.01 g.,
- Lipids in 0.06 g.,
- iron in 0.12 mg.,
- copper 0.02 mg.,
- Riboflavin in 0.1 mg.,
- Zinc at 0.11 mg.,
- Water in 52.58 g.
Also through confirmed studies it is known that there are around 200 varied compounds depending on the growing region and the quality of the seeds.
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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.