Vanilla planifolia is a vine that creeps up on an existing tree or structure, which can grow as high as its host can. It bears delicate cream-colored flowers that resemble the orchid. The plant is in fact, a type of wild orchid and is a member of the Orchidaceae family. The creeper originated in Mexican lands before it spread throughout the tropics of Indonesia and Madagascar, both which are currently the world’s largest cultivators of vanilla. During the 16th century, Spanish explorers arrived on the Gulf Coast of Mexico and gave it its current name vaina or vanilla in English meaning, “little pod.”
Vanilla essential oil, on the other hand, is the solvent derived from the plant’s beans or pods. It is widely used in aromatherapy, pastry making, and perfumery. However, vanilla essential oil is more than just an ingredient in pastries or in toiletries. It also has aphrodisiac properties, promotes serenity, and many more surprising benefits you would have never thought of. Let’s check them out!
Nutrition Info (per 100 g)
Riboflavin 0.1 mg – 6%
Niacin 0.4 mg – 2%
Vitamin B6 – 1%
Calcium 11 mg – 1%
Iron 0.1 mg – 1%
Magnesium 12 mg – 3%
Phosphorus 6 mg – 1%
Potassium 148 mg – 4%
Zinc 0.1 mg – 1%
Copper 0.1 mg – 4%
Manganese 0.2 mg – 11%
13 Impressive Benefits of Vanilla Essential Oil
1. Contain Antioxidant Properties
Oxidation is the root cause of so many health conditions. It holds prime responsibility for a number of illnesses and degenerative diseases, many of which have no cure. Oxidation produces free radicals that are very harmful to the body’s cells and tissues. The formation of free radicals can possibly cause DNA mutation among healthy cells, weakening the body’s immune system and memory, damage vision and hearing, deteriorating mental stability, and making the body become more susceptible to diseases.
Fortunately, vanilla essential oil has antioxidant properties that neutralize these free radicals and shields the body from wear and tear and strengthens the immune system’s response to infections. Antioxidants help repair the body at a cellular level; thus helping offset possible cancerous changes before they occur.
2. Can Improve Mood
Vanilla essential oil can sweeten a bitter temperament any time with its delightful taste and aroma. Like the majority of essential oils, vanilla can help uplift your mood, via inhalation of its aromatic components. In fact, people have been using vanilla essential oil to fight depression, anxiety, and stress since the 17th century.
According to neurological studies, vanilla’s essential oils positive effects are due to vanillin, which is the primary component of vanilla essential oil. A study also published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology noted that it is as effective as fluoxetine in treating depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This of course, comes without the side effects associated with prescription medication, making it a particularly attractive alternative for persons who prefer a more natural remedy.
3. Vanilla Essential Oil Induces Sleep
Insomnia and anxiety go hand in hand, causing rapid deterioration of your health. Luckily, vanilla essential oil can soothe the mind and body in countless ways. It relieves inflammation, prevents hyperactivity, and lowers blood pressure so you can relax. Overall, the essential oil is a sedative, relaxant, and tranquilizer. Just a few drops of vanilla essential oil on your pillow are all you need to have a good night’s sleep.
4. Helps Lower Blood Pressure
The sedative effects of vanilla essential oil naturally lower blood pressure as it soothes the mind and body. Blood pressure is markedly worsened by stress. Hence, eliminating stress through relaxation lowers blood pressure levels. In addition, vanilla essential oils are abundant in antioxidants that fight oxidative damage to blood vessels which render them inflexible, and helps dilate arteries.
5. Contain Anti-inflammatory Properties
Just about every health condition originates from inflammation. Vanilla essential oil is abundant in antioxidants that effectively minimize the damage caused by inflammation. Moreover, vanilla essential oil can help reduce levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which benefits patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease marked by uncontrolled inflammation. Vanilla essential oil can help alleviate the pain associated with inflamed joints.
6. Boosts Libido and Can Help Address Sexual Deficiencies
Impotence is a common concern among men, while a hostile uterus is a scary thought among women. Fortunately, vanilla essential oil along with proper nutrition and lifestyle practices can benefit such cases. Low levels of testosterone or estrogen are often the root cause of impotence, frigidity, and loss of libido. Vanilla essential oil helps stimulate these hormones to relieve such problems; in the process improving libido and sexual aggression as well.
7. Treats Menstrual Problems
A Hormonal imbalance is the primary factor that causes PMS symptoms such as dysmenorrhea, fatigue, mood swings, and breast tenderness in menstruating women. Vanilla essential oil is not an emmenagogue, but it increases estrogen levels, which in turn promotes regular menstruation and alleviates PMS symptoms. It also prevents hypersensitivity of neurons during PMS so your mind and body are relaxed while the symptoms are minimized.
8. Contain Antibacterial Properties
A study published in Basel, Switzerland evaluated the efficiency of vanilla essential oil for reducing certain types of bacteria including the staphylococcus that causes boils. The vanilla essential oil contains eugenol and vanillin hydroxybenzaldehyde, both of which make up the oil’s antibacterial properties. Vanilla essential oil inhibits the multiplication of bacteria, helps to immensely reduce bacterial load and chances of an infection. This is actually one of the main reasons vanilla essential oils are being included in cosmetic properties more and more, with its pleasant aroma being a plus.
9. Contain Antipyretic Properties
Fever is typically a symptom of an infection; hence, you need to address the root cause to reduce or eliminate it. Fortunately, the vanilla essential oil contains eugenol and vanillin hydroxybenzaldehyde, which fights the infection that causes fever. Vanilla essential oil also counteracts inflammation caused by fever. Its sedative and tranquilizing effects are also beneficial in treating fever, and also the expulsion of heat generated by the immune system.
10. Helps Reduce Cravings For Sugar
High-calorie desserts such as cakes and ice cream are often linked with weight gain, and vanilla is often used in preparing these indulging treats. However, inhaling the warm, sweet aroma of vanilla essential oil can satiate your cravings for sugary desserts. This is very helpful especially when you are following a weight loss program or trying to get hold of your diabetes. Who knew smelling something yummy was enough to fill your tummy?
11. Can Help Prevent Cancer
Among the most important benefits of vanilla essential oil is its prowess in the prevention and treatment of cancer. First of all, vanilla essential oil is rich in antioxidants that scavenge free radicals that damage cell DNA. Free radicals at high concentrations play a role in the development of cancer, but antioxidants eliminate free radicals from the body and reverse its effects.
Moreover, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry mentioned vanilla’s exemplary oxygen radical absorption capacity or ORAC. In fact, vanilla essential oil exhibits 200 chemical compounds that constitute its antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. It denotes potential, particularly in breast and lung cancer.
A study conducted on mice proved that the oil demonstrated anti-mutagenic activity, preventing chemical carcinogenesis and decreasing cancer cells’ invasiveness. Moreover, vanilla essential oil inhibits cancerous cell migration in the lungs and prevents angiogenesis.
Vanilla essential oil helps impede the development of cancer, making it a natural cancer prevention and treatment, and one of the most promising discoveries over the past 50 years.
12. Relieves Toothache
Before you can make it to the dentist, you can rub vanilla essential oil to relieve a toothache. The vanilla essential oil contains a small concentration of alcohol that helps numb the affected area. Its effects are short-lived however, so do not consider it a permanent fix.
13. Prevents Premature Skin Aging
Free radical damage within the body is mirrored through your skin, your largest organ. Poor health can be revealed by simply judging the quality of your skin. Fortunately, the vanilla essential oil contains a wealth of antioxidants that help maintain a low level of free radicals and can mitigate the damage caused by oxidative stress. Likewise, vanilla essential oil promotes collagen production so you can sustain the elasticity and suppleness of your skin.
Vanilla essential oil has more to offer than its warm and enticing aroma. The antioxidant property of vanilla essential oil alone can address many problems. As early as the 16th century, people have already been using vanilla essential oil as an antidote to many ailments. Hence, it is always helpful to have a bottle or two of vanilla essential oil with you since it is cheap and readily available the world over.