Vanilla Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses & How to Make

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

Vanilla is a flavor which is not just a favorite in cakes and ice-creams, but also an essential oil scent. Its fragrance is enough to spark a dull and boring room within seconds. Apart from its commercial and baking specialty, the vanilla essential oil is a favorite amongst the masses for its health benefits too. The health benefits of the vanilla essential oil include its properties of an antioxidant, aphrodisiac, febrifuge, antidepressant, sedative, tranquilizer, and a relaxing substance. Moreover, it also has antifungal, antibacterial properties that promote healthy skin and hair, and provides relief from muscle pain and cramps.

What is Vanilla Essential Oil?

Vanilla is a traditional flavoring agent procured from the cured beans of the genus Vanilla. The essential oil of vanilla is extracted by the solvent extraction of a substance obtained from fermented vanilla beans. These beans come from vanilla plants, a creeper that grows mainly in Mexico and neighboring countries, and bears the scientific name Vanilla Planifolia. Most of the flavors including vanilla are not derived from proper vanilla. They are synthesized from hydrocarbons.

Vanilla Essential Oil Benefits

Apart from its use as a flavoring agent in foods, beverages, and pharmaceutical industries, vanilla oil has several health benefits. Let us explore them in detail.

A jar of vanilla oil with dried vanilla beans on a small white tray

Vanilla absolute is an oil extracted from the molasses-like vanilla oleoresin. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Antioxidant Properties

The antioxidant property of vanilla essential oil neutralizes free radicals and protects the body from wear and tear, and infections. It also repairs the damage already done to the body and stimulates repair.

Aphrodisiac

A vanilla essential oil concoction was given to patients who have impotence, erectile dysfunction, rigidity, or loss of libido relieving them of their problems. This oil stimulates certain hormones like testosterone and estrogen, thereby boosting sexual behavior. Moreover, according to legend, wine mixed with ginger, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar is the perfect blend to increase sexual mood.

Antimutagenic

According to a study in the Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vanillin has potential anti-mutagenic properties and inhibits the mutation factor in colon cancer cells. Further studies are required to know its therapeutic potential in cancer treatment and prevention.

Febrifuge

The vanilla essential oil effectively reduces fever by fighting infections. The essential oil contains components that fight infections. Also, being a sedative, it reduces inflammation from flushes, so it is also considered an antiphlogistic.

Relieves Depression

Depression is a life-threatening mood disorder suffered by over 17 million Americans. There is no absolute cure for it, but standard practices such as meditation, healthy eating, and exercise help. However, when it comes to aromatherapy, essential oils come handy. According to an animal study in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, vanilla at 100 mg/kg demonstrated antidepressant activity. Vanilla’s calming properties uplift one’s mood and reduce anger, stress, tension, and irritability.

Blending: The essential oil of vanilla blends well with the essential oils of orange, lemon, neroli, jojoba, chamomile, lavender, and sandalwood.

How to Use Vanilla Oil

Be careful before purchasing vanilla essential oil as most of the brands sell fragrances or synthetic extracts. However, you can use the oil in the following ways:

  • Vanilla absolute is unfit for aromatherapy as it is thick and gummy. You may need to warm the oil to soften it and make it into liquid.
  • Vanilla absolute when blended with other aromatic oils, makes a scintillating cologne and oil blends.
  • It has a smoky fragrance, compared to the essence used in baking.
  • Vanilla oil is known to have aphrodisiac properties. So, it would be best to use it as a fragrance in an oil blend.

How to Make Vanilla Essential Oil?

Here are two simple ways to make this aromatic oil:

  1. Take a few vanilla pods and chop it evenly. Add them in a carrier oil, infuse it for two weeks, and shake it occasionally. Use it whenever required.
  2. Take a few vanilla pods and infuse them in an ethyl alcohol concentrate for two weeks, shaking it occasionally. Pour it in a dish to let the alcohol evaporate. The residue left behind is your pure vanilla oil!

Word of caution: Before application, it is advisable to dilute 5% or less in a carrier oil as an absolute.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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