Vanilla is a flavor that 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 vanilla essential oil might include its properties of an antioxidant, aphrodisiac, febrifuge, antidepressant, sedative, tranquilizer, and relaxing substance. Moreover, it also may have antifungal, antibacterial properties that promote healthy skin and hair, and might 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.
Might have Antioxidant Properties
The antioxidant property of vanilla essential oil might neutralize free radicals and can protect the body from wear and tear, and infections. It also might repair the damage already done to the body.
May be an Aphrodisiac
A vanilla essential oil concoction might have been given to patients who have impotence, erectile dysfunction, rigidity, or loss of libido relieving them of their problems. This oil might stimulate 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 possibly increase sexual mood.
Can be Antimutagenic
According to a study in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vanillin has potential anti-mutagenic properties and it might inhibit the mutation factor in colon cancer cells. Further studies are required to know its therapeutic potential in cancer treatment and prevention.
Might be a Febrifuge
The vanilla essential oil might effectively reduce fever by fighting infections. The essential oil may contain components that fight infections. Also, being a sedative, it may reduce inflammation from flushes, so it is also considered an antiphlogistic.
Might Relieve 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 can help. However, when it comes to aromatherapy, essential oils come in handy. According to an animal study in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, vanilla at 100 mg/kg demonstrated potential antidepressant activity. Vanilla’s calming properties uplift one’s mood and it may reduce anger, stress, tension, and irritability.
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 potential 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:
- Take a few vanilla pods and chop them evenly. Add them in a carrier oil, infuse it for two weeks, and shake it occasionally. Use it whenever required.
- Take a few vanilla pods and infuse them in an ethyl alcohol concentrate for two weeks, shaking it occasionally. Pour it into 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.