Properties, benefits and uses of vanilla

Vanilla is one of the most recognized species in the world. Its exquisite aroma and flavor make this plant widely used in the gastronomy, perfume and aromatherapy industries.

But beyond these uses, vanilla offers a variety of benefits that have been used in natural medicine. If you want to know more, don’t stop reading this article.

What is vanilla?

It is a component that comes from the orchid Vanilla planifolia, originally from Mexico. Vanilla is released from these plants in the form of pods (chopsticks), the size of which varies from 5 to 22 centimeters. These, when they ripen, are roasted in the sun until they acquire a brown hue and a firmer consistency. In the end, the expected product will turn out: vanilla.

Its name was given by the Spanish conquerors. However, the ancient Totonacs recognized it as “Xahanat” or “Black Flower”, while the Aztecs called it “Tixotlil”.

From its origins, vanilla was used as an aroma and as a tribute to the gods.

There are several types of vanilla, such as:

  • Fine vanilla: It varies from 20 to 30 cm, it is black and its aroma is concentrated.
  • Woody vanilla: It is dry, mat red in color and measures between 13 and 20 cm.
  • Vanillion: It results from a pod, a band, flat and rarely frosted. Its measurement varies between 10 and 12 cm. Its aroma is strong and pungent.

In the market you will find the sale of vanilla in various presentations, such as liquid, powder, stick or gasoline.

Properties of vanilla

Studies published by the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture claim that this species has medicinal properties thanks to its antioxidant compounds, which protect the body’s cells from free radicals.

This publication also confirms the antibacterial properties of vanilla, which is why it is a plant that helps prevent infectious diseases.

It is estimated that every 100 grams of vanilla provides the body with the following nutrients:

Sodium 9 mg.
Magnesium 12 mg
Zinc 0.11 mg
Potassium 148 mg.
Calcium 11 mg
Calories 51.40
Carbohydrates 12.7 gr
Fiber 28.50
Protein 0.1 gr
Sugars 12.65
Vitamin B2 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3 0.4 mg

Health benefits

  • Its consumption helps to minimize inflammation of the intestines, relieving stomach aches and other discomforts of the digestive system. Vanilla has been used over time to improve digestion. Plus, its pleasant aroma helps fight nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Its antiseptic and analgesic properties help relieve pain and prevent infections.
  • Thanks to its nutritional and aromatic content, vanilla contributes to the better functioning of the nervous system.
  • It contains relaxing properties, which help soothe abdominal pain, as well as other ailments in the body.
  • Helps calm stress and anxiety, improving mood. Traditional medicine ensures that its pleasant smell directly affects the perception of the brain, inducing a state of balance and calm which helps reduce stress.
  • It is an aphrodisiac product, which promotes relaxation and stimulates sexual desire.
  • It prevents diseases of the cardiovascular system, minimizing cholesterol levels.
  • Helps prevent cancer, thanks to its antioxidant properties that fight free radicals.
  • Protects the body’s immune system, increases defenses and helps prevent disease.
  • Promotes the proper functioning of the liver.
  • Relieves musculoskeletal pain, helping to prevent arthritis.
  • It is an excellent healing agent, in addition to helping regenerate the skin. In addition, its use is recommended for people with acne problems, thanks to its antibacterial properties.
  • It is a powerful anti-inflammatory throughout the body. Studies published in Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology confirm its use for neuroinflammation.
  • Helps in hair growth, strengthening and shine.
  • It is an excellent product to impart flavor and smell in the preparation of cooking recipes.
  • It is used to flavor environments.

Uses of vanilla

In gastronomy

Since ancient times, vanilla has been used to add flavor and smell to a wide variety of cooking recipes. It is an essential ingredient in pastries, ice creams, cookies and pastries.

In natural medicine

Here are some home remedies made with vanilla:

  • To calm the pain. Mix a tablespoon of vanilla in 8 ounces of water and drink it before bed.
  • For gingivitis. Combine a tablespoon of vanilla, 1 banana, half a cup of skim milk and half a cup of blackberries. The liquid is then drunk to fight bacteria in the mouth and tackle gingivitis.
  • For the livid ones: 10 grams of vanilla and 90 grams of sugar are poured into a completely closed container. It is recommended to drink 2 grams of this preparation dissolved in a cup of hot milk 2 times a day, on an empty stomach and before sleeping.

Other uses

  • This is a great product for aromatherapy, so you will find that vanilla is widely used in the production of incense, deodorants, and oils.
  • It is used in the perfume and personal hygiene industry, finding vanilla scented lotions, as well as shampoos and moisturizers.

Contraindications

Its consumption is not recommended in people suffering from chronic gastritis, irritable bowel or neurological, hepatic or kidney diseases.

You should always consult your doctor before starting any treatment with herbal remedies.