Vanilla Oil Benefits
This delicately fragrant oil is very special. The source is the seed pod of a Central American orchid. What’s interesting is that the pod itself has no scent, and it’s a long, laborious road, industrially, to isolate that aromatic oil.
We usually associate vanilla—its extract—with baking. But in its more intense form—essential oil—it won’t do for cooking at all. It has many uses, though, beyond the kitchen.
It’s a relaxation agent. The growing “essential oils” industry offers vanilla under many brand names as a tool for coping with stress. At home, you can scent the air with a diffuser or a potpourri simmer pot. Or add a blend of vanilla, lavender, and jasmine to your bathwater for a warm, relaxing soak.
Vanilla can help you manage depression and anxiety; even a vanilla-flavored beverage can lift your spirits. Not that this is an excuse to hit your local fast-food joint for a daily vanilla shakes; that likely isn’t real vanilla anyway. The scent, real or artificial, is always a boost.
Vanilla oil can help you achieve a good night’s sleep, thanks to its calming and relaxing properties. Vanilla helps lower blood pressure and can have a tranquilizing effect on the mind, making it easier to fall asleep.
One of the more exotic boasts made for vanilla is the claim that it can cure impotence. Some consume it. Others apply it to the skin. Many simply use it as an arousing fragrance.
Better documented, perhaps, are vanilla’s effects in inhibiting certain types of bacteria. The herb was once considered able to prevent the development of bacteria. You can, for example, add vanilla oil to homemade soap for its aromatic and antibacterial benefits. In addition, you can pair with citrus to boost a more refreshing blend of scents.
Vanilla is also an anti-inflammatory, similar in its effects to antioxidants. Simply massage the oil deep into inflamed joints and muscles, then gradually feel the relief.
Vanilla is rich in vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid, all of which are needed for skin health. Vanilla’s antioxidant properties also help to prevent skin damage from environmental pollutants and toxins.
No doubt about it: That little bean’s essential oil, hard as it is to get to, is marvelous stuff!