The Benefits of Vanilla Essential Oil for Home and Heath
Pure natural vanilla extract boasts the second most expensive spice in the world– after Saffron. Its expensive nature is due to the difficulty in cultivating and the rigorous processes involved in obtaining its essence, but this oil has numerous benefits.
Vanilla is widely praised for its warm, sweet, and comforting aroma. These attributes, coupled with other therapeutic gains, make vanilla highly demanded globally. But aside from its charming scent and satisfying flavor, vanilla oil promises a range of applications and benefits in aromatherapy.
For instance, vanilla has been used since ancient times to induce sleep. To create a relaxed and sleep-friendly aura, MOXĒ Dream Essential Oil Blend for sleep is your best bet. This Dream blend contains Roman chamomile, Lavender, Grapefruit, and Lemongrass essential oils which you can pair with Vanilla for a more natural sleep solution.
In this article, we’ll go over the properties of vanilla and how best to utilize them for your benefit!
But before we get into the main uses, let’s learn a bit about vanilla.
Vanilla Essential Oil – A Quick History
First recorded in South America, Central America and the Caribbean, the Vanilla plant is a unique member of the Orchid family. Among the 25,000 orchid species so far identified, only vanilla produces edible fruits.
History links the original cultivation of vanilla to the Totonacs (Indigenous people of Mexico). They used the plant for various applications – from flavoring cigars to natural sweeteners for their chocolate beverages.
This was before the Totonacs lost their territory (and of course, their harvests, including vanilla) to the Aztecs in the 1400s.
The Aztecs were defeated by the Spanish, and all their prized possessions (like vanilla) were moved to Europe.
Vanilla remained relatively unknown until Queen Elizabeth I of England listed vanilla-themed desserts among her favorites. As news of The Queen’s new favorite spread across Europe, so did vanilla spices.
At this time, settlers in the Americas knew little to nothing about vanilla essence and its benefits.
On one of his visits to France, Thomas Jefferson enjoyed the vanilla-flavored ice cream he was served and took some along on his return to the US.
Ever since, gradually, but consistently, vanilla’s popularity has soared in the US, becoming a key ingredient in both consumables [foods and drinks] and cosmetics, including lotions and perfumes.
How is Vanilla Essential Oil Extracted?
After pollination, the Vanilla plant produces a bean-like seed pod, which is where vanilla is extracted. But if you expect to get all the attractive properties and their precious benefits from its raw off-the-vine condition, you’ll surely be disappointed.
Funnily, vanilla beans have no flavor and no smell. Extractors invest several months in drying, curing, and extraction to obtain the rich-flavored vanilla essence.
Also, the beans contain fragile compounds which traditional extraction methods may destroy. Because of this, vanilla oil is extracted by splitting the pods in a water-ethanol solvent solution, after which filtration is used to remove the solvent.
Therefore, there is technically no such thing as vanilla essential oil. Generally, essential oils are extracted through expeller, cold pressing, or steam distillation.
This is different for vanilla which is obtained by solvent extraction via ethanol. This is why you may hear vanilla oil referred to as an “absolute” oil. This method is used for other similarly extracted oils, like plenty of floral variants.
Other familiar oils like Rose, Jasmine and Gardenia are all absolute oils because they are extracted in this manner. In fact, Rose and Jasmine can be found in our MOXĒ Love Essential Oil blend which provides a rich floral aroma and natural oils that aids in boosting libido.
So, when you read about ‘vanilla essential oil,’ the authors literally mean highly concentrated vanillin products. Getting 100 percent pure vanilla essential oil can be a holy grail. However, insist on products with as pure as possible
Vanilla Oil Purity
Vanilla oil purity may be measured by the concentration of vanillin. So, the higher the vanillin content, the greater your vanilla essential oil potency.
Although you may achieve a similar scent and flavor from synthetically produced vanilla.
However, while synthetic Vanilla oil smells identical to absolute Vanilla, the synthetic oil does not provide any health benefits.
Vanilla Essential Oil Properties
Vanilla contains several compounds of which vanillin is most abundant.
Vanillin accounts for the pleasant flavor and aroma associated with vanilla. Commonly, vanilla essential oil contains around 20 to 25 percent vanillin concentration.
Note that the richer the vanillin concentration in your vanilla essential oil, the higher its therapeutic potency.
This concentration level is far lower in food-grade vanilla, which usually contains around two percent vanillin.
About 85 percent of vanilla’s flavor and aroma comes from vanillin. The vanilla plant also contains over 130 minor compounds which offer the other 15 percent.
These compositions may vary slightly across plant species and climatic regions. This explains the differences between the Mexican Vanilla, Tahitian Vanilla, and the Bourbon-Madagascar Vanilla.
Vanilla Essential Oil Uses
Let’s discuss some vanilla essential oil benefits and how to get the best out of your applications.
For calm and relaxation
We often associate vanilla essential oil with its calming properties which promotes happiness and comfort. This relaxing essence makes vanilla a common ingredient in everyday body lotions and bath products such as shower sprays and room & linen sprays.
Vanilla essential oil has been a go-to for aromatherapists since ancient times. Contemporary research reveals that its unique scent is a potential treatment for claustrophobia and anxiety.
Boost respiratory health
Sprayed on your beddings, vanilla can clear out your nasal pathways and help you breathe smoothly. It does this by interacting with your brain’s respiratory center.
Some reports show that young children may benefit from vanilla essential oil. A 2012 study reveals that premature infants with sleep apnea recorded great improvement when laid on pillows with vanillin.
That said, ensure you consult a pediatrician before administering vanilla (or any essential oil) to children, especially babies.
Vanilla also contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, which may provide additional health benefits. Some anecdotal reviews also support the compound as a handy hair loss solution.
Even more, vanilla essential oil contains certain compounds – including thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid – which are all common skincare ingredients. They’re particularly known to fight free radicals and, in turn, reduce wrinkles.
Vanilla may also help you combat those stubborn age-induced skin spots.
While we can't stop aging, reducing the effects on your skin sounds like a good bargain.
Promotes immunity and overall Health
The disease-fighting properties of vanilla are linked to two components in the oil, namely;
- Vanillin hydroxybenzaldehyde and
Several lab trials reveal that vanilla could reduce and curb the spread of certain harmful bacteria, including Listeria and E. Coli. This excellent news for dealing with antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.
Boost Sleep Quality
The same relaxant in vanilla can also clear out your mental clutter and tension. Vanilla is one of our favorites for relaxation, particularly after those long days.
In exploring essential oil products, you may discover that vanilla used with other sleep-inducing citrus and floral oils can create a synergistic and more potent sleep solution.
MOXĒ essential oil for relaxation is one such product that builds the right atmosphere for a long peaceful drift and is extremely portable for easy use at anytime.
Check out our MOXE Peace nasal inhaler to promote calmness has an amazing aroma that perfectly blends oils like Geranium, Lime, Mandarin and Bergamot.
This oil can also be used as a linen spray or diffused. There’s no best way to apply essential oils for sleep. Just try out options and see which works best for reduced prep time and increased shut-eye.
Using Vanilla Essential Oil - Safety Tips
While the testimonies might be genuine, as with using other essential oils, caution is advised.
Use only diluted essential oil
Whether for topical or aromatic intents, vanilla’s application may not be safe in its rawest form. As a general rule of thumb, dilute with carrier oils to avoid respiratory or skin irritation.
Do not ingest
Regular vanilla essential oils are not fit for ingestion. However, if you wish to infuse vanilla into food or beverages, there are safe food-grade alternatives in local grocery stores.
Not suitable for expectant or nursing mothers
Also, expectant mothers, nursing mothers, and kids should abstain from using essential oils or avoid areas where they are sprayed/diffused.
Conduct a skin patch test
For topical application, a skin patch test can save you a lot trouble in the future.
As commonly recommended for most first-time skincare items, you should test the diluted oil on a spot on your skin and observe the effect for several hours or up to a day.
If anything looks odd (such as irritation or rash), you should discontinue usage immediately and seek a dermatologist’s counsel.
Buy only from safe and trusted companies
There are several negative essential oil reviews on the internet. Too often, these sad reports are traceable to products from fly-by-night manufacturers.
Here’s a fact: Essential oils are expensive – Vanilla essential oil is particularly costly. As with any high-value natural products, when scouting, actively lookout for fakes.
One major red flag is the price tag – if a vanilla oil product looks too cheap, look away! These low-grade imitations offer nothing more than a nice smell. Worse still, they endanger both your respiratory and skin health.
Despite its expensive nature, vanilla essential oil is still widely sought after for its therapeutic benefits. Among others, this oil has shown great promises in:
- Improving skin and hair health booster
- Boosting Immunity - in turn, overall health
- Promoting respiratory health
- Improving sleep quality
- And more
Although most vanilla scents today are lab-manufactured, for the best result, insist on plant-sourced vanilla essential oil also known as “absolute” oil.
While vanilla essential oil has great potential as a standalone product, if you desire more, consider essential oil blends that contain vanilla and other carefully selected essential oil ingredients. Check out the MOXĒ aromatherapy collection for such alternatives and everything essential oil.For more about essential oils, check out our free resources or discuss with our customer friendly staff to help you find your way around the world of essential oils.