What are the benefits of vanilla essential oils?

by Alasdair Walker

A Little About Vanilla

Vanilla, or vanilla planifolia, is an epiphytic orchid which is native to Mexico, and now grows all over the world, including Indonesia and Madagascar. Vanilla consistently ranks as one of the most expensive spices in the world, and is considered one of the most sought after and utilized.  

There are 3 variations of vanilla oil, which are defined by their method of extraction.  Vanilla oil differs from other essential oils, which are typically extracted by means of cold-pressing, or steam distillation, because it can not be extracted in the same way.

The most similar to most topical essential oils, and is able to be dissolved in a carrier oil, would be carbon dioxide (CO2) extracted. For this method, vanilla pods are inserted into a pressurized chamber, and injected with CO2 gas. Inside, the CO2 becomes a liquid, and acts as a solvent to extract the oil from the vanilla pods, and once the oil is extracted, the CO2 liquid once again becomes a gas, and leaves behind the extracted oil.

Vanilla Uses

Commonly used in baking recipes, vanilla is also used aromatically, and can even provide users benefits when applied topically. 

Vanilla can be used to promote relaxation, reduce anger, stress, tension, and irritability, while providing a calming effect, and induce uplifting feelings of comfort and happiness. This can be beneficial for those individuals who experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. 

In addition to warm and fuzzy feelings, vanilla is also thought to stimulate certain hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, acting as an aphrodisiac. 

Some individuals may experience skin and hair benefits from utilizing vanilla oil topically. These benefits include keeping skin clear of acne, promote overall skin health, prevent free radical damage, and can even help keep hair healthy and shiny. 

Vanilla planifolia is a member of the orchid family and is thought to have originated in Mexico

Health Benefits of Vanilla

Vanilla is believed to help alleviate the symptoms for women who are experiencing PMS symptoms such as fatigue, cramps, and bloating, and may even help stabilize mood and emotions. This is because the main factor which causes these symptoms is hormonal fluctuations, and vanilla can encourage the production of estrogen.

Vanilla is thought to possess antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. This is because antioxidants kill free radicals in the body, reverse oxidative stress, and prevent oxidation of cells. Because of similar properties, vanilla may also help your body fight off bacteria, help prevent infection, and may even help individuals reduce wrinkles and age spots.

Because of vanilla’s ability to promote relaxation of both the body and mind, it may also help those individuals who experience high blood pressure. 

Other internal uses for food grade vanilla, include being a home remedy for fever reduction, can alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders, and even help soothe inflammation that causes sore throats.

Safe Usage

If you are planning on using vanilla for internal consumption, make sure you are confident your product is considered food grade. Typically the only variation of vanilla that is rated for consumption is vanilla extract that is sold in grocery stores.

Vanilla oil is typically considered safe for most individuals, both for internal consumption and topical use. When selecting a vanilla product, first make sure it is genuinely extracted from the vanilla plant, and is not synthetic to receive the desired benefits. Quality and extraction method are both important factors to consider.

If you have known allergies, or are unaware of how your body will react, start off by applying a one or two drops of the oil to a small patch of skin (such as to the back of your hand, or on your arm). If you experience any symptoms such as irritation, inflammation, or swelling you may want to discontinue use, and consult a healthcare professional.

If you are diluting the oil, make sure you do not have any sensitivities to the carrier oil, and if you are planning on ingesting the formulation, that the carrier oil is also graded for internal consumption. 

There are a range of benefits of vanilla than being just a flavoring for desserts.


Vanilla has multiple benefits that can make it a great addition to any essential oil collection. Whether you’re wanting to clear up your skin, get in the mood, or just wanting to relax your mind and body, vanilla has more to offer than just being a top choice for flavoring your dessert. 

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