The scent and flavor of vanilla has inspired many wonderful products from ice cream to body lotion. But did you know that this plant offers much more than wonderful flavor and aroma? Vanilla is full of health-boosting ingredients including antioxidants and vitamin B.
- Grown in Mexico, the Caribbean and South America, the fruit of the vanilla orchid has been praised for centuries due to its healing properties and flavor.
- The ancient Aztecs believed the vanilla bean was a powerful male aphrodisiac. This could have been due to vanilla’s ability to elevate moods, encourage relaxation and general overall well-being.
- Vanilla is full of antioxidants, known for reducing inflammation, strengthening the immune system and relieving anxiety.
- Vanilla tea has been known to help regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle.
- Harvesting vanilla extract can be challenging. The process often requires delicate hand pollination. That’s why artificial vanilla flavoring has become prevalent in the supermarket.
Tips and Tricks:
- Suffering from nausea? Brew a batch of vanilla tea using pure vanilla beans or vanilla extract and milk. All you need are a few drops of the extract.
- Watch out for vanilla “flavoring”. This product tastes similar to vanilla but doesn’t have all its wonderful healing properties. Look for products made with vanilla bean or labeled, “vanilla extract”.
- Did you find some tiny black specks in your vanilla dessert? Don’t worry, this most likely means the vanilla came directly from the vanilla bean pod.
- Don’t throw out the used vanilla pods. Add used pods to vodka or rum to make your own vanilla extract. It may take some time (and several pods), but the end result will be well worth the wait.
- The vitamin B in vanilla can help heal your skin. Mix the seeds of 5 vanilla beans, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 drops of vanilla essential oil and lemon juice to make a facial scrub. Massage for a few minutes then rinse off with water. This simple recipe can help with acne, anti-aging and even soothe burns.
Want to make your own vanilla tea? Look for plump, healthy vanilla pods. Carefully slice open the pod and scrape out the seeds. Use the seeds to make your own homemade vanilla tea. You can also add the seeds to your favorite dessert.