Vanilla is one of the most recognized species throughout 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 about it, be sure to read this article.
What is vanilla?
It is a component that comes from the Vanilla planifolia orchid, native to Mexico. Vanilla is released from these plants in the form of pods (wands), whose size varies from 5 to 22 centimeters. These, when they mature, are roasted under 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 a flavoring and as a tribute to the gods.
There are several types of vanilla, such as:
Fine vanilla – It ranges from 20 to 30 cm, it is black and its aroma is concentrated.
Woody vanilla – It is dry, matte red in color and measures between 13 and 20 cm.
Vanillion – Results from a banded pod, flat and seldom frosted. Its measurement ranges 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 in essence.
Studies published by the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture affirm 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
Carbohydrates 12.7 gr
Protein 0.1 gr
Vitamin B2 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3 0.4 mg
Its consumption helps to minimize inflammation of the intestines, alleviating stomach ailments and other discomforts of the digestive system. Vanilla has been used over time to improve digestion. In addition, its pleasant aroma helps combat nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Its antiseptic and analgesic properties help relieve pain and prevent infection.
- Thanks to its nutritional and aromatic content, vanilla contributes to the better functioning of the nervous system.
- It contains relaxing properties, which helps soothe abdominal pain, as well as other ailments in the body.
- It 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 that 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.
- It helps prevent cancer, thanks to its antioxidant properties that fight free radicals.
- It protects the body’s immune system, increasing defenses and helping to prevent diseases.
- It promotes the proper functioning of the liver.
- It relieves musculoskeletal pain, helping to prevent arthritis.
- It is an excellent healing agent, as well as helping to regenerate the skin. Also, its use is recommended for those 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.
- It helps with hair growth, strengthening and shine.
- It is an excellent product to add taste and smell in the preparation of cooking recipes.
- It is used to aromatize the environments.
Common uses of vanilla:
Since ancient times, vanilla has been used to flavor and smell a wide variety of cooking recipes. It is an essential ingredient in pastries, ice cream, biscuits, and pastries.
In natural medicine
Here are some home remedies prepared with vanilla:
To calm the pains. Mix one tablespoon of vanilla in 8 ounces of water and drink before bed.
For gingivitis. Mix 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 attack gingivitis.
For the livid: Pour 10 grams of vanilla and 90 grams of sugar 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.
It is an excellent product for aromatherapy, so you will find that vanilla is widely used in the preparation of incenses, air fresheners and oils.
It is used in the perfume and personal hygiene industry, finding vanilla-scented lotions, as well as shampoos and moisturizers.
Its consumption is not recommended in those who suffer from chronic gastritis, irritable bowel or neurological diseases, liver or kidneys.
You should always consult with your doctor before starting any treatment with medicinal plants.