Vanilla Skin Benefits


Vanilla In Skin Care  
Did you know that over 95% of all Vanilla used as a fragrance or flavor is synthetic!

Why is this, when Natural Vanilla has been described as the "Nector Of The Gods" and is in such high demand? - It comes down to money. Natural Vanilla is very expensive, the main reasons being: -

(i) Of all the agricultural crops grown, Vanilla is the most labor-intensive.
(ii) From planting the vines to harvesting the beans you're looking at 4-5 years!

The vanilla plant (Vanilla planifolia) is grown as a perennial herbaceous vine to a height of 4- 5 metres (although it can grow up to 25 metres high). Because it is a vine, it needs the support of trees or poles. It takes up to 3 years or so to flower. These large white flowers have a deep narrow trumpet that develops into a long green pod (12 -15 cm long) and looks like a big green bean. This takes a few months. Even then, these pods must remain on the vine for 8 or 9 months. Once these pods or beans are harvested, they beans must be put through a curing process to turn them into the fragrant brown vanilla pods of commerce with their signature aroma. This process may involve curing via sun drying, oven heating or hot water causing the glucosides to break down into vanillin which can accumulate as white crystals on the surface of the bean.

What then is the difference between Synthetic Vanilla and Natural Vanilla?

Vanilla (or Vanilla Fragrans as genuine Vanilla is known) is a tropical orchid and so will only grow in countries or areas that are located near the Equator. Consequently, it is commonly grown in countries such as Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, the Philippines, Mexico, Indonesia,Tahiti, Tonga, East Africa and Costa Rica.

Indigenous people are believed to have been the first to have grown Vanilla. The Totonaca people of the Gulf coast of Mexico were probably the first people. Certainly, Mexico had the market on natural vanilla until Germany entered the market in the 1880's with the first synthetic vanilla via a cheap Ersatz product. In the early 1900's, the Mexican Revolution devastated natural vanilla production in Mexico. This led Mexican producers to made up for the shortfall in natural vanilla by also producing synthetic vanilla! This was at a time when Mexico had been the leading vanilla-producing country in the world and so they kept their production of synthetic vanilla quite.

The makers of synthetic vanilla, used Coumarin to disguise the artificial taste. Coumarin is extracted from the Tonka bean and smells and tastes exactly like vanilla. However, due to safety concerns, the FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) banned it outright from all foods and food additives sold in the U.S. Dicumarol, a derivative of Coumarin, is used to thin blood (i.e. it is an anticoagulant). However, used incorrectly, it may cause internal bleeding.

Vanilla extract is made by cutting the vanilla beans into small pieces and soaking them successively in quantities of hot 65-70% alcohol. Many commercial vanilla extracts are now actually blends from natural and synthetic vanillin. Consequently, vanilla extract is generlly regarded as quite safe and is used extentively these days in both cooking and skincare.

However, pure natural Vanilla is still the best, but it isn't cheap. The tropical climate and naturally organic environment of Vanuatu make it an ideal country for the production of tropical and organic vanilla.

Vanilla has been long regarded as an aphrodisiac.


Why is this and is there any truth to this claim?

There is little doubt that Vanilla is a natural aphrodisiac. Whether Vanilla's power of seduction is due to some sexy, stimulating ingredients or simply because of it's sensual, calming scent and exotic taste, is a matter of debate. Either way - who cares as long as it works!

What we do know is that taste and smell are important components when it comes to love and romance. Historically, there has long been a connection between the sweet, alluring aroma of Vanilla and sexual arousal. It's intoxicating, warm, sensual smell has captivated everyone over the ages from the Mayan and Aztec Idians, the Spaniards, the French and the Orient right through to modern times.

Vanilla can be applied to the skin, consumed in food or taken in liquid form. If consumed, it acts on the central nervous system to combat sexual debilitation. However, it is the Heliotropin (a sweet fragrance) in Vanilla that seems to be largely responsible for Vanilla's abiltity to soothe emotional tension and reduce anxiety and stress. Its sweet, welcoming odor draws people to it. Scientific tests indicate that Vanilla: -

  • has a euphoric effect on the brain.
  • reduces or prevents drowsiness by invigorating and uplifting the spirit.
  • increases muscular energy and improves circulation.
  • stimulates amorous propensities (particularly in older age men!).
  • has a calming, soothing effect on the central nervous system and tummy upsets/disorders.
  • can stimulate weight loss by significantly reducing a person's sweet food intake.

As you can see, pure natural Vanilla and Vanilla Extract have a lot of health benefits to offer. However, it is the fragrance of Vanilla that implicitly acts upon sexual stimulation in both men and women. So what are you waiting for?



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