The aromatic fruit pods that come from the tropical orchid climber named Vanilla Planifolia are popular worldwide as vanilla beans. The popularity of this bean is mainly due to its aroma that suits best in most of the mouth watering desserts that you love to eat, like ice creams, cookies, custards, milkshakes, cakes, and more. It was popular right from the ancient period, where the Mayans used to mix it with chocolate drinks for getting the perfect flavor. Even though Vanilla is known for its wonderful aroma, its health benefits are not so known to everyone.
Vanilla beans are very high in price. It is a native of the tropical rainforests of Central America. These days, it is found in almost all parts of the world. It is commercially grown in many countries like India, Indonesia, Madagascar and other countries of the west.
Vanilla is available in the market as the dry pods or as extracts. The ones that are available in stores mainly get the dark and dry look in brown shades due to the processes that it has undergone after harvesting. The pods are plucked unripe as soon as they reach around 14-20 cm in length and when these get a shade of light yellowish tinge. First of all, these pods are boiled in water for blanching, and then from 2 to 3 weeks, are sun dried till they turn thin, dry and get the dark brown shade to their skin.
Vanilla extract is used for adding flavor to food. It is made by softening the vanilla beans that are chopped into small pieces and added water and ethyl alcohol. This then circulated for 48 hours at 130 degree F. A brown color extract is gained after the process.
The use of vanilla extract is many. They are even used in most of the skin as well as hair care products that we find in the market today. It can be seen that the pure extract of vanilla does have some medicinal properties. So it is very healthy to consume it on a regular basis.
Benefits of Vanilla
- Helps in losing excess weight
It can be found that vanilla extract when consumed regularly will help in losing weight. When weight gain or obesity attacks, it gives you diabetes, heart diseases as well as hypertension. Even if we follow regular exercise and a diet plan to lose excess weight, sometimes it will really consume a lot of time. Taking vanilla extract along with the regular exercise and diet plan will help us lose excess fat.
- Helps in solving digestion problems
When we feel nauseous, it would be good if we consume a small amount of vanilla extract. It can help to calm the stomach when it gets upset and when we feel like vomiting. Nausea as well as uneasiness is calmed as the scent of this pod is very soothing as well as effective. You can even boil the bean and take some drops of decoction to water calm digestive issues.
- Helps in treating cough, fever
Vanilla extracts are usually found in many of the cough syrups available in the market. This is used for covering the bitterness of the medicine. It is anesthetic, anti inflammatory and antibacterial. Hence it is able to give relief from fever, headache and even sore throat. If we are not able to get cough syrup when you are suffering from cough, you can depend on vanilla extract in a glass of warm water and a spoon of sugar. It can give a lot of relief to cough.
- Is high in antioxidants
Vanilla extracts have antioxidant effects. Antioxidants are very necessary for fighting free radicals. These free radicals are the ones that cause diseases such as dementia, heart diseases, Alzheimer and cancer. Consumption of vanilla helps in reducing degenerative process that goes on inside the body.
- Treats menstrual problems
Vanilla extract is used for regulating menstrual cycles right from time immemorial. Women who take vanilla extract on a regular basis are able to regulate their period cycles.
- Vanilla for treating skin conditions
The antibacterial property of vanilla has made it a main ingredient for acne treatment. When vanilla extract is mixed with carrier oils such as olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil or argon oil, skin can be cleansed and this helps in reducing pimples and acne.
It is also used in the cosmetic as well as skin care industries for the purpose of anti-aging and for its wonderful fragrance. The antioxidants present in the vanilla helps in reducing the damage in skin that is caused by free radicals. Skin ageing is lessened or delayed as the antioxidants work to remove free radicals that cause wrinkles, fine lines as well as dark spots. When raw vanilla beans are mixed in organic oil or natural oils and applied on the skin, it helps to rejuvenate skin in the right manner.
It also helps to heal wounds and burns after being mixed with carrier oils. It also helps in promoting healthy skin as it is a rich source of Vitamin B.
- Vanilla good for treating hair
Vanilla when mixed with carrier oil gives your hair smooth, and shiny. Hair mask made out of vanilla can give good health to your hair.
Vanilla, apart from giving flavor to your food, gives you a lot of benefits that are not known to many. Including vanilla to day to day diet can bring in a lot of change to your overall health and wellness.