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Vanilla was first discovered by the Europeans in the early 1500’s. It wasn’t until the 1800’s when the vanilla plants started to be grown in Madagascar the French when it became more accessible to all. The vanilla plant is a flowering vine, with small yellow-green blooms that last for just one day before they wilt. If the flower is pollinated while open, it will produce one fruit—the long, green bean pods.
Studies have found that vanilla can help to reduce the LDL cholesterol levels, especially in the blood vessels. Lower LDL levels help keep your heart healthy and away from coronary heart disease. Research has found that vanilla can help to prevent inflammation and atherosclerosis.
Vanilla is known to contain antioxidants which eliminate free radicals in the body which are created as a natural byproduct of cellular metabolism. Vanilla contains vanillin which is known to prevent the include heart effects of free radicals which can cause chronic diseases and cancers.
There is much debate over the science of aromatherapy, recent research has found some remedies are effective through our olfactory sense. Vanilla has been studied and the smell has been found to impact the brain and induce a sense of calm. More research is being conducted in its ability to reduce anxiety and chronic stress.
Vanillin found in vanilla has a positive effect on the central nervous system similar to the one found with capsaicin in chili peppers. Researchers have discovered that the vanillin acts as a topical anesthetic which means vanilla can fight infection as well in the mouth.
Vanilla can help your skin as a natural antibacterial agent. Vanilla has been known to reduce skin problems such as pimples, acne, soothe burns and may even slow down the aging process. Vanilla can be applied topically and taken orally.
Vanilla beans can lose their potency. With proper storage, vanilla beans can last for up to two years. After two years, while the beans will still be safe, they will likely have dried out too much to have any flavor.
Vanilla is considered the second most expensive spice after saffron. Vanilla is one of the world’s most popular flavors but only about 1 percent of the extracts used in food and cosmetics come from real pods.
Many times essence and extract are “talked” about as if they are the same and even their bottles may look similar but they are not at all. The essence is a manufactured liquid which tastes like vanilla but contains nor real vanillin or very little. In the genuine vanilla extract, much of the amazing fragrance and intense flavor comes from vanillin.