Organic Bourbon Vanilla Bean Extract
The essential oil of vanilla comes from the beans of the vanilla plant. Although the plants are indigenous to Mexico, they can be grown in many other areas of the world. In fact, the largest quantities of essential oil come from Madagascar, where vanilla beans are cultivated on the Bourbon Island of Madagascar.
The Bourbon vanilla oil bean is said to be the highest quality vanilla bean with its sweet, exotic aroma. Although the essential oil extracted from the vanilla bean is generally considered to be soothing, its properties can be stimulating as well.
The Totonac Indians, who inhabited ancient Mexico, were the first to cultivate vanilla beans. When the Aztecs took over that area of Eastern Mexico, early herbalists came to understand the beneficial qualities the vanilla bean offered and began using the oil they extracted from the beans for medicinal purposes. Later, when the Spanish explorer Cortes landed in Mexico, he realized that both vanilla and chocolate beans were valuable for the unique flavors they produced.
Where the Vanilla Bean Grows
Vanilla beans grow on the vine of the vanilla orchid. Although others tried to grow the beans outside of Mexico, early attempts failed since the Melipona bees that naturally pollinated vanilla plants were only native to Mexico. It was not until other countries began to pollinate the vanilla plants by hand that vanilla beans could be cultivated in other tropical areas of the globe, including Indonesia, Madagascar and other islands in the Indian Ocean–all of which are now leading producers of vanilla.
Extracting the oil from vanilla seed pods is complicated and takes time, as the process involves drying and curing stages. Even growing the vine takes work, as producers must fold the vines downward so that the plants bloom more flowers to produce more vanilla beans. The plants require artificial hand pollination, which takes time as well.
How the Oil Is Extracted
The vanilla carbon dioxide method, which places the vanilla pods in a stainless steel CO2 chamber under pressure, is the most common method for extracting vanilla oil from the bean pod. The pressure creates liquid CO2, which pulls out the oil. Once the CO2 converts back into a gas, only the vanilla essential oil remains.
The essential oil extracted from the vanilla bean is used as an ingredient in skincare products such as lip balms, body lotions, and topical creams. Many people use products that contain the antibacterial properties of vanilla oil on their skin to treat acne or help reduce the signs of aging.
Vanilla bean oil contains B vitamins, which help maintain healthy skin by increasing circulation to give your skin a healthy glow. Getting more oxygen to your skin can also help prevent acne.
A lack of the B vitamin biotin can lead to the development of dermatitis–a condition characterized by itchy, scaly skin. Niacin, another B vitamin, helps your skin retain moisture, giving you a younger-looking complexion.
Other Healthful Benefits
Although there have been few scientific studies examining therapeutic uses for vanilla, potential health benefits include:
- Anti-inflammatory properties, which help soothe irritated skin
- Antioxidant properties, which neutralize free radicals that protect the body from infections, and perhaps even some forms of cancer
- Anti-nausea effect to help calm a queasy stomach
While clinical studies are needed, the oil from the vanilla oil bean may act as an anti-carcinogenic agent that slows the growth of cancerous cells. (Vanilla oil bean) is sometimes used as a natural remedy to help treat irregular menstruation problems by helping to regulate hormone levels.
This essential oil is also known for having positive effects on a person’s mental health. The sedative and tranquilizing properties of vanilla oil can help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and promote more fitful sleep. It may even help to reduce depression by elevating mood.