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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Vanilla, Nector Of The Gods

When you think of Vanilla, what first comes to mind? Mom's kitchen? Home Sweet Home? Holiday baking? Candles? Chocolate and romance? Usually it is the taste and smell factors that are most familiar to us.

Being taste and smell are important components when it comes to love and romance, it is no wonder the sweet, alluring aroma of vanilla is so captivating. We're in love with the idea of love, something we all seek and treasure. Vanilla's sweet, welcoming odor just seems to draw people to it.

According to Valerie Ann Worwood in "The Fragrant Heavens", aroma evokes emotions, as well as memory, and often the two are connected. Emotions run deep, to the very core of our being. Time means nothing to aroma, therefore deep seated emotions are reached immediately when we smell something that triggers a certain memory.

Fragrance molecules are the essential oils from plants, from which we are interdependent and without them life would stop. Worwood states, "plants are the interface between cosmic energies and the earth, upon which we depend." We can capture the aura with photography but have yet to fully understand just what is that energy. Essential oils contain this mystery we call life and their powerful inexplicable energies cannot be fully explained.

Science can study the chemical make-up of plants and record which ones have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic properties. But understanding their spiritual relationship to us has always been a cause for debate.

The perfume industry thrives on our desires, need for love, captivation for lust and vanilla plays an important role in all of which that entails. Something about the vanilla scent combines sexy, erotic, sweet and innocence all at the same time. You can have a floral bouquet type perfume, or an oriental exotic type perfume, or a relaxing blend, and even a modern, take on the world type scent. Vanilla fits into any of those blends.

Indigenous people are believed to have been the first to have grown vanilla. The Totonaca people of the Gulf coast were probably the first people. The Mexican Revolution nearly destroyed the natural vanilla production in Mexico which led to the beginning of the production of synthetic vanilla. Coumarin was used to disguise the artificial taste which tasted exactly like vanilla. Coumarin is extracted from the Tonka bean. The problem was that Dicumarol, a derivative of Coumarin, is used as a blood thinner, therefore with such safety considerations, it was eventually banned by the FDA.

Today, real vanilla extract is made by cutting the vanilla beans into small pieces and soaking them in hot 65-70% alcohol. There are extracts which are cheaper, called imitation vanilla. It is chemically produced to mimic vanilla with added sugars for better flavor.
Believe it or not, some vanilla labeled as natural actually comes from the castor sacs of beavers. I suppose that is natural enough, but certainly not true vanilla.

Real vanilla is described as "Nector Of The Gods". True vanilla is very expensive and the reason being is that of all the agricultural crops grown, vanilla is the most labor-intensive. The vanilla plant (Vanilla planifolia) will thrive only in tropical areas around the equator.
It is a perennial herbaceous vine to a height of fifteen feet. Being a vine, it needs the support of trees of poles and takes up to three years to flower.
The large white flowers have a deep narrow trumpet that over a three month period develop into long green pods. 
These pods remain on the vine for another nine months before they can be harvested.
Then they need to go through a drying process of curing that turns them into the fragrant brown pods we're familiar with.

In addition to its high demand in the food industry, vanilla has a lot of of health benefits to offer. It acts on the central nervous system and is known to help with sexual desire and function. The sweet fragrance in vanilla is from what is called Heliotropin, and this is largely responsible for soothing emotional tension and anxiety. Such a release when anxious will definitely help with one's confidence and sex drive.

Having a euphoric effect on the brain, vanilla invigorates and uplifts the spirit while having a calming effect of the entire nervous system. 

Vanilla can even help with weight loss by reducing a person's sweet tooth.

Vanilla is rich in both anti-bacterial properties and antioxidants. Using a vanilla infused oil or lotion topically on the skin can be very useful to help deal with pimples and combat skin aging from free radical damage. 

Below you'll find ways to incorporate the enticing vanilla bean as part of your personal care products. Vanilla beans are infused into either 100 proof vodka or a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil. The result is incredible smelling vanilla oil or vanilla tincture to become body massage oil, bath oil, face or body sugar scrubs, body lotion, lip balms, even a hair conditioner. Just click on the caption underneath the picture to take you into the shop for more information or to purchase:

Vanilla Massage, Body or Bath oil

Vanilla Jojoba Hair Conditioning Oil
Vanilla Sage Deodorant Spray
Vanilla Face or Body Sugar Scrub
Vanilla Jojoba oil Solid Lotion Body Butter Bars
Vanilla Lavender Hand or Body Moisturizer

Vanilla Lip Balm