Thursday, August 6, 2015

Vanilla Facts, Benefits, & Scential Health Review

When you think of vanilla, chances are you imagine ice cream, cake, or other sweet treats. Vanilla is an extremely popular flavoring agent that has been used for centuries all over the world. It's a fragrance and flavoring agent that many people have come to know and love.

* Product and/or service provided for review without cost. As always, all opinions are my own.

What some people don't know, however, is that the vanilla plant is a climbing vine. This vine blooms trumpet-shaped flowers and eventually produces pods, or what we know as "vanilla beans." The vanilla beans are harvested when they're ready, are blanched, and then sun dried until they become the dark pods that we have all come to know.

History of Vanilla

The Aztecs, like many of us today, used vanilla in foods to help enhance flavor. They often created a drink—only fit for a god—from vanilla, cacoa, corn, honey, and peppers.

In ancient Africa, vanilla was used for stomach issues.

In 16th and 17th century Europe, physicians used vanilla as an antidote for poisoning, stomach complaints, and as an aphrodisiac.

Today, vanilla is used in cooking, in pharmaceutical applications, and in perfumery (typically in the form of an absolute).

Vanilla Benefits

Vanilla has many uses, some of which are outlined below:

  • Improve emotional well-being
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antioxidant
  • Antidepressant
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Flavoring agent
  • Fever reducer
Eugenol and vanillin, two main components of vanilla, are known to reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system. Vanilla oil may also be used topically for minor burns and to prevent wrinkles.

Scential Health Vanilla Oil Review

As with all of Scential Health's Oils, the vanilla "oil" comes in a small 15mL amber bottle with a Euro-style dropper cap. The cap is rubber to help maintain the integrity of the product while being stored, but also allows for easy dispensing.

I did a bit of research on vanilla and vanilla oil and I have to point something out. According to my research, vanilla cannot be distilled to create a 100% pure essential oil. However, I do understand that the Scential Health Vanilla Oil is marketed as a "100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil," right on the bottle.

Unfortunately, this cannot be true, as vanilla bean does not allow for the distillation process that is used to create pure essential oils. Of course, the scent may be extracted and extracts and absolutes are possible, but they are not essential oils.

Based on my experience with Scential Health, I would have to say that I don't believe the company to be dishonest or purposefully misleading. I feel that this is just a misunderstanding of the origin of the product and perhaps a lack of knowledge that vanilla does not, in fact, exist as a pure essential oil.

To further question the validity of the claims made on the product, the vanilla "oil" that I received has a fragrance that is highly reminiscent of artificial vanilla candles that I have owned in the past. That—in combination with the fact that it is listed as a 100% pure essential oil when they do not exist—makes me question the overall product.

As mentioned previously, I do not believe this to be an ill marketing scheme, but instead a possible misunderstanding.

Because of this, however, I cannot give a fantastic review on the product, but I do intend to look into this matter a little further to divulge what has happened here. Stay tuned for that update!

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