All about Vanilla

Index | History of Vanilla | How It's Made | Health Effects | Cooking with Vanilla

Health Benefits Of Vanilla

Vanilla is one of the oldest and one of the most expensive spices as well as one of the most familiar, but you donít hear a lot about itís health benefits. Thatís probably because it is more important for its flavoring and aromatic uses.

Among the purported health benefits of vanilla by ancient peoples was that it could act as an aphrodisiac. But it wasnít just ancient peoples that thought this, in the 1700ís it was recommended by physicians to be drunk as an infusion or tincture for the purposes of male potency. An article written by the German physician in 1762 claimed that 342 impotent men were changed into astonishing lovers from drinking vanilla decoctions.

In modern times, aromatherapy tests were done on different aromas and the one that most men were aroused by was vanilla. There is some controversy over whether this arousal was gastronomic or sexual. Even so, vanillin does have anti-oxidant properties. Yet there are less expensive and more effective means of getting antioxidants (fish oil, omega-3).

While not a lot of testing has been done on vanilla regarding any specific health benefits, it is classed as a vanilloid along with capsaicin contained in chile peppers and eugenol contained in cloves - both of which have numerous medicinal properties and health benefits. Some nutritionists have conjectured that vanilla might be a mild help in preventing cancer1.

On the negative side, persons with Gilbert's Syndrome should avoid consuming vanilla, as many have experienced debilitating effects from its ingestion2.

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1. Dr. Ray Sahelian
2. Ref to:"

- Cloves
- Cinnamon
- Nutmeg

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