Origins of Vanilla

Vanilla essential oil, more accurately termed an absolute, is extracted from the dried brown pods of the Vanilla planifolia. This climbing vine, related to the orchid family, displays trumpet-shaped white flowers. Due to the solvent extraction process, it is classified as an absolute rather than a traditional essential oil, distinguished by its sweet, balsamic aroma.

Historical Background and Lore

The Totonac people of eastern Mexico were the first to cultivate vanilla and remained the primary producers until the mid-nineteenth century. Spanish explorers, who arrived in Mexico in the early sixteenth century, named the plant ‘vainilla’, a diminutive of ‘vaina’, meaning “sheath”—reflecting the shape of the seedpod.

Therapeutic Uses of Vanilla Absolute

Health Benefits

Vanilla absolute is known for its calming and comforting properties. It relaxes the mind and body, making it effective in relieving stress, tension, anxiety, and panic attacks. It also possesses antidepressant qualities. When used in massages, it acts as a potent aphrodisiac.

Personal and Spiritual Growth

Vanilla absolute aids in dissolving anger and frustration, relaxing the mind, and fostering inner peace. It stimulates the sacral chakra, enhancing self-confidence and intimacy. Its sensual quality can deepen physical connections, making it ideal for use with a partner. In meditation, it helps achievee spiritual balance.