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Vanilla is an Orchid spice which is the only eatable member of the orchid family.

· Spice

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Do you know which was the most popular ice-cream flavor in the world? Today’s popular flavors are cookies and crème, chocolate and mint chocolate but Vanilla was once most well-known flavor.

Americans still love their vanilla flavored ice-cream, cupcakes and coffee and vanilla still ranks first as the most admired flavor in United states.

Vanilla is an Orchid spice which is the only eatable member of the orchid family. The word vanilla comes from vainilla, derived from Spanish word vaina, meaning "little pod" in Spanish.

Vanilla is native to Mexico but now grown all around the world. The edible part is the seed pod, or the ‘bean’ of the vanilla plant. The beans are dark brown, slender and long. The beans contain numerous seeds with the active ingredient ‘vanillin’. Vanillin not only gives vanilla its signature pleasant fragrance and sweet flavor but many health benefits.

Vanilla contains more than 200 phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are substance found plants which are helpful to human health and help prevent many diseases. The most popular and studied phytonutrients of them all is vanillin.

Vanilla is sold in two forms: as a dried whole bean and as an extract. Both are available in the supermarkets.
French vanilla also known as bourbon vanilla, is believed to be the best bean, with the strongest aroma and the most vanillin.

Vanilla is a good source of minerals like manganese, iron, potassium, zinc and copper and B vitamins such as niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B6.

Health Benefits

1. Vanilla can help fight cancer
Several studies have confirmed that vanillin, the key compound in vanilla, has anticancer properties. More precisely, researchers found that vanillin could limit the spread of cancer cells from their original spot to the rest of the body. It worked by turning off cancer-promoting enzymes and by preventing the new blood supply for the tumor.

2. Vanilla can be used as an antidepressant
Essential oil from vanilla has been proved to be a powerful mood booster, thanks to the active compound vanillin. Vanillin has been studied for its amazing ability to relieve depression.

Isn’t it fascinating that merely smelling a fragrance like vanilla, can help you calm down and recharge your brain?
Of course, it is…… these natural remedies can be your quick healer.

Make sure you trust your guts and seek professional help when you don’t see the desired outcome.

3. Vanilla has healing properties
Vanilla is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that can avoid and slow down the damage to cells caused due to free radicals. Free radicals are the unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures. Vanilla fight these free radicals and prevent the breakdown of cells and tissues in the body protecting you from chronic health problems like cardiovascular diseases. Vanilla also has antibacterial properties and helps boost immune system.

In the kitchen

1. Vanilla is excellent on sea food especially lobster, shrimp, or scallops.
2. Add a drop or 2 of vanilla extract to make a cream sauce and experience the magic.
3. Vanilla and butter go very well together. So, add little vanilla to savory dishes with butter.
4. Add a drop or two of vanilla extract to pancake or waffle batter.
5. Add vanilla drops to fruit compotes or fruits crumbles.

Home remedies

1. To get relief from stress and agitation, boil some water in a pot, add drops of vanilla extract and let the steam diffuse in the room or use it in a personal inhaler.
2. Using vanilla scented candle for instant rejuvenation.
3. For beautiful skin, mix almond oil, olive oil and pure vanilla extract in equal quantity. Take few drops on a palm and massage it on your face.
4. To freshen the microwave. Boil water with few drops of vanilla extract in a microwave and wipe clean.
5. Add few drops of pure vanilla extract to hot tub and rejuvenated skin and refreshed mind.