Firstly, some background on the power of Vanilla – it’s not just great for flavouring. It has been used for centuries as an antioxidant and cognitive enhancing agent, and for good reason. Vanilla contains chemicals called vanilloids that activate receptors in a similar way to capsaicin, which is well known to reduce inflammation and improve mental performance.
Vanilla has been used to calm stomach pains, reduce hunger pangs and relieve stress. Europeans believed in vanilla’s abilities to reduce joint pain and help digestion. South Pacific islanders used vanilla to reduce nausea in pregnant women with morning sickness. More recent research has claimed that vanilla can cure male impotency.
“Vanilla is an aromatic stimulant, with a tendency towards the nervous system. It has also been regarded as an aphrodisiac. It has been employed as a remedy in hysteria, low fevers, impotency, etc. But its use as a medicine is obsolete in this country, although still sometimes employed on the Continent and elsewhere.” –Bentley, Robert and Henry Trimen. Medicinal Plants; descriptions with original figures of the principal plants employed in medicine… London, Churchill, 1880. (WZ 295 B556m 1880)
Buying good Vanilla is expensive especially when you use it often. I love the flavour of vanilla and it helps to sweeten / flavour recipes when we don’t use a lot of sugar – not to mention the heavenly smell! So when I saw this idea, courtesy of the wonderful Cindy O’Meara of Changing Habits, I had to share. Quick, easy and more economical than buying the good extract or powder. If a recipe calls for 1 tsp extract or essence I usually add about 1/2 tsp of Vanilla Powder in place. Thank you Cindy!