- Botanical: Vanilla planifolia
- Family: Orchidaceae
- Hits: 4339
Known asVanilla, Vanilla planifolia, Flat-leaved Vanilla, Tahitian Vanilla, Gewürzvanille, Vanillin, Vanille, Echte Vanille
Old Useculinary; medicinal
Parts Usedflowers, fruit, seed
Medicinalbowel cleansing, fever, gastrointestinal, rheumatism
Infection & Inflammationfever
Stomach & Intestinalabdominal pain, digestion, gastrointestinal
Propertiesantibacterial, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, stimulant
It uses its fleshy roots to support itself as it grows. Flowers: greenish-yellow, with a diameter of 5 cm (2 in). They last only a day, and must be pollinated manually, during the morning, if fruit is desired. The plants are self-fertile, and pollination simply requires a transfer of the pollen from the anther to the stigma. If pollination does not occur, the flower is dropped the next day. In the wild, there is less than 1% chance that the flowers will be pollinated, so in order to receive a steady flow of fruit, the flowers must be hand-pollinated when grown on farms.
Fruit: produced only on mature plants, which are generally over 3 m (10 ft) long. The fruits are 15-23 cm (6-9 in) long pods (often incorrectly called beans). They mature after about five months, at which point they are harvested and cured. Curing ferments and dries the pods while minimizing the loss of essential oils. Vanilla extract is obtained from this portion of the plant.
Properties & Uses
Vanilla is used medicinally as an aphrodisiac, as a stimulant, and to relieve fevers and gastric complaints, although there is no scientific evidence for its effectiveness in these cases. However, research has shown that vanillin, the main flavour molecule in vanilla, does have antimicrobial and antioxidant activities.
Native to Mexico and Central America.
vanillin, vanillic acid, 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde and 4-hydroxybenzoic acid