What is vanilla essential oil?

Bath salts based on vanilla essential oil.

Vanilla essential oil is extracted from the vanilla plant, native to Central America and Mexico but also found in other tropical regions. Essential oils are so called because they come from the essence of the plant. Specifically, vanilla oil comes from the unripe fruit of the plant. The oil is commonly used in scented candles, body oil, and other holistic health or beauty treatments.

Vanilla essential oil.

The long manufacturing process of vanilla essential oil makes it one of the most expensive oils to buy. It is versatile, however, and blends well with other oils. Its scent is sweet but neutral, which makes it good to pair with sandalwood, lavender, orange or lemon oil, to name a few.

The process of making this oil begins with the harvesting and drying of the fruits of the plant until they become a fragrant grain. The bean’s scent is then extracted by a process that uses odorless fats. These fats are used to absorb the smell.

A bottle of lotion containing vanilla essential oil.

The aroma is absorbed by placing the beans on the grill over the fat or mixing them with the fat. The fat is then placed in an alcoholic substance that attracts the fragrance to it. After the alcohol is distilled, only the essential oil remains, and the oil is now ready to be bottled and shipped for sale. Vanilla essential oil should be stored in dark bottles to protect it. The oil will dissolve if placed in an aluminum bottle.

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Vanilla essential oil is extracted from the vanilla plant, which is native to Central America, Mexico and other tropical regions.

In holistic health practices, vanilla essential oil is considered an aphrodisiac, a sedative, a fever reducer, and an antidepressant. Its sweet scent often has a calming effect that reduces anxiety. Some of these attributes are not scientifically proven, but are based only on anecdotal experiences. Some people speculate that vanilla’s calming properties are also associated with comfort foods like ice cream or sugar cookies.

Vanilla essential oil is found in products such as candles, cooling sprays, perfumes, body lotions and bath salts, among others. Some of these products contain essential oil and others simply contain vanilla fragrance. This can also take the form of vanillin, an artificial and less expensive version of vanilla.

Care should be taken not to confuse vanilla essential oil used for aromatherapy purposes with vanilla extract used in cooking. It is generally not recommended for consumption. Depending on the combination of vanilla essential oil, it can even be harmful if ingested. Labels should always be checked to verify the oil’s intended purpose.

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