Natural vanilla extract contains numerous antioxidants, including vanillic acid and vanillin. Antioxidants protect your body from damage from harmful components, such as free radicals and toxins. Researchers in a 2007 study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” found that vanilla extract contains 26 to 90 percent of the antioxidants of unprocessed vanilla, depending on the type of antioxidant and the concentration of the extract. They concluded that vanilla showed great potential as a health supplement and as a food preservative.Vanillin is a natural antioxidant and gives vanilla beans their distinctive aroma. An animal study published in a 2011 issue of the “European Journal of Pharmacology” found that as a result of the vanillin content, vanilla extract had powerful liver-protective abilities, as well as anti-inflammatory abilities. Researchers found that treating with vanillin led to lower overall inflammation in animals. However, it’s not yet known whether it has the same benefits for people.The vanilla plant is an herbaceous climbing vine which requires a supporting tree or pole for optimal growth. It bears trumpet-shaped flowers which are naturally pollinated by bees and humming birds and even hand pollinated. Unripe vanilla pods turn yellow when they grow 5 to 8 inches long and are ready to harvest. These are then blanched in boiling water, sweated and sun dried for a few weeks until they turn dark brown and wrinkled. Then the white crystalline essence known as vanillin is extracted from some superior quality beans. This essence is referred to as the vanilla flavor.Vanilla is rich in antioxidants which prevent and reverse skin damage caused by free radicals. It helps to slow down signs of ageing like fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. It is widely used in the cosmetic industry for its fragrance and anti-ageing benefits. Applying raw vanilla beans infused with organic oil imparts a great chocolaty fragrance besides making your skin smooth and soft.Vanilla when mixed with other ingredients can make your hair silky, shiny and smooth. You can prepare a hair pack for this purpose. Melt about 4 oz. shea butter in a boiler. After it has fully melted, add 5 drops of vanilla essential oil and 2 tablespoons each of almond, jojoba and castor oils. After cooling, blend this mixture until it achieves a softer consistency. You can apply this mixture on your hair for 10 to 15 minutes and wash off with a mild shampoo. This will make your hair soft and manageable without making it sticky. This mixture can be stored at room temperature or refrigerated for future use. Both carrier and essential oils help in promoting hair growth these oils can be combined with vanilla essential oil for a hot oil treatment. To begin with, detangle your hair with a wide-toothed comb and rinse it thoroughly with warm water. After this, warm ¼ cup of any carrier oil such as jojoba, almond or coconut oil on high heat for about 30 seconds. Add 10 drops each of lavender and vanilla essential oils to it and mix thoroughly. Applying this on your hair from the roots to the ends, massage your scalp in circular motions for 2 to 3 minutes. Ensure to apply it along the full length of your hair strands, concentrating more on the dry ends. Fasten your hair with a hair clip and wrap a warm towel around your head. Leave for 15 minutes. Then again wrap a warm towel for another 15 minutes. Wash off with a mild shampoo.Certain neurological studies have proved that vanilla extract can have a positive effect on those suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. Vanilla scent is specifically helpful for this purpose. Sipping water or milk containing vanilla extract helps reduce anxiety in some people, This aromatic spice is beneficial for your nervous system. Research conducted by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York indicated that exposure to vanilla aromatherapy has proven to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of claustrophobia. Vanillin in vanilla is similar to capsaicin in chilli peppers and euganols in spices such as cinnamon. This compound has a positive effect on the central nervous system.Capsaicin is an effective pain reliever while euganols act as topical anaesthetics. Vanilla possesses both these properties which help fight toothache and infectionVanilla infused herbal tea can relieve digestive problems. Water boiled with vanilla beans is a traditional remedy for vomiting and stomach upsets. Its rich aroma is effective in easing queasinessVanilla extract added to a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of sugar can help reduce fever and fight infections in children. Besides, the taste may also appeal to childrenThe health benefits of Vanilla Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an antioxidant, aphrodisiac, anticarcinogenic, antidepressant, sedative, tranquilizing and relaxing substanceThe ancient herbalists and shamans of Mesoamerica knew the amazing qualities of many substances that modern humans only see as cooking spices or food flavor enhancers. Some of the plants they administered to heal the sick are yet to be re-discovered. But one plant that produced very special beans was known to have powerful properties to heal and keep people healthy. Today, the essence of that bean is on the shelves of many kitchen cupboards: vanilla extract.