Vanilla (Vanilla planifolium)


Vanilla Summary

Vanilla is both one of the most expensive, and most widely used herbs in the world. This is mainly due to its role as a flavoring agent for culinary applications.

Vanilla is an orchid originating from central/South America. It grows as a long vine, with highly fragrant seed pods.


+ Indications

  • Low libido
  • As a flavouring agent
  • Flatulence
  • Indigestion

+ Contraindications

  • Onset of contact dermatitis
  • Onset of vanillism (insomnia, headache, dermatitis)

Herbal Actions:

  • Aphrodisiac
  • Flavouring agent
  • Carminative
  • Antipyretic
  • Antimicrobial

Main Uses:

Vanilla is used as a flavouring agent, and mild carminative.


Herb Details: Vanilla

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Seed pod

Family Name

  • Orchidaceae


  • Vanilla is native to Central and South America. Cultivated throughout the tropics.

Constituents of Interest

  • Vanillin
  • Vanillic acid
  • P-hydroxy-benzaldehyde

Common Names

  • Vanilla


Avoid high doses of vanilla while pregnant — no eexpected adverse effects with small amounts as a flavoring agent.

Duration of Use

  • Avoid long-term use in therapeutic doses.

Botanical Information

Vanilla is a member of the Orchidaceae family of plants, which is the largest family of flowering plants in the world.

The orchid family consists of 763 genera and 28,000 species.


Research Overview:

Still compiling research.


Clinical Applications Of Vanilla:

Vanilla is not commonly used in herbal medicine. It most often used as a flavouring agent. Vanilla may be useful for improving the flavour of herbal formulas. It's used occassionally in herbal medicine for its antimicrobial and carminative actions.



None noted.



Justin Cooke, BHSc

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated May 2019)


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