While most consider vanilla to be little more than a dessert ingredient, it has a long history in the realm of homeopathy. Europeans encountered the long, black, waxy vanilla pod (also known as a vanilla bean) in the early 1500s, while “discovering” Mexico and the Aztec culture. Vanilla beans had been used for centuries in the New World to aid healing. Though vanilla beans are rarely worn today to ward off infections or cure snake bites, many home remedies still incorporate vanilla beans today.
Stress Relief and Vanilla Beans
Commonly, vanilla beans have been used at home as a natural stress reliever. Some cite the scent of vanilla in cooking to be enough to sooth and relax. Others recommend scraping vanilla seeds into boiling water, and breathing in the sweet aroma for a more concentrated effect.
Weight Loss and Vanilla Beans
Using vanilla beans as a weight-loss aid is a more recent home remedy claim. Vanilla essence is believed to be an appetite suppressant. Smelling a fresh vanilla pod can stave off food cravings, making it easier to stay on a restricted diet.
Sexual Stimulation and Vanilla Beans
Vanilla beans are also said to be an aphrodisiac. Scraping fresh vanilla seeds into a recipe that calls for vanilla extract or essence will increase the potency of this home remedy. Vanilla candles, perfume and incense are also known to be sexual stimulants. While it is difficult to incorporate fresh vanilla pods into already formed candles, one could purchase a candle-making kit and put the pods into the wax balls.
Vanilla as a Sleep Aid
Just as vanilla is a relaxant, it is also a sleep aid. Companies like Tylenol, for example, have caught onto this fact and incorporated vanilla into their sleep-inducing products. Drinking vanilla tea (boiled water with a whole vanilla bean in it) can offer similar results.
Cure a Toothache
Vanilla extract is a well-known remedy for a toothache. To make vanilla extract, split three vanilla beans lengthwise and put them into a glass jar with one cup of vodka. Close the glass jar tightly and store in a cool, dry place for two months. Dab the vanilla extract onto a cotton ball and press the extract directly onto the toothache.