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The healing power of vanilla

  1. There are two types of vanilla, from Mexico and from Tahiti. The vanilla from Mexico has spread all over the world, but the vanilla trees in Tahiti and some other islands of French Polynesia only grow there; this vanilla is a lot more exclusive and more expensive. Vanilla is a wonderfully scented flavor that is often used for sweet products. It is an expensive product; that is why all manufacturers use a synthetic form called vanillin and have made sure that this substance can also be called vanilla. This synthetic vanilla is a kind of coal tar, a holdover from the paper and pulp industry. Synthetic vanilla is very unhealthy but may be used by the food authority because it is believed that it is used so little that you will not get sick.

Contents:

  1. Use vanilla pod Naming vanilla Pollinate by hand Vanilla drink from the Maya Nutritional value vanilla Vanilla fights bacteria Vanilla as an antioxidant

Use vanilla bean

  1. Vanilla pods can be bought in better food stores. It is possible to buy the powder separately in a jar; a small jar of 10 grams quickly costs 10 euros. The vanilla pods can be used in several ways. In Tahiti they are put in a coffee pot to create delicious vanilla coffee. Vanilla in all shapes and products is for sale on the market of Papeete. You can put the sticks in a sugar bowl yourself; caster sugar is especially suitable for this. After a few weeks or months, the scent will be absorbed into the sugar and you can use this as vanilla sugar in baking products and desserts. You can also cut a stick open crosswise and collect the powder to use in a recipe. Optionally, you can break off a small piece of a vanilla pod and put it in the coffee. You do not drink it, but the coffee will taste a lot softer and better. You can use the stick several times.

Naming vanilla

  1. Vanilla pods / Source: B. Navez, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Spray by hand

  1. Vanilla is a climbing orchid. Even before the Spanish moved to Mexico, vanilla was a well-known flavoring agent among the Meso-American peoples. Vanilla was brought to Europe but did not yield any fruit here. It turned out that there is a special bee species that lives in synergy with the vanilla plant. European insects did not want to pollinate the vanilla tree. It took a long time to find a method to pollinate the vanilla plant by hand. Botanists couldn't do it, but a 12-year-old boy, the slave Edmond Albius, did, who invented a way to pollinate the vanilla plant by hand on the French island of Réunion in 1841. He simply used a stick or blade of grass that he slid through the flower with a simple movement of the thumb. In doing so, he trumped the researches of the Belgian professor Charles Morren who was affiliated with the University of Liège.

Vanilla drink from the Maya

  1. Vanilla has always been known as an aphrodisiac. This effect has been scientifically researched a number of times and cannot be denied. The ancient Maya already knew about this property. They made a drink based on vanilla. For this drink the Maya probably used cocoa, honey and vanilla, possibly supplemented with a few other spices such as red pepper and annato. Water was not used as a basis.

Nutritional value vanilla

  1. Vanilla contains various vitamins in small amounts and almost all minerals except selenium. It is not a great source of vitamins and minerals but it helps the body to get some minerals, at least more than synthetic vanillin. Manganese is mostly in vanilla; 100 grams is enough for 10% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), but of course nobody takes 100 grams of vanilla per day. The other phytonutrients that have not (yet) received RDA percentages from government institutions have a more important value.

Vanilla fights bacteria

  1. According to Indian research from 2006, vanilla is able to invade bacterial colonies and keep them from growth habit of vanilla / Source: Benutzer: Esskay, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA- 3.0)

Vanilla as an antioxidant

  1. A vanilla extract contains strong antioxidant properties, in contrast to isolated vanillin. This indicates that substances in vanilla support each other in their medicinal effect. Antioxidants are important for eliminating free radicals, which are potential causes of lifestyle diseases. This is evident from research published in September 2007. The researchers expect that vanilla can be an important substance as a natural way of preserving food and as a health supplement.



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