HISTORY OF VANILLA
The Totonac Indians (in what's now Mexico) first cultivated Vanilla orchids for their beans to use in medicine, rituals, and also as hard currency: their tribes had to pay tributes in form of thousands and thousands of Vanilla beans to their Aztec kings, who got hooked on flavouring their Xocolatl with Vanilla for various reasons: it's naturally occurring pheromones, or 'sex scent', increases arousal and boosts libido. Of course, then the Spanish came and thankfully spread chocolate – and with it Vanilla – addiction throughout the world. Interestingly, the pods have no flavour when picked - the aroma develops entirely during the curing process, which is traditionally done under the sun.
The Vanilla flower blossoms for one day only and has to be pollinated within 12 hrs to produce pods. Because the Mexican native Melipona bee responsible for this task does not survive outside of Central America, pollination in Australia (and elsewhere) is done lovingly by hand, a method discovered in 1841 by 12 year old Edmond Albius, a slave to conquistadores on the French island of Réunion. Now you know why Vanilla is - and should be - one of the most expensive spices.
It's vexing how, given it's tumultuous history, exotic flavour and sensual aroma, Vanilla got to be thought of as white, plain and sexually unadventurous. Again, it's entirely related to food, in this case ice cream and the low fat craze: Before Vanilla scented cones became a staple, ice cream was flavoured with fruit, nuts and sometimes pieces of dough, so once the complex aromas of Vanilla hit the taste buds, the world was instantly sold. And when our parents started low fat everything, which basically meant loss of taste (because we all know fat is where the flavour is), Vanilla became the go to flavour to inject depth into otherwise bland food and drink, making it, well, just Vanilla.
SYNTHETIC VERSUS REAL VANILLA FLAVOUR
You all know me, I don't go anywhere near synthetic anything, ever. And here's why: The adulteration of vanilla extracts with inexpensive synthetic vanillin represents a loss of millions of dollars to the vanilla extract industry - To obtain equal strength of flavour, either 28 g of synthetic vanillin or 4.5 litres of Vanilla extract is required!!!
Because Vanilla is produced by small family growers pretty much everywhere in the world, these are the people that end up suffering loss of income and everything that follows: lack funds, lack of food, lack of education for their children...it's a devilish circle.
VANILLA IN LEPAAR SKIN COMPOSITIONS
Sun-cured organic Vanilla pods from the Australian Daintree forest provide a grounding base note in our compositions, along with antioxidant, antidepressant, anti-carcinogenic, aphrodisiac and relaxing properties.
The gentle, radiant warmth of our sun-infusion method releases the rich fragrance and complex volatile aromatic compounds into our base oil. Vanilla soothes sensitive skin, neutralises free radicals, stimulates formation of new tissue, relaxes the mind.
On an aromatic level, Vanilla ‘sweetens’ the somewhat bitter medicinal constituents of our Demeter certified biodynamic Olive oil, and adds a luxurious, grounding, sensually exotic quality to our compositions.
VANILLA COLD SORE TINCTURE
And lastly, here is my secret ingredient to vanquishing cold sores literally overnight, and plump up your lips totally botox free:
Mix sugarfree organic and 100% natural Vanilla extract with a little raw honey.
Add a decent dash of Himalayan crystal salt (sea salt works too).
Grind it all up in a mortar.
Dab onto lips frequently.
Thanks for reading!