Aromatherapy, Herbs, and Color to brighten your day, sooth frayed nerves, or get you motivated!

From Apples to Vanilla. I love different scents. The effect of color, scent, and herbs has always interested me, so I decided to start a blog on aromatherapy, medicinal use of herbs, and color, to brighten you mood, get you motivated (or get you In The Mood!), or sooth frayed nerves after one of those days when you really want to come home and kick the dog. Even when you don’t have a dog.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

WONDERFUL, SOOTHING, VANILLA!

Vanilla!

I thought about doing cinnamon first (probably because that was the batch of wax I had cooking at the time), but decided on vanilla instead. Simply because vanilla is the most popular scent sold today. It's also my favorite ice cream flavor.

Anyway...the wonderful vanilla scent so may of us love actually comes from an orchid indigenous to areas 20 degrees either side of the equator. First found in Mexico, today it is grown primarily in Madagascar, with Indonesia, China, and Mexico coming in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The name itself means, "little pod" in Spanish as it is the pod and not the flower that produces scent and is harvested.

As with most of history, vanilla was native to the Totonaco Indians of Mexico until their defeat by the Spanish Conquistadors, namely Hernando Cortez and his band of merry men, who brought it back to Spain where the nobility kept the delicious flavor to themselves for another 80 years of so. Eventually an apothecary to Queen Elizabeth the 1st convinced HRH vanilla should be used as a flavoring in its own right. (So the rest of us peons could enjoy it as well).

If you want to get technical, Vanilla Planifolia it the proper term for this luscious scent. it is a climbing perennial that grows up to 75 feet clinging to trees for support. The first flowers and fruit usually don't appear for three years. Looking just like your garden variety green beans, the vanilla orchid produces pods that can grow up to 12 inches long.

It isn't the actual fruit, but the curing process that produces flavor. This changes the glucovanillin in vanilla pods into vanillin that produces its distinctive flavor. Further processing, usually using alcohol, give us the vanilla extract used in cooking. Vanilla can also be found as a powder, paste, or in ground beans.

I choose not to get into the curing process because, quite frankly, just reading about it made my eyes cross. If you cant to learn more, Wikipedia is a great resource.












8 comments:

MightyMom said...

Hey there airborne Momma!! How are you?

Cool little place you have here....it's very green! ;-)

Vanilla and Jasmine are my 2 fav candle/lotion scents...although lavendar comes a close second.

Feel free to link to me as many times as you wish....heeheehee.

AIRBORNE POPPA said...

Welcome to the blogosphere my lovely wife. Don't let Mighty Mom give you any ideas about vacation. We are going to the Obetz Hilton!

AIRBORNE POPPA said...

You know you've been married to a nurse for almost 31 years when the liposuction on the Discovery Channel and the Big Mac eating in the living room doesn't upset your stomach and it almost seems natural!

Don't forget my anniversary present honey!

ABNPOPPA

Stephanie said...

I can so relate to the Big Mac comment. Both J-Man and DD have to rein me in at times when I'm discussing my night while we eat!

Last week, at a March of Dimes Benefit Craft sale, I had the winning bid on a basketful of homemade jasmine candles. Heaven!

Don't like lavender (sorry, MightyMom) UNLESS it's mixed with vanilla fragrance. Not sure why that is, but lavender scent alone just irritates me.

Welcome to blogland!

MightyMom said...

anxiously awaiting another awesome addition.....

Gretchen said...

Hang on Mighty Mom. I'm working on another post. Work has been making me actually WORK lately.

AIRBORNEMOMMA

MightyMom said...

God Bless your family as you deal with your loss.

MightyMom said...

Just to get you started......

You have been TAGGED!