Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Vanilla aromatica

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Vanilla planifolia G. Jackson


from spanish it means "little vagina" , from the flower's shape


Traditional name


Epidendron vanilla L., Vanilla aromatica Swartz., Vanilla fragrans Salisb.,

Used parts

Tincture of the fruit


     Division: Magnoliophyta
·    Class: Liliopsida
·    SubClass: Liliidae
·    Order: Orchidales
·    SubOrder:
·    Family: Orchidaceae
·    SubFamily: Vanilloideae
·    Tribe: Vanilleae
·    SubTribe: Vanillinae


Original proving

Description of the substance

This leafy climbing orchid from hot, wet tropical America is grown for its pods which, when dried, become the commercial vanilla. The flowers are hand pollinated. Propagated generally by cutting.
The vanilla flower is self-fertile, but incapable of self-pollination without the aid of an outside agency to either transfer the pollen from the anther to the stigma or to lift the flap or rostellum then press the anther against the stigma. The only time this can be accomplished is during the morning of the one day the flower is open. Unless pollination occurs, the flower drops from the vine the next day.

·    Country of Origin: Central America, West Indies

·    Habitat: large epiphytic climbing orchid

1. (Bot.) A genus of climbing orchidaceous plants, natives of        tropical America.       
2. The long podlike capsules of Vanilla planifolia, and V.claviculata, remarkable for their delicate and agreeable  odor, for the volatile, odoriferous oil extracted from  them; also, the flavoring extract made from the capsules, extensively used in confectionery, perfumery, etc.  

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is a member of the orchid family. While orchids are one of the most beautiful flowers to look at, vanilla is the only produced from these plants. It occurs as a vine that lives for many years and may reach a lenght of 60 to 100 feet. It has both roots attached to the soil and aerial roots taht hold it to the tree it climbs as it searches for sun. The leaves are about 8 inches long and grow alternately along the stem of the plant. Vanilla produces a flower that blooms for only one day and is pollintated by only a few insects due to the small size. In commercial production, pollination is done by hand with wooden rods. It produces a fruit that is about 8 inches long and takes about 9 months to mature.
The bean produces the wonderful flavor that everyone knows. The Indians of central and South America used it for cooking long before the Spaniards came to the new world. However, a fresh bean has no odor at all. Making a usable bean for food is a lengthy process where the bean is collected, dried by exposure to the sun and night sweating for 10 days, and then fermented and cured for up to 5 months. The time involved makes real vanilla a very expensive flavoring. A imitation vanilla flavoring has been developed.     

The rich volcanic soil of Waikava on Fiji's second main island of Vanua Levu make it ideal for growing vanilla.It grows well in warm, moist tropical climate, with rainfall of 1900 - 2500 mm well distributed throughout the year. Vanilla vines are planted close to a shade tree (often Jatropha curcus) and trained to grow in a way where the tree supports the vine. Flowers appear in the third year after cuttings are planted. A healthy vine produces 100 to 400 pale yellow flowers during a 3 - 4 months period every year. The flowers open in the morning and close in the afternoon. To produce vanilla bean, the flowers must be hand pollinated. Vanilla beans mature after 7 - 9 months from pollination.



The vanilla grown in Vanuatu is the Vanilla planifolia (Fragrans), cultivated and cured according to the "Bourbon method". While more than 50% of the Vanilla is grown by local farmers throughout Vanuatu, 90% of the vanilla is cured at Venui Vanilla Co. with special care and some innovative techniques using solar dryers. All the Farmers supplying vanilla and spices to Venui Vanilla have been certified by BIO-GRO NZ and ECOCERT EU. The vanilla and other spices are cultivated on small parcels of land amongst the Vanuatu tropical rain forest, in one of the most uncontaminated environments left in the world. Up to a 5.5% vanillin content has been reached in the essence-quality vanilla in 1997 and 1998.


Vanilla pods are the fruit of the golden flowered vanilla orchid, Vanilla planifolia,a large, green stemmed, climbing perennial plant with a fleshy, succulent stem, smooth, thick, oblong bright green leaves and numerous twining aerial roots by which it clings to trees in its wild state. It may grow to 30m, climbing to the tops of tall forest trees. The pods, commercially called beans, have no flavour when picked, as the flavour develops during the curing process. The beans are very dark brown and contain tiny black seeds.


Vanilla is native to the tropical rainforest of south-eastern Mexico and Central America. When the Spanish conquistadores were in Mexico in 1520, they observed the emperor Montezuma drinking a beverage of cocoa beans, corn, vanilla pods and honey. They were so impressed that they took vanilla back to Spain and, by the end of the 16th century, factories were established to manufacture chocolate with vanilla flavouring.


Vanilla pods must be cured in order for the vanillin, which gives vanilla its distinctive flavour, to be produced. The curing method facilitates the enzymatic process that transforms glucovanillin into vanillin. It consists mainly of keeping the pods warm and slowly drying for nearly six months until they become pliable and deep brown, with a fine white crystalline coating of vanillin.


Vanilla extract/essence can be bought in bottles and the pods (around 10-20 cm long), bought whole. Pods should be soft and very dark brown, almost black. A white crystalline coating on the surface is a sign of high quality, as this is vanillin, the result of curing and the fragrant constituent that gives vanilla pods their flavour. Store in an airtight container.


Vanilla beans can be stored in a jar of sugar, permeating it with their own sweet aroma. The pod can be chopped finely or processed in a blender and used to flavour cakes, puddings, ice cream, milkshakes and many everyday sweet dishes. The whole pod can also be used to flavour custards and other liquids, taken out, dried carefully and used again up to three or four times. To flavour milk, allow one bean per 500 ml, bring to the boil and allow to stand for an hour.