Vanilla is primarily obtained from the bean pods of the vanilla orchid, Vanilla planifolia. Vanilla is adored for its sweet and yummy scent. Here you will learn more about vanilla aromatherapy, types of vanilla that are best for aromatherapy, vanilla diffuser blends, and in other applications that this comforting aroma can be used in.
Is there a Vanilla Essential Oil?
No, there is no vanilla essential oil. While there are many essential oils derived from various plants and fruits, vanilla essential oil does not exist. Unlike other essential oils, the vanilla beans does not release aromatic oils when steam distilled or cold pressed (many citrus oils are obtained through this method).
What you can find are some other forms of vanilla that can be used for aromatherapy and fixative properties. Vanilla Oleoresin, Vanilla CO2 Extract and Vanilla Absolute are all available and can be used for various purposes, including aromatherapy, perfumes, and homemade products.
Vanilla Scented Oils
While there are many vanilla scented oils available on the market today, it is crucial to exercise caution when selecting products claiming to contain vanilla essential oil. Often these alternatives consist of synthetic fragrances or diluted extracts rather than authentic substitutes for pure essential oils.
To ensure you're getting what you paid for always check labels carefully and confirm exactly which type of vanilla has been used in production before making any purchases.
Types of Vanilla Oil for Aromatherapy
Here are the types of vanilla to use for aromatherapy and homemade skincare recipes.
Vanilla oleoresin is a highly concentrated extract derived from the vanilla bean, known for its rich and warm scent. It is made by removing whatever solvent was used to originally produce vanilla extract. The oleoresin contains a high concentration of aromatic compounds from the beans, which gives it a robust vanilla aroma.
It is commonly used in perfumes, cosmetics, and food products, adding a sweet and comforting scent.
Vanilla CO2 Extract
Vanilla CO2 refers to the process of extracting the essential oil from vanilla beans using carbon dioxide (CO2) as the solvent. This method is preferred over traditional extraction techniques as it does not involve the use of harmful chemicals or high temperatures that may degrade the quality of the oil.
Vanilla CO2 offers a more natural and full-bodied aroma, capturing the true essence of the vanilla bean. The CO2 extraction process involves pressurizing and cooling carbon dioxide until it becomes a supercritical fluid, having the properties of both a liquid and a gas. This fluid effectively solubilizes the essential oil from the vanilla beans, resulting in a highly potent and pure extract.
Vanilla CO2 is widely used in the fragrance and food industries, contributing to the creation of various products such as perfumes, candles, confectionery, and beverages, where the captivating scent and distinctive flavor of vanilla are desired. One drawback is that it can be costly to purchase.
Vanilla absolute is another type of concentrated extract obtained from vanilla beans. It undergoes solvent extraction with the use of ethanol or another form of alcohol. The alcohol serves as the solvent. This method produces a highly aromatic and viscous liquid, referred to as absolute, that captures the full essence of the vanilla bean.
Vanilla absolute is used in perfumery, aromatherapy, and high-end cosmetic formulations due to its deep, sweet, and creamy scent.
Vanilla Oleoresin Facts
Vanilla oleoresin does not qualify as an essential oil as it cannot be obtained through steam distillation or mechanical extraction from the plant. Instead, the solvents used in vanilla extract are eliminated to create vanilla oleoresin. This will be the type of vanilla I am focusing on in this blog post.
Vanilla oleoresin has a slightly thick consistency and a yellowish to brownish color. It is temperature sensitive as well, the cooler the oleoresin is, the thicker it will be to work with.
- Botanical Name: Vanilla planifolia
- Family: Orchidaceae
- AKA: N/A
- Extraction Method: Oleoresin (not technically an essential oil)
- Plant Part: Bean/pods
- Aromatic Scent: Sweet, similar to vanilla extract
- Aromatherapy Note: Base
- Shelf Life: 3-4 Years
- Safety Precautions: Considered pregnancy and kid safe. If pregnant , nursing, or under a doctor's care, consult your physician before use. Keep out of reach of pets and kids.
Can I Use Vanilla Extract Instead?
While both vanilla extract and vanilla oleoresin come from the same vanilla bean, their uses and properties differ greatly. Vanilla extract is primarily used for baking purposes and as a flavoring agent in various food and beverage recipes. It is made by macerating vanilla beans in alcohol and water, resulting in a liquid extract that is rich in flavor.
On the other hand, vanilla oleoresin is derived through removing the solvent that was used to originally produce vanilla extract, making it more concentrated and aromatic. It is commonly used in aromatherapy, perfumes, and as a natural fragrance in cosmetic products.
Therefore, vanilla extract cannot be directly substituted for vanilla essential oil, as their intended uses and strengths vary significantly.
Vanilla Mixes Well With These Oils
Vanilla is a base oil and is frequently used as a perfume fixative. Here is a quick list of essential oils that blend well with vanilla. In the next section we will look more closely at some of the essential oils that blend well with vanilla bean.
- Lavender Oil
- Bergamot Oil
- Rose Oil
- Sandalwood Oil
- Patchouli Oil
- Ylang Ylang Oil
- Frankincense Oil
- Chamomile Oil
- Jasmine Oil
- Orange Oil
Vanilla Blends Well With
Vanilla is a warm and comforting oil known for its rich and sweet aroma. Here are seven essential oils that blend well with vanilla:
Lavender Essential Oil
The floral notes of lavender mix well with the sweetness of vanilla, creating a soothing blend that promotes serenity and balance.
Bergamot Essential Oil
The citrusy aroma of bergamot adds an uplifting touch to vanilla which results in a cheerful and bright fragrance.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
The woody and earthy scent of sandalwood combines beautifully with vanilla, creating a warm and grounding blend that enhances well-being and relaxation. Use it to enhancing focus, concentration, and creating a sense of presence.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
The exotic scent of ylang-ylang complements vanilla nicely, resulting in a sensual blend that promotes romantic and calming vibes.
Patchouli Essential Oil
The earthy and musky notes of patchouli blend harmoniously with vanilla, creating a deep and seductive aroma that encourages relaxation and promotes emotional balance.
Sweet Orange Essential Oil
The sweet and citrusy fragrance of orange enhances vanilla, resulting in a delightful and uplifting blend that can reduce stress and promote a positive mood.
Frankincense Essential Oil
The resinous and woody scent of frankincense pairs well with vanilla, creating a comforting and spiritually grounding blend that promotes deep relaxation and peace of mind.
Rose Essential Oil
The enchanting blend of Vanilla Rose combines the delicate and romantic fragrance of rose with the rich and inviting scent of vanilla, bringing a sense of luxury and elegance to your environment.
Vanilla Essential Oil Blends
Vanilla is especially lovely when blended with essential oils in the citrus, mint, wood, and floral plant families. Add vanilla to soften and round out blends. Here are some favorite pairings:
Vanilla and Citrus Blend
If you want a blend that uplifting and refreshing, try combining the comforting scent of vanilla with the uplifting and refreshing aroma of citrus oils. This combination adds a burst of energy and positivity to any space.
Vanilla and Mint Blend
The refreshing blend of vanilla and mint combines the cool and invigorating scent of mint with the sweet and comforting aroma of vanilla. You can use spearmint, peppermint or even eucalyptus mint to providing a rejuvenating experience, perfect for mental clarity.
Vanilla Diffuser Blends
Blending these essential oils with vanilla can create unique aromatic combinations that evoke different emotions and provide several therapeutic benefits. Add one of the vanilla essential oil blend recipes below to an aromatherapy diffuser with the recommended water for your machine.
I like to use a 100 to 200 ml water tank diffuser but you can use whatever size you prefer. Adjust the drops if you desire.
Time for Latte
- 4 drops Vanilla
- 3 drops Nutmeg
- 2 drops Coffee
- 5 drops Vanilla
- 3 drops Cinnamon Bark
- 2 drops Nutmeg
- 4 drops Lavender
- 3 drops Ylang Ylang
- 2 drops Vanilla
Soothing Vanilla Blend
- 3 drops Vanilla
- 2 drops Bergamot
- 2 drops Cedarwood
Refreshing Vanilla Blend
- 3 drops Orange
- 2 drops Lemon
- 2 drops Cedarwood
- 2 drops Vanilla
Calm and Comfort
- 3 drops Lavender
- 2 drops Cedarwood
- 2 drops Vanilla
- 1 drop Orange
This refreshing vanilla blend includes peppermint and rosemary.
- 4 drops of Peppermint essential oil
- 2 drop of Rosemary essential oil
- 2 drops of Vanilla essential oil
- 4 drops Peppermint
- 3 drops White Fir or Fir Needle
- 3 drops Vanilla
- 4 drops Peppermint
- 2 drops Ginger
- 2 drops Vanilla
What are the Benefits of Inhaling Vanilla?
Inhaling vanilla essential oil can offer several benefits for both the mind and body. Here are some of the key benefits associated with inhaling vanilla essential oil:
1. Uplifts mood and reduces stress
The soothing aroma of vanilla essential oil has mood-enhancing properties that can help alleviate anxiety, promote relaxation, and reduce stress levels. Inhaling the fragrance of vanilla can help create a calming environment, allowing you to unwind and promote a sense of well-being.
2. Improves sleep quality
Vanilla essential oil is known for its sedative properties that can help improve sleep quality. Inhaling this oil before bedtime can promote a peaceful and restful sleep, making it beneficial for those suffering from insomnia or other sleep-related issues.
3. Eases respiratory discomfort
The anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties of vanilla essential oil make it effective in relieving respiratory ailments such as coughs, colds, and congestion. Inhaling the oil can help loosen phlegm and soothe the respiratory system, providing relief from discomfort and promoting easier breathing.
4. Aphrodisiac properties
Vanilla has long been associated with sensuality and libido enhancement. Inhaling vanilla essential oil can stimulate certain sensory receptors, which may increase feelings of intimacy and arousal, thus acting as a natural aphrodisiac.
5. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
Vanilla essential oil contains antioxidants that help protect the body against free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and preventing cell damage. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that may aid in reducing inflammation in the body, providing relief from conditions like joint pain or muscle soreness.
6. Boosts cognitive function
The sweet scent of vanilla has been found to enhance cognitive function and improve mental clarity, concentration, and memory. Inhaling vanilla essential oil can help in boosting alertness and enhancing overall cognitive performance.
It's important to note that while vanilla essential oil has numerous benefits, it should be used in moderation and diluted properly before use. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified aromatherapist for guidance on appropriate usage and dosage.
Do Any Essential Oils Smell Like Vanilla?
Yes, there are a couple essential oils that have a sweet, warm, and comforting scent similar to vanilla. Although they do not contain oleoresins or absolutes, there are a few essential oils that naturally emit a vanilla-like aroma. These essential oils include:
Benzoin Essential Oil
Derived from the resin of the Benzoin tree, Benzoin essential oil has a sweet, warm, and slightly vanillic fragrance. While it presents a more resinous and balsamic scent, Benzoin can emit hints of vanilla, making it an excellent alternative for creating vanilla-like blends.
Peru Balsam Essential Oil
Extracted from the resin of the Myroxylon balsamum tree, Peru Balsam essential oil features a rich, warm, and sweet aroma. It shares similarities with vanilla due to its sweet and comforting scent profile, making it a favorable choice for creating a vanilla-like ambiance.
These essential oils can be used individually or combined with other complementary scents to create a vanilla-like fragrance. However, it's important to note that while they may offer a similar scent, they are not direct replacements for natural vanilla extract.