Vanilla has a dominant presence in society today, whether it’s used as a flavor additive, a candle scent, perfume, personal hygiene products, or cleaning agents. Beyond its appealing aroma and its delicious flavor, though, smelling vanilla also holds many proven benefits for your mind and body.
The Age of Enlightenment brought vanilla back to Europe in the 18th century. Since then, it has been used for flavor and fragrance purposes of all kinds and even became a staple scent in approximately 23 percent of all quality fragrances. It’s particularly valuable in helping improve one’s emotional and physiological health and wellbeing.
Turns out, vanilla is more than just a tasty treat—it’s also a stress reliever, an aphrodisiac, eases breathing, and even promotes a positive mood.
Vanilla Scent Benefits
It relieves stress and anxiety.
In aromatherapy, vanilla scent is used to relax the mind and reduce anxiety. Many studies have tested the effects of vanilla fragrance on subjects and discovered that a whiff of the sweet smell elevates participants’ feelings of joy and relaxation.
…and it can help you sleep.
As a potent relaxer, vanilla can also promote more restful sleep. A study at Tubingen University in Germany discovered that vanilla lowered the startle reflex in humans and animals, due to its relaxing properties. This is likely why vanilla scents are commonly used in bath products and candles.
It contains powerful antioxidants.
Vanilla contains strong antioxidants, which can protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and signs of aging. Using vanilla essential oil in aromatherapy can provide these very powerful benefits for your skin.
It acts as an aphrodisiac.
Vanilla’s reputation as an aphrodisiac actually has a strong foundation. It’s been used as such since the time of the Aztecs. In 1762, a German study found that a medication with vanilla as an ingredient cured male impotence, and another study by te Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation discovered that vanilla (as well as a few other aromas) produced increased penile blood flow in male volunteers. So, if you’re trying to set the mood, try lighting some vanilla scented candles, or using a vanilla scented massage oil.
It promotes a positive mood.
Studies by Chemical Senses and International Flavors and Fragrance have overwhelmingly found that vanilla scent makes people feel happy, relaxed, and of course, crave sweets. While it should not be used as a replacement for antidepressant medications, it can definitely lift the mood in a room.
Eases breathing and reduces sleep apnea complications.
The National Center for Scientific Research in Strasbourg, France, found that smelling vanilla can ease breathing problems and sleep apnea complications in premature infants. The researchers said the vanilla helped the infants by directly affecting the respiratory centers in their brains and helping them adapt to stress.
If you’re looking for a calming scent that also happens to act as an aphrodisiac, relieve stress, boost your mood, ease your breathing, and even help your skin, you should stock up on vanilla products. Your mind and body will benefit greatly from the simple and subtle aroma of this fragrant flavoring.