Etymology of Vanilla
Vanilla or vanilla orchids are flowering plant genus. The botanical name of Vanilla include ‘Vanilla fragrans Ames’, ‘Vanilla planifolia Andrews’, ‘Vanilla pompona Schneider’, ‘Vanilla tahitensis Moore’ and the family name is ‘Orichidaceae’. However, in all Indian languages and dialects, it is called Vanilla.
Origin of Vanilla
Vanilla is an evergreen plant and it is found all over the world. It was traditionally not known to Indians. Europeans introduced it for flavouring dishes of the western preparations such as puddings, ice creams, cakes and pastries. Thus, vanilla was popularized as an Indian flavouring and was used in traditional sweets like Kheer, Sandesh, etc. Vanilla therefore became the second most expensive spice after Saffron. It is highly valued in the country as well as the whole world for its flavour.
Properties of Vanilla
Vanilla has aphrodisiac properties and sedation properties. It is rich in antioxidants.
Use of Vanilla in Cuisine
Vanilla is usually used in baked goods, beverages, custards and even some savoury foods like sauces. Vanilla essence is not just used to flavour desserts but is also used in some hot beverages to add flavour like in tea, coffee or even milk.
Use of Vanilla in Medicine
Vanilla can be used for medicinal purpose also. Vanilla helps in relieving pain caused from burns. It helps in reducing the free radicals in a body and is proven to be helpful in reducing symptoms of claustrophobia.
Use of vanilla as source of medicine is practically forgotten. It is the most popular type of spice used as a flavouring agent known all over the world.