Bewitching Vanilla from Madagascar!

Pranarom Certified Organic Vanilla Essential Oil bottle and plants.

Smooth, rich, sweet, deep, spicy – there are so many adjectives to define the smell of delicious vanilla oil. In this time of crisis and confinement, it’s not uncommon to feel a little stressed or depressed. The comforting aroma of vanilla can help counter this – but where does this precious oil come from, and what makes it so special?

A Gift of Comfort & Joy from Mexico to Madagascar

Vanilla comes from the fruit of an orchid and is native to Central America. Until the end of the 18th century, pods were collected from wild orchids and pollination was done by small bees. In 1880 the French colonists brought vanilla to Madagascar, transplanting the finest roots onto the island. Today, the country’s ideal climate and the ancestral know-how of its people make Madagascar vanilla some of the best in the world.

This is the vanilla (vanilla planifolia) that we harvest for its aromatic extract. The process of obtaining the vanilla pods is not easy, which is part of what makes this warm and spicy aroma so precious. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Lianas (vines) are planted at the end of the dry season at farms in Madagascar.

2. Plants grow and mature for three years.

3. The orchid blooms over a period of approximately three months.

4. The flowers are pollinated by hand, between 10 am and 12 noon, October to November.

5. The harvesting of the first mature pods takes place the following June and July.

6. The ripe vanilla bean, which is green in color, is heated in water to about 150-160 degrees. Scalding stops the ripening of the vanilla pods and triggers a chemical reaction that is responsible for the aroma of vanillin (the aroma of vanilla).

7. Then comes the steaming, which allows the pod to finally take its chocolate brown color.

8. The vanilla bean is dried in the sun, then dried in the shade for 2-3 months.

As you can see, the production of vanilla takes 4-5 years, from planting the vanilla cuttings to placing the final vanilla pods on the market. Although long and arduous, this very traditional method produces the finest aromatic experience.

All About the Aroma: Benefits for Mind & Body

We all know vanilla for its heavenly aroma and flavor, but that’s only a part of its potential. In recent years, the scientific world has taken a keen interest in vanillin, an aromatic constituent of vanilla, for its therapeutic potential. Vanilla not only tastes and smells good – it can help you feel good, too!

When you’re feeling down, vanilla is exceptional for supporting positivity while soothing tension. On stressful days, take a few moments to breathe deeply and enjoy vanilla’s scent.

CO2 Extraction

Our high-quality, highly titrated vanilla oil is the result of CO2 extraction, a natural and plant-friendly process that extracts the plant’s precious molecules. Unlike other chemical solvent extraction processes, supercritical CO2 extraction does not leave behind any concerning chemical residue. Similar to steam distillation, CO2 is gentle on the molecules being extracted, preserving their vitality and their exquisite scent. The result is an extremely concentrated extract that we dilute with jojoba for safe skin application.


Pediatrics. 2005 Jan;115(1):83-8.

Olfactory stimulation prevents apnea in premature newborns. Marlier L1, Gaugler C, Messer J.

• Iran J Pediatr. 2013 Jun; 23(3): 261–268.

Olfactory Stimulation by Vanillin Prevents Apnea in Premature Newborn Infants

Mitra Edraki, MS,*,1 Hajar Pourpulad, MS,2 Marzie Kargar, MS,2 Narjes Pishva, PhD,3 Najaf Zare, PhD,4 and Hashem Montaseri, PhD5

• Psychiatry Res. 2015 Feb 28;225(3):509-14. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2014.11.056. Epub 2014 Dec 9.

Vanillin-induced amelioration of depression-like behaviors in rats by modulating monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain.

Xu J1, Xu H2, Liu Y3, He H4, Li G5.

• Indian J Pharmacol. 2013 Mar-Apr;45(2):141-4. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.108292.

Evaluation of antidepressant activity of vanillin in mice.

Shoeb A1, Chowta M, Pallempati G, Rai A, Singh A.

• Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Feb;1810(2):170-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2010.11.004. Epub 2010 Nov 21.

Evaluation of antioxidant activity of vanillin by using multiple antioxidant assays.

Tai A1, Sawano T, Yazama F, Ito H

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Plant Beautiful Skincare

A Holistic Experience for Mind & Body Essential oils and beauty are meant for each other. When we think of what it means to feel beautiful, to have beautiful skin, to radiate beauty – essential oils are the nexus that brings it all together. Their dynamic and nuanced composition of molecules – combined with the beauty and emotional resonance offered by their aromas – connects us to what true beauty really means. It’s not easy to formulate essential oils into facial products – you want to make sure the formula is both effective and smells incredible – simultaneously. The tricky part is crafting the aroma to be subtle, yet transporting and resonant – guiding us to connect more deeply with the power of its fragrant beauty. I’ve been using essential oils in my facial care routine for over 20 years and I attribute my consistent usage to healing all sorts of odd scars, marks and discolorations – along with greatly improving my complexion’s overall health and appearance. Not to mention the enormous benefits I’ve experienced from how their scents have nurtured my soul, soothed my anxiety, raised my awareness – and have made me feel beautiful. A great clean beauty facial care product needs to nourish us in 3 ways: physically, emotionally and psycho-spiritually. Applying product to our faces is a deeply personal experience, and can help us be more present, foster self-reflection and confidence, and just make us feel really good. And we definitely need more of that! Essential Oils + Lipid-Rich Plant Oils I have found that one of the most effective and safe ways to deliver the unique power of essential oils to our facial care routine is by pairing and blending them with lipid-rich plant oils. These oils support and enhance the aromatherapeutic properties and actions of the essential oils used in the product. The lipid-rich plant oils that I am talking about are the fatty extracts from some very common, and in some cases, very edible, plants: think olive oil, macadamia oil, almond oil, etc… All of these oils come from cold-pressed seeds, nuts and fruits. Pranarom’s Treatment Moisture Oils are a perfect example of this. Each of the three blends are thoughtfully designed so that both the aromas and the therapeutic functions of the oils enhance and support each other. Our skin has a real love affair with oil. Without getting too technical, our skin is made up of cells that actually need and feed on oils to stay healthy and in balance. This means that by regular and consistent application of lipid-rich plant oils, we can actually improve our skin’s function. This includes strengthening our skin barrier, improving its immunity, tone and resiliency and promoting cellular growth and renewal – all of which contribute to a glowing and healthy appearance. Essential oils love these lipid-rich plant oils – not only do they dissolve easily when blended together, but they also work synergistically to deliver a truly holistic approach to nourishing and fortifying the skin. The plant oils literally “carry” the essential oils and their benefits into the skin, gently supporting and enhancing the aroma-therapeutic properties of the essential oils. It’s a beautiful and very effective partnering. Let’s look more closely at the Clear Moisture Treatment Oil. This oil combines a dynamic array of nut and seed oils, including Macadamia, Black Cumin and Sweet Almond. The essential fatty acid composition and nutritive components of these oils work to promote the skin’s resiliency, defending against bacteria and oxidative stress. These are all key properties to supporting the health of blemish-prone or oily skin. Fused with these lipid-rich plant oils are a range of calming and balancing essential oils, including Frankincense, Marjoram, and Roman Chamomile. Blended together, you get a blend that not only smells clear and fortifying, but powerfully enhances the therapeutic properties of each ingredient to support clear, balanced skin. The Ritual Here are a few tips and suggestions for using Pranarom’s Plant Beautiful skincare and creating your own beauty ritual to nourish your skin and soul. Try cleansing your face with oil, rather than soap, and take note of how gently this lifts away dirt and grime without stripping your skin. The Pure Facial Cleansing Oil is perfect for this, as it’s easy to use and leaves a non-greasy feeling after rinsing. Use floral waters to tone and soothe sensitivity. After cleansing and patting your face dry, try misting with one of Pranarom’s Facial Mists – beautiful blends of a few different hydrosols and soothing aloe vera. They feel light and clean while imparting nuanced aromas that immediately calm both mind and skin. After cleansing and toning, feed the skin with one of the deeply nutritive Treatment Moisture Oils, massaging gently for best results. Pay attention to the scent of the essential oils and how well they partner and align with the plant oils, and how the scent makes you feel. Our skin is a reflection of who we are and how we feel. It’s deeply integrated with our nervous system, our hormones and our immunity. By taking care of our skin with pure, nutrient dense products of nature and engaging our sense of smell, we are encouraged to live happier and healthier. Enjoy the ritual of skincare – your mind and body will thank you! Shop This Story at Rosemary’s Garden post by | Amy Galper, B.A. MA. Certified Aromatherapist Amy is a nationally celebrated educator, author, entrepreneur and formulator in the world of organic health and wellness. She is the co-author of “Plant Powered Beauty,” and her new book, the “Ultimate Guide to Aromatherapy,” will be launching fall 2020. Amy’s passion is empowering and inspiring others through a holistic lens that starts with mindfulness and reflection, leading to total wellbeing. Learn more about Amy at (coming late August 2020) and on Instagram @amygalper.

Back-to-School Survival Kit

This academic year promises to be challenging, but we’ve got some tried and true natural solutions to help you power through. Whether you’re homeschooling, sending your kids off to school, or heading to school as a teacher or student yourself, these products are here to support a focused mind and a healthy body. Immune Defense Solution Start the day by diffusing a few drops of this tonic for the immune system. Its refreshing aroma of eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary wakes up and stimulates the mind while supporting your body’s natural defenses. SHOP NOW Mental Clarity Help keep your mind sharp with a quick palm inhalation: apply a drop of Mental Clarity to your palms, and rub together. Lightly cup your hands over your nose and mouth and breathe deeply five times. Great before tests and between classes! SHOP NOW Stress Recovery It’s important for both kids and adults to tune in to their emotions and any tension that may be building up in muscles. This could be just a few moments of breathing, stretching, meditation or prayer. Our Stress Recovery is great for encouraging both mind and body to relax and let go of whatever’s not serving you and your health. SHOP NOW Down Time With homework, deadlines and everything else that needs to be done, it’s easy to forget how important sleep is. Our Down Time wellness blend is formulated to help tell the body that it’s time for rest. Diffuse half an hour before bed, turning off technology, dimming the lights and allowing yourself to unwind. SHOP NOW Give yourself some grace this year, and don’t forget that crucial self-care time! These small, simple steps can have a big impact on your health when practiced regularly. We hope these tips help you and your loved ones approach this academic year with a little more confidence. You’ve got this! Article by: Hanna Stensgaard