Plant Therapy has missed having Vanilla on our shelves more than anyone. Vanilla is one of our favorites for adding a rich, creamy, sweet note to blends and body care. We’ve been able to use it in some blends (All the Fall, anyone?), but haven’t been able to offer it as a single in quite some time. Due to the high demand for natural vanilla and issues with sustainability, it’s been difficult to source. Rejoice and get ready to blend! We have a new Vanilla Botanical Extract that gives you the classic vanilla aroma you love while being respectful of the earth’s resources.
Vanilla Botanical Extract
Vanilla Botanical Extract will bring a gourmand, inviting scent to any blend. It is a favorite for body products as it blends well with so many oils. You can also use Vanilla to help relieve agitation and promote a relaxed environment.
In Uganda where our vanilla is sourced, a fast-curing and hydro-distillation process has been developed resulting in a higher content of vanillin. The final product has a rich, intense, vanilla aroma. Hydro-alcohol distillation is a high-pressure process for extracting essential oils. When vanilla is processed this way, the resulting botanical extracts have a more intense vanilla aroma compared to steam distillation.
For more ideas on how to use our vanilla, check out this blog post.
Sustainability Sourced from Uganda
Up until a few years ago, the majority of vanilla production took place in Madagascar. But the increased demand and environmental issues like droughts and cyclones caused the price of vanilla to increase. Vanilla grew from $11 per pound in 2011 to $193 per pound in 2016. It doesn’t help that vanilla harvesting is an incredibly labor-intensive process that requires handpicking and hand pollinating the vanilla.
Since then, vanilla production has taken huge strides. Uganda has now become one of the main areas of vanilla production in the world, with its perfect agri-climatic conditions. Harvesters gather the green beans in June/July and December/January.
Additionally, the vanilla we source in Uganda is part of the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative, which helps make sure that the vanilla is harvested in a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable way. This means it’s not just about making sure there’s a stable supply of vanilla. It’s also making sure the farmers and harvesters get an education on best farming practices as well as implementing social programs to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of the farming communities.
What’s the Difference?
This Vanilla Botanical Extract will be the third kind of vanilla that Plant Therapy has offered in the last few years. So it makes sense that you might be wondering what the difference is between these three options and if there are different therapeutic benefits. Luckily, the benefits of vanilla are pretty much the same across the board. But the aroma slightly varies between varieties based on the extraction process: solvent extraction (Vanilla Absolute or Oleoresin), C02 extraction (Vanilla C02), or hydro-alcohol distillation (Vanilla Botanical Extract).
Vanilla Oleoresin tended to be a little thicker and wouldn’t completely emulsify in carrier oils. So it made some DIYs (or even diffusing) a bit more challenging. Vanilla CO2 Extract was definitely on the pricier side and contained 12% vanillin, the primary component that gives us the classic vanilla aroma. To learn more about these two different varieties, check out this blog post.
The new Vanilla Botanical Extract doesn’t have the high price tag of the CO2 extract or the emulsifying issues of the oleoresin. Even better…
- It’s a sustainable option: Our main concern with this product was sustainability. With this product, you can enjoy your favorite vanilla scent without supporting destructive farming practices.
- It smells amazing: The hydro-alcohol distillation process provides a rich vanilla scent that will be more potent in your relaxation and skincare DIYs.
Some Things to Know
- Blends well with: Bergamot, Cedarwood (all), Cinnamon (all), Frankincense (all), Grapefruit Pink, Jasmine Absolute, Kumquat, Mandarin, Orange (all), Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang (both), Yuzu
- KidSafe: Yes
- Pregnancy & Nursing Safe: Yes
- Pup & Pony Approved: No
- Shelf Life: 3-4 years
When using Vanilla Botanical Extract, add 3-4 drops to your diffuser to enjoy the rich aroma. And because it’s nowhere near as thick as the oleoresin, you won’t have to worry about it clogging your diffuser. To use topically, dilute it to 2-3% in a carrier oil or lotion. Keep in mind, when blending with other essential oils, Vanilla may not completely blend with other essential oils. Make sure to shake your blends well first before using.
What are you most excited to make with Vanilla Botanical Extract? Let us know in the comments!