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Alternative medicine vanilla

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  • 1. Press TV Print Page 1 of 2 Alternative medicine: Vanilla Wed, 26 Dec 2007 15:51:45 By Patricia Khashayar, MD., Press TV, Tehran Traditional medical literature describes vanilla as an excitant, antioxidant, aphrodisiac and a remedy for fevers, hysteria and tumors. Botanical: Vanilla planifolia Habitat: Vanilla is a flavoring substance originally extracted from genus Vanilla orchids in Mexico. Description: Vanilla is a vine which can reach up to 25 meters or more in height. Each Vanilla flower produces one fruit which contains flavoring compounds. Part Used Medicinally: Fruit Constituents: Ferulic acid is another phenolic aromatic chemical found in vanilla. Vanillin (4-hydroxy-3- methoxybenzaldehyde), vanillic and protocatechuic acids are catabolic products of ferulic acid degradation. Vanillin is the compound primarily responsible for the flavor and smell of vanilla. Vanillin is commonly used to flavor sweet foods like ice cream and chocolate. Medicinal Uses: In traditional medical literature, vanilla is described as an excitant, aphrodisiac and a remedy for fever. Vanilla is used to treat hysteria and tooth decay. The essential oils of vanilla and vanillin are sometimes used in aromatherapy. Vanillin has antioxidant and anti-tumor effects. Vanillin reportedly suppresses in vitro invasion and in vivo metastasis of mouse breast cancer cells. It also blocks the bacterial virulence factor, responsible for infection. Its antioxidant content can help fight several neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's as well as septic shock and inflammation. Caution: http://www.presstv.com/pop/print.aspx?id=36399 3/17/2008
  • 2. Press TV Print Page 2 of 2 Vanilla increases catecholamines (including epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline) levels, and is therefore mildly addictive. Vanillin is metabolized in the liver's phase II detoxification system and as a result individuals with Gilbert's Syndrome may experience severe reactions when ingesting vanillin. Vanilla is an allergen for many people thus it is usually used as an extract. Due to its high calcium oxalate content, working in close contact with Vanilla trees can cause vanilism which is characterized by allergy, dermatologic disorders, headaches and vomiting. PKH/HGH Count of views : 727 © Press TV 2007. All Rights Reserved. http://www.presstv.com/pop/print.aspx?id=36399 3/17/2008