I first learned that vanilla was an orchid when I first attended the orchid show at the Chicago Botanic Garden a few years ago. The Orchid show is always in the winter and this year runs from Feb. 10 to March 26, 2017.
|Vanilla orchid display at Chicago Botanic Garden|
Beyond the wonderful flavors that vanilla imparts to baking, you can also add it to beauty items with great benefit.
An infusion of vanilla and witch hazel can be used as a skin toner that will reduce pore size and decrease puffiness around the eyes.
2 vanilla beans
8 ounces of witch hazel
(an astringent available in a drug store or drug store section of a department store)
Slice the beans lengthwise and cut into small pieces. Place in a glass jar and cover with witch hazel extract. Shape well. Store in a cool dark place for 2 weeks and shake daily. Strain out the vanilla and place liquid in a glass bottle. You can apply with cotton balls or with a mister.
If you do not have vanilla beans handy you can make an aromatherapy spray using vanilla extract
Vanilla Room Spray
1 ounce witch hazel extract
3 ounces water
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pour all the ingredients into a 4 ounce glass bottle and shape well. Using a mister, shake well and spray the air avoiding light color furniture and clothing. The vanilla scent in the air can reduce anxiety and evoke pleasant memories. It is was used with great success for those having MRI tests, reducing the anxiety of being in an enclosed space.