McCormick Science Institute

MSI Funded Paper - Vanilla: Potential Health Benefits

Singletary, Keith, W., PhD


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MSI Team

July 2020--An overview of the potential health benefits of vanilla, funded by the McCormick Science Institute.  An evaluation of the research is presented. 

The vanilla bean, obtained from Vanilla planifolia and Vanilla tahitensis, members of the Orchidaceae family, is the source of vanilla extract, one of the most desired and widely used food flavorings worldwide. Besides uses of vanilla in foods, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals, it has complementary medicinal applications including alleviation of fever, spasms, and gastrointestinal irritations, to name a few. However, support from the scientific literature for human health benefits of vanilla and its chemical constituents vanillin and vanillic acid is limited and preliminary. This narrative review provides a summary of findings from human and animal studies addressing potential health benefits of the extract of this bean and select extract components.


Singletary, Keith W. "Vanilla: Potential Health Benefits" Nutrition Today: 7/8 2020 - Volume 55 - Issue 4 - p 186-196 doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000412

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