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Lusciously Healthy Vanilla

Vanilla is that vital and sensuous ingredient in many baked goods, teas, and lotions.  Derived from the seeds of a tropical orchid, vanilla originates from Mexico.  Folklore depicts the birth of the tropical orchid occurring when Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded, and the vine of the tropical orchid grew out of the blood-soaked earth.

These orchids are now vanilla plants that bear fruit in the form of pods, which are full of  vanilla beans and are picked and fermented by growers.  The plants grow mainly in Mexico, Madagascar, Brazil, and Indonesia.

Though it is wildly used as a flavoring agent in the culinary world, vanilla also contains powerful medicinal qualities.  As an essential oil, it is a powerful antioxidant, aphrodisiac, anticarcinogenic, febrifuge, antidepressant, sedative, tranquilizer and relaxant.

One of the biggest advantages of vanilla is that it makes you happy! The flavor is naturally sweet and soothing to all types of inflammation and hyperactivity in our bodies.  It calms the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, nervous, and the excretory systems. It also relieves and subdues inflammation from fevers, anxiety, stress, and allergies.  It lowers blood pressure and is great for insomnia.

Reviewing all these amazing benefits, it seems only natural then that vanilla has made it's way into the most romantic, tantalizing products.  One company based their entire product line around this exotic spice.  Based out of Los Angeles and New York, LAVANILA is a company dedicated to creating healthy, irresistible products.  The lotions, candles, lip glosses, and deodorants are free of parabens, petrochemicals, silicone, artificial and synthetic dyes, sulfates, mineral oils, and propylene glycol.  

On their website, they include a list of ingredients they put into their products, as well as a list of what they leave out.  http://www.lavanila.com/ingredients_ep_43-1.html  There is a tangible feeling of passion and dedication from these two remarkable women, and it's no mystery what is at the root of their enthusiasm and happiness:  They're sniffing vanilla all day!

LAVANILA can be found at your local Nordstrom's, Sephora, and Anthropologie stores.  Further sources are listed on their website: http://www.lavanila.com

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