The fruit of Vanilla planifolia, Andrews (Nat. Ord. Orchidaceae). A native Mexican vine, grown in many tropical countries, but on a commercial scale in Guadaloupe. Dose, 1 to 10 grains.
Common Name: Vanilla.
Principal Constituents.—The fragrance of vanilla is due to vanillin (C8H8O3) and to the presence of a small quantity of balsam.
Preparation.—Tinctura Vanilla, Tincture of Vanilla. Dose, 1 to 10 drops.
Derivative—Vanillinum, Vanillin, is methylprotocatechuic aldehyde, occurring naturally in vanilla beans, or may be produced synthetically from several orthodihydroxy-benzene derivatives. It forms fine white or very pale yellowish, needle crystals having the characteristic taste and odor of vanilla; soluble in water and freely in alcohol, glycerin, ether and chloroform. It forms the whitish "frost" observed on vanilla. Dose, 1/4 to 1 grain.
Action and Therapy.—Vanilla is an aromatic stimulant, but is seldom used as a medicine. It is said to promote wakefulness, increase muscular energy, and to powerfully stimulate the sexual appetite. It is used chiefly as a flavoring agent for medicinal syrups and tinctures, confections, and pastry.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.