True story! Can you believe it?! I was sure we had found a way to make an essential oil out of everything!!!
Alas, there is no vanilla essential oil available through doTERRA, YoungLiving or any other essential oil manufacturer. But it’s not totally out of reach…..
In this article about the beautifully amazing and versatile vanilla bean, we will take a look at why there isn’t an essential oil, what the next best thing to a vanilla essential oil, how to make your own, what you can use it for and where you can buy manufactured variations online.
Why No Vanilla Essential Oil?
Essential oils are made starting with a process called steam distillation. Because the essence of vanilla does not come from its leaves or blooms and from inside a bean pod, this steam distillation just doesn’t work with this beautiful vine.
DoTERRA has this detailed explanation of the process as, “Steam distillation is the most common way to extract aromatic compounds (essential oil) from a plant. During the steam distillation process, steam passes through the plant material. The combination of heated steam and gentle pressure causes the essential oil to be released from microscopic protective sacs. As the vapor mixture flows through a condenser and cools, it yields a layer of oil and a layer of water. The essential oil rises to the top and is separated from the hydrosol (floral water) and collected.” 
The make-up of the vanilla bean plant does not make itself readily available for this process. The vanilla bean plant has large, green leaves but the part of the plant that holds the vanilla bean essence is in the bean pod.
Vanilla bean pods themselves are a tough, fibrous structure that encases the actual vanilla bean paste on the inside. Steam distillation is ineffective at drawing out the essence there for no essential oil can be made into a product that would constitute being categorized as an “essential oil.”
The vanilla bean contained in the pod is a solid matter that is encased tightly inside the pod. The only way to get the vanilla bean out of the pod is to cut the pod vertically with a sharp knife and to scrape it out.
Be sure to hang on to the pods though as they contain a great deal of vanilla essence as well.
You can make your own vanilla extract, vodka, sugar to vanilla salt and body scrub. Just a quick Google search and welcome to the wonderful world of vanilla and all the possibilities!
Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla Oil
Vanilla has been used as a flavoring aromatic since the early 1500s. It is thought the Totocana people of the Gulf Coast of Mexico were the first to domesticate vanilla. Over the years, vanilla’s value exploded exponentially and was and still is a coveted spice in the food and perfume industry.
Vanilla is compounded in a variety of ways to be used in a variety of products. One of vanilla’s most common presentations is vanilla extract. It is used in American baking as well as warms the house as an aromatic invitation during the holiday season.
Vanilla extract is made by being macerated and percolating vanilla bean pods in a solution of alcohol and water. 
Vanilla “essential” oils aren’t what you might expect. If you are buying something called “vanilla essential oils” online, you are getting one of the three following vanilla based, sort of like essential oil but not really oils.
One is called oleoresin. This product is exactly what is in the word, resin. The resin is removed from the bean pod using a solvent and then mixed together with a carrier oil. However, oleoresin doesn’t blend well with carrier oils and you will have resin remnants in the oil you are mixing it with. 
There is another product called Vanilla Absolute. This product is composed of the vanilla bean and 25% ethanol alcohol. It is a very thick product that can make it easier to work with than oleoresin.  I’m not gonna lie, at $72 per 1/8 of an ounce, this stuff is almost as pricey as gold!
But if real vanilla oil is what you want, there are manufacturers ready to supply your demand.
There is another product I learned of while vying into my vanilla options and that is Vanilla CO2 Extract. This oil has been extracted from vanilla beans using carbon dioxide under high pressure. However, vanilla CO2 is extremely expensive. It does blend the best with carrier oils and does not have any vanilla bean sediment left behind like the vanilla oleoresin. 
Can You Use Vanilla Oil as an Essential Oil?
The quick answer is yes, you can use it basically the same as your other essential oils but it isn’t going to behave in the same ways due to its thickness in consistency. Using the oleoresin blended with a carrier oil like grapeseed, you are going to see the speckles and may feel a bit of the solid material still left from the vanilla bean.
You can put a couple of drops of the vanilla absolute in your diffuser along with a few drops of grapefruit and sandalwood for a warm, inviting aroma.
And finally, you can use the vanilla oleoresin, absolute or CO2 to add to a warm bath for a relaxing experience.
Benefits of Vanilla Oil
The benefits of vanilla have been predominantly domesticated and experienced in the cooking and perfume industries. Vanilla’s health support properties have been suggested in aiding Parkinson’s, hypertension and various heart problems.  However, scientific research/studies on measurable benefits is still largely unavailable.
However, in a general consensus across multiple essential oil blog posts, aromatherapy experts and reps along with the overall testimonials from essential oil users are vanilla is calming and mood-boosting.
It may sound like a small punch but when you consider what is calm and in a pleasant mood alleviates, it becomes an oil heavy in your rotation.
Most of us of some sort of emotional tie to the smell of vanilla. Whether it reminds us of baked treats at grandma’s house over the holidays, to the way you and your college roommate shared a cup coffee in the morning or scent of candle your mother lit when you had a broken heart, we are emotionally attached to vanilla.
When these pleasant memories are triggered, we experience hits of dopamine that make us feel good. You know what I mean. When you walk into a store or a home that smells of vanilla and your heart warms as your shoulders drop as you feel the stress melt off your body.
The side effects of NOT being stressed and bent out of shape are endless. Some of the top symptoms relieved from using vanilla that was dually noted throughout the research were PMS, inducing sleep, addresses sexual deficiencies, reducing sugar cravings and even relieve some mild to moderate toothache pain.
Overall, vanilla oil helps your mood and when you help your mood, it helps every other system it is connected with, which is all of them. When we increase our mood, it brings other systems to life, like our sex and sleep life.
Think about it like this, if vanilla increases our mood we will are likely to be nicer, particularly to our partner. When we get along with our partner, we are likely to have sex and when we have sex, we have all the hormones going on! One, in particular, that is released after sex called prolactin. It induces sleep!
So, in theory, vanilla leads to a happier disposition, sex and sleep in one fell swoop! While this is not a guarantee by any means, the possibilities are there and so why not? In a society so quick to take a pill to fix everything, why not try something organic, sustainable, and gentle without the challenging side effects and expense of medications first?
Best Vanilla Oils to Buy
When buying your vanilla oils in either the oleoresin, absolute or CO2 form, remember, it is expensive. I mention this mainly because during my research, I found a very broad range of pricing for the products.
For the purpose of this article, I chose to research vanilla absolute as it is middle of the road price range wise out of the three and it is the easiest out of the three to blend with other essential oils, carrier oils and to use in your diffuser.
This is not an easy or inexpensive product to create so the price it is what it is. It’s important to remember all of the people that need to be paid and resources that have to be replenished in order to make it. The requirement for currency for production is, of course, passed on to the consumer and remember, you get what you pay for.
If one website is offering 1/8 of an ounce of vanilla absolute for $10.95 and another website is offering the same 1/8 of an ounce product for $70, it is for a reason.
Sustainability is something to think about when purchasing your oils. If the products are being sold so cheaply it is fair to question who isn’t getting paid what they are owed or who isn’t getting paid at all.
I know we are all looking for the best deal on everything and for it to get to us Amazon fast but there is something to be said for paying a little bit more and waiting a little bit longer for something that is going to bring priceless benefits to your home.
Mountain Rose Herbs carries a USDA certified organic vanilla absolute created with organic ethanol and is a company with an esteemed reputation in the Pacific Northwest. It is a company dedicated to organically grown products and a commitment to environmental sustainability.
The vanilla absolute they offer comes in a variety of quantities ranging from 1/8 of an ounce to four ounces with droppers included except for the 4-ounce bottle.
They take time and care into all of their products which takes research, energy, and manpower. There is a high level of integrity involved in their product development which transfers to their product and consumers. Paying a higher price for incredible quality goes without question.
Eden’s Botanicals carriers a vanilla absolute that is slightly less expensive than Mountain Rose but with almost equal integrity as MRH. One thing Eden Botanicals offers that most essential oil manufacturers do not offer is a Certificate of Analysis.
EB posts the analysis report of their vanilla absolute so you can see exactly what is in each bottle you purchase. This not only tells you what it is the bottle but where the beans they used came from. It is also a non-GMO certified product which not all retailers can claim.
Eden’s Botanicals also offers a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) which provides all safety and cautionary information regarding the oil. There isn’t much EB doesn’t cover and like Mountain Rose Herbs, the cost of quality has to be rectified in the purchase of the product.
Is Vanilla Oil for Me?
I’ll be the first to admit the price of vanilla essence at first glance can be a bit breath catching. But as I already stated before when you are buying a product of high quality and integrity, be prepared to pay for it.
So that brings me to my next thought in the process of spending more than a dime on essential oils.
Is it worth it for me?
For me personally, vanilla is not on my top ten list of aromas so it doesn’t make sense for me to invest in a bottle. But if vanilla is your jam and what gets you to that place of calm and serene, I say why not?
There is no price you can put on peace of mind and calm of heart.
Ooh, which reminds me, Eden’s Botanicals offers up the smallest amount of vanilla absolute by selling just six drops for $4 just for you to try. You can buy a couple of those if you are wanting to try before fulling committing to a full-size priced bottle.
Vanilla Isn’t so Vanilla
The more you discover about vanilla, you begin to realize there isn’t really anything plain about it.
Often times we think there is only one way but in knowing vanilla essential oil wasn’t a thing, it led to the discovery of three varying options that created a well of information and knowledge allowing all of us to make a more informed, ethical and economical decision moving forward.
It’s not a no, it’s just a not the usual way. And that is okay and most of the time turns out to be something better.
I’d like to encourage you, if you feel so inclined, to try the varying vanilla’s and let me know what you think and tell me about your experience.
It has been a pleasure writing this piece for you, I hope you found value, information, and answers during your read!
The dairy industry uses the largest percentage of vanilla in the world. 
The vanilla bean orchid flowers once a year and the bloom only lasts for one day. 
The word vanilla means “little black pod.”