Vanilla. - The fruit of Vanilla planifolia Andrews (nat ord. Or-chideae).

Habitat

Eastern Mexico, in hot, damp woods; cultivated in the tropics.

Characters

From 15 to 25 cm. long, and about 8 mm. thick, linear, narrowed and bent or hooked at the base, rather oblique at the apex, wrinkled, somewhat warty, dark brown, glossy-leathery, one-celled, and containing a blackish-brown pulp, with numerous, minute seeds, and more or less acicular crystals; odor and taste peculiar, fragrant.

Composition

Its chief constituents are - Vanillin, C8H8O3, a crystalline principle, 1.7 to 2.75 per cent., which develops upon the ripening of the pod. (2) Fixed Oil, 11 per cent. (3) Resin. (4) Sugar. (5) Mucilage. Vanillin is the Aldehyde of Methylprotocatechuic Acid; and can be prepared artificially from Coniferin, Carbolic Acid, Guaiacol and Eugenol, C10H12O2, the last being found in Oil of Cloves (see p. 534).

Preparation

Tinctura Vanillae. Tincture Of Vanilla

Vanilla, 100; Sugar, 200; by maceration with Alcohol and Water to 1000. Dose, as flavoring agent.

Uses of Vanilla. Vanilla is used solely as a flavoring agent.