People take vanilla to treat intestinal gas and fever. They also use it to increase sexual desire (as an aphrodisiac).
In foods and beverages, vanilla is a well-known flavoring, but it is also added to foods to reduce the amount of sugar needed for sweetening. Some people add vanilla to food to help stop tooth decay.
In manufacturing, vanilla is used as a flavoring in syrups used in making medications. It is also used as a fragrance in perfumes.
Vanilla extract can be pricey. So lab-produced vanillin is often used as a substitute for vanilla. Sometimes vanilla extracts are diluted with less expensive extracts. Vanilla extracts from Mexico have been diluted with tonga bean extracts, but these contain a chemical called coumarin. Since 1954, the FDA has prohibited the use of coumarin in food.
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