There are so many things to love about vanilla. Not only does it smell amazing, but it also makes baked goods taste that much better—heck, it even takes your morning bowl of oatmeal up a level. The benefits don’t end there, though: A new study found that the pantry staple might also help ease the painful symptoms of psoriasis.
According to the research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, small amounts of artificial vanilla extract—AKA vanillin—prevented or reduced the inflammation associated with psoriasis in mice when ingested and used on their skin. And, the idea to use the baking ingredient for medical reasons is actually not so novel.
Small amounts of artificial vanilla extract—AKA vanillin—prevented or reduced the inflammation associated with psoriasis in mice when ingested and used on their skin.
In the past, vanillin has been shown to have a positive effect on inflammation-causing interleukins in other conditions and diseases, and since those cellular particles also play a role in the development of psoriasis, researchers hypothesized it would yield a similar outcome. Plus, vanilla has also been shown to be a powerful free-radical-fighting antioxidant, an antibacterial, and even an antidepressant when used in soothing essential-oil form.
Potentially game-changing (and aromatic!) news aside, don’t go bathe in vanilla extract to treat your red, flaky patches just yet: Even though the use of vanillin was proven effective on mice, researchers still need to test the method on humans. But considering there’s no cure for the condition as of yet, this is a huge step in the right direction. (And in the meantime, go gobble up some healthier-for-you vanilla-loaded holiday goodies.)