Homemade vanilla cordial with damiana is a lovely introduction to using vanilla as a home herbal. While used widely as a flavoring agent and a perfume, vanilla’s other uses are largely overlooked.
Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is purported to sharpen the mind and strengthen memory (McBride, 2010). Vanillin, which is the primary chemical constituent in vanilla (Hoffmann, 2003), appears to have anti-cancer and anti-mutagenic action in cells, while other vanilla compounds show antioxidant activity (Shyamala, 2007). As a carminative, vanilla helps relax the digestive system and soothe upset caused by gas.
In this cordial recipe, we’ve combined vanilla with damiana (Turnera diffusa, syn. Turnera aphrodisiaca) leaf. Damiana is a superb tonic for the nervous system as well as a sexual tonic with quite a reputation as an aphrodisiac. It has not been extensively studied clinically, however, the traditional knowledge speaks on its behalf (Herbal Academy, n.d.).
Because of damiana’s aphrodisiac properties, this delicious cordial would be a particularly good fit for Valentine’s Day or another loving occasion.
Damiana and Vanilla Cordial
This Damiana Vanilla Cordial is a sensual sipping elixir that’s both pleasurable and gently stimulating. It’s nice as a gift, or perhaps to keep just for you and your loved one. This recipe is adapted from Botanica Erotica by Diana De Luca. Yield: 8 ounces.
2 vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) beans
1 ounce dried damiana (Turnera diffusa, syn. Turnera aphrodisiaca) leaf
1 cup brandy
1 1/2 cups spring water
1 cup honey
glass bottle or jar
- Split vanilla beans lengthwise using a knife. Chop crosswise into smaller pieces if needed to fit them into the bottle.
- Add damiana with vanilla beans to the jar.
- Cover with brandy.
- Let steep for 2-4 weeks, shaking every day or two.
- Strain brandy and place in a clean jar, saving the plant material.
- In the original jar, combine plant material and spring water, and let steep for 3 days in the refrigerator.
- Strain spring water extract, composting the plant material.
- Gently warm spring water extract with honey just until combined.
- Combine spring water/honey mixture with the alcohol extract in a beautiful jar.
- Age for one month in the refrigerator before enjoying as a sipping cordial. Store leftovers in the refrigerator due to the water content.
For more herbal recipes featuring vanilla, check out:
Make Your Night Memorable With A Rose-Vanilla Massage Oil
Vanilla Recipes: 3 Ways to Bliss
For more delicious cordial recipes, see:
Hawthorn Berry Homemade Cordial
Using Goldenrod: A Late Summer Cordial Recipe
3 Conifer Cordial Recipes for Winter Wellness
Valerian Mint Cordial: The Perfect Herbal Nightcap
De Luca, D. (1998). Botanica erotica: arousing body, mind, and spirit. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Herbal Academy. (n.d.) Damiana monograph. The Herbarium. Retrieved from https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/2030
Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
McBride, K. (2010). The herbal kitchen. San Francisco, CA: Conari Press.
Shyamala, B.N., Naidu, M.M., Sulochanamma, G., & Srinivas, P. (2007). Studies on the antioxidant activities of natural vanilla extract and its constituent compounds through in vitro models. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, (55)19, 7738-7743. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf071349