Madagascar Vanilla

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The vanilla orchid is native only to Mexico and relies on a rare black Mexican bee to pollinate naturally. In 1841, a French owned 12-year old slave on Île Bourbon (now Réunion Island) discovered how to hand-pollinate vanilla orchids. Shortly thereafter vanilla plantations were introduced and became commonplace on the island of Madagascar.

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The type of vanilla grown on Madagascar and in most other locations is Vanilla planifolia, also known as Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. About 97% of the world's real vanilla comes from Madagascar. However, an estimated 95% of all vanilla products contains artificial vanilla. The best quality Bourbon Vanilla, also called Black Vanilla, is produced primarily around Antalaha, Sambava, Vohemar and Andapa in the northwest of Madagascar.

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In ancient times, vanilla was said to have aphrodisiac effects and help against fever. Although these properties remain scientifically unverified, it is known that vanilla increases levels of catecholamines, including epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline. In an in-vitro test, vanilla was able to block quorom sensing in bacteria. In many bacteria, quorum sensing signals function as a switch for virulence in that microbes only become virulent when these signals indicate that they have the numbers to resist the host immune system response. The essential oils of vanilla and vanillin are often used in aromatherapy.

Documentary on Madagascar's vanilla trade

Madagascar: The Chinese vanilla is a half-hour documentary that gives insight into Madagascar's vanilla production and how the trade is being shaped since recent years by an increase in demand from China.

The original French language version, MADAGASCAR Vanille Chinoise, produced in 2014 by WA Productions in cooperation with Public Sénat, can be viewed at

Google Newsfeed

Madagascar: Vanilla quality Decline to continue in 2018 - Ecofin Agency: Economic information from Africa
22-May-2018 15:59
05/07/2018: Madagascar vanilla now more expensive than silver -
07-May-2018 12:00
Mount Rushmore to get $14M in upgrades | Local | rapidcityjournal ... - Rapid City Journal
23-May-2018 11:04
Mount Rushmore to get $14M in upgrades, but won't touch famous faces - Rapid City Journal
23-May-2018 11:04
Summer's all but here, and with it comes ice cream, so get your licks in - Press Herald
23-May-2018 08:02
Vanilla price rise proves chilling for ice-cream makers - BBC News
06-May-2018 23:08
Vanilla is complex, even smoky, and may be a baker's best friend -
23-May-2018 12:01
Vanilla prices are rising. Here's why - The Topeka Capital-Journal
25-Apr-2018 18:39
PNG's vanilla crop ranks second best globally – Report - POST-COURIER
23-May-2018 14:32
PSA: Restaurants are dropping vanilla ice cream from menus this summer, but not because it's boring - HelloGiggles
10-May-2018 18:16

Further information