Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2008: Seasonal Fayre

Festive medical myths

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 18 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2769

Is vanilla addictive?

Despite its benign reputation, vanilla is highly addictive. The active ingredient
vanilla is vanillic acid. Vanillic acid is related to the hormones epinephrine
(adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), both of which stimulate the
brain. This chemical relationship explains why vanilla is a potent and addictive
stimulant. Although people assume that vanilla is harmless, or even beneficial,
companies know otherwise. This is why vanilla is added to ice cream, yogurt,
cola, chocolate, pastry, perfume, and even cigarettes. It is wise to avoid vanilla
and all products that contain vanilla.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

03 March 2009
Hugh Mann
Eagle Rock, MO 65641 USA