Herb: Vanilla Plant

Latin name: Trilisa odoratissima

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Vanilla Plant:

The leaves are demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic and tonic. They are a folk remedy for coughs, malaria and neuroses. The leaves are high in coumarins and have been experimentally effective in the treatment of high-protein oedema. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)


Habitat of the herb:

Low pinelands. Pine barrens.

Edible parts of Vanilla Plant:

The leaves are used as a flavouring, they have the scent of vanilla. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other uses of the herb:

The dried leaves contain coumarin and have a scent like newly mown hay. They can be used as a condiment.

Propagation of Vanilla Plant:

Seed - sow in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Low pinelands. Pine barrens.

Known hazards of Trilisa odoratissima:

The plant contains coumarins, this is what gives it the scent of newly mown hay. When used internally, especially from dried plants, it can act to prevent the blood from co-aggulating. Coumarins are implicated in liver disease and haemorrhage.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.