Tonka Bean

26 mins read

A tropical south american tree (dipteryx odorata) in the pea family, having pulpy, egg-shaped, one-seeded pods with aromatic seeds consisting of coumarin.

The seed of this tree, formerly commonly utilized as a flavoring for food or tobacco. Extracts from tonka beans have been banned as food additives in the united states. (1 )


Tonka bean is a tree. The fruit and seed are used to make medicine.

Despite severe security concerns, individuals take tonka bean as a tonic; to increase libido (as an aphrodisiac); and to deal with cramps, nausea, cough, convulsions, tuberculosis, losing due to chronic illness, swelling brought on by a blockage in the lymph system (lymphedema), and a parasitic illness called schistosomiasis.

Some people use tonka bean straight to the affected area for mouth ulcers, earache, and aching throat.

In production, coumarin, one of the active constituents of tonka bean, is used as a flavoring and fragrance in various products in food, alcohol, tobacco, soap, and cosmetics.

In foods, the seeds are used to make a nutty-flavored drink. (2 ).


An unique seed

The tonka bean concerns us from south america and more especially from venezuela, brazil and guyana. It is the fruit of a tropical tree with an intricate name: the (dipteryx odorata willd), likewise typically referred to as coumaru or teak. This tree can mature to 30 meters high and grows mainly in the tropical forests of south america, however it is now likewise cultivated in nigeria. Tonka beans are in fact the seeds of the fruit that grows on this tree. These fruits appear like large almonds and contain a distinct and precious glossy black seed, which is normally 4cm long. Depending upon the environment, a tree can produce between 15 and 75kg of fruit each year. (3 ).


There are no well-controlled studies describing the pharmacologic impacts of tonka beans or their elements. Coumarin is toxic when consumed in high dosages.

Synthetic coumarin has been established to replace the natural product in many cases. Warfarin (eg, coumadin), a substituted coumarin, is a potent anticoagulant utilized in human therapeutics and rodenticides. Substances separated from the tonka bean have been studied in cancer chemoprevention and for acaricidal activity. (4 ).

Advantages of tonka beans

Regardless of severe security concerns, people take tonka bean as a tonic; to increase sexual desire (as an aphrodisiac); and to deal with cramps, nausea, cough, spasms, tuberculosis, squandering due to persistent disease, swelling brought on by an obstruction in the lymph system (lymphedema), and a parasitic disease called schistosomiasis. Listed below are uses and benefits of tonka beans in our every day life.

Discomfort relief

Coumarin, the main ingredient present in tonka bean is a deadly anticoagulant and has analgesic results in which it can provide natural discomfort relief after surgery. It can also reduce persistent neck and back pain, sore muscle discomfort and stress in the body. It is likewise being utilized as natural pain reliever in alternative medicine.

Impacts in injuries

Tonka bean necessary oil is not just efficient in pain relief but also used to recover contusions in sports, open injuries and deep cuts injury quicker naturally. It’s likewise a natural solution for cleaning wounds and avoiding minor infections in conventional medication. Tonka bean necessary oil likewise reduces inflammation of the skin.

If there’s a snake bite, the application of tonka bean drawn out natural oil can bring little relief to the victim and avoid infections before taking the individual for healthcare.

Blood pressure and stroke

Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter which is generally discovered in blood platelets and serum, and helps in constricting the capillary. Therefore, it avoids blood loss, increase vascular resistance, control body temperature as heat is retained.

Given that it can control blood pressure, it prevents damages to the brain’s capillary, specifically rupture and constricting of the brain capillary which can obstruct the supply of blood to the arteries causing your brain- a fast trigger of stroke.


It prevents deep vein thrombosis naturally or the threat of embolism can be reduced with regular use of tonka bean extracts.

Additionally, individuals experiencing persistent atrial fibrillation can be provided cumarin-containing medication. Thus, thrombi can be suppressed in the atrium of the heart and also decreases the risk of suffering a stroke.


Tonka bean is likewise aphrodisiac as the oil extracted from it can be used in cream and the smell can all of a sudden excite your lover and turn him or her on. The fragrance it produced in fragrances can make your better half or husband gets into the mood naturally without drugs and even love.

Pest and insect repellant

Coumarine present in tonka bean is understood to be repellant to bugs, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and other bugs. Because of the high coumarine worth in tonka bean, it can be extracted locally to produce homemade bug spray for homes and for pets similar to tea tree oil, peppermint, lavender oil and other natural bug’s repellants. Tonka bean necessary oil is not simply a repulsive to bugs but also healthy on the skin when used.

It can be used to secure infants from mosquito bites and prevent ecto parasites on family pets like pets, felines, horses and other domesticated mammals.

Cleansing the body

Tonka bean can likewise assist you in eliminating germs from your body naturally and clean the system from germs.

When the scent of the tonka bean oil in inhaled, it sets off the body to increase secretions and expel bacteria out of the body through mucous in the nose. This will likewise assist in eliminating mucous from the lung passage, detox and clear it from mucous and cough, and also alleviating you from asthma.

Tonka bean important oil is much efficient when treating nausea, cough, convulsions, tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, asthma and earache. But it must just be used as advised by doctor and you must inform your doctor before any application of this medicine.

Results on the brain

Tonka bean has peaceful result on the brain. The herbs can help improving your mood, making you feel relaxed and delighted when you’re worried. Also, it assists curing extreme sleep (insomnia) and positively impacts the gastrointestinal tract.


Tonka bean can be drawn out, and a little mix of it with nutmeg can be contributed to a cigarette smoking mix to clean the lungs for smokers.

Little bit of tonka bean is rubbed off with the nutmeg grater and added to a cigarette smoking mixture. The vanilla fragrance and almond fragrance along with a spicy note are especially reliable.

Skin health

Tonka bean is not only used in preventing excessive heat loss from the skin or lowering inflammation and sensation of pain in the skin, it is also antibacterial and used in bath soap to eliminate bacteria from the external body.

Healthy hair

It can also be applied on the hair to get rid of scalp inflections and inflammations. It likewise utilized in cosmetics market to produce hair shampoo and hair oil to safeguard the scalp and avoid loss of hair as a result of infections.

Scented candle lights

Tonka bean is also drawn out and used in making scented candle lights because of the excellent smell that can make your room actually interesting visitors and enjoyed ones. As the candle melts, the scent spreads throughout the whole space, producing a relaxing, and romantic environment.

Conventional usages and benefits of tonka beans

  • The seeds can also be used in the treatment of stomach pain, cough, and dysentery.
  • Preparation, integrated with the crushed whole plant of tonina fluviatilis, is used to prepare a baby fortifier.
  • They are thought about to be anti-asthmatic, antispasmodic, cardio tonic and emmenagogue.
  • Preparation of the seed and sugar is utilized as a cold treatment.
  • Oil from the seeds is used to reduce stomach aches, to treat sores in the mouth, to strengthen the scalp and enhance hair growth.
  • It is said to be reliable in controlling dysentery.
  • Cold water infusion of the leaves is used as an ear wash to treat earache.
  • Leaves are squashed to make a snuff powder.
  • The seed consists of coumarin, which is utilized in fragrance and for flavoring tobacco and whisky.
  • Extracts of the plant have been used in standard medication as a tonic and to treat cramps and nausea.
  • Seed extracts have actually been administered rectally for schistosomiasis in china.
  • Fluid extract has been used with benefit in whooping cough, but it paralyses the heart if utilized in big doses.
  • Squashed tonka beans infused in a tea or any natural brew can help in treating a variety of health issue, including disorientation, depression, suicidal behavior and confusion.
  • It might likewise be used to liven up the immune system.
  • Preparation prepared from the cumaru tree bark is used for treating fevers.
  • Seeds are sometimes distilled in rum and used topically for treating cuts, contusions, rheumatism and snake bites.
  • It is also used internally for dealing with coughs.
  • Fermented seeds are periodically used in the form of a hair shampoo and likewise dropped inside the ears to treat earaches in addition to infections.
  • The bark of this tree is used to make a decoction and bathe people suffering from fever.
  • Brazilians make a cough tablet by balling up the crushed seed.
  • The plant is used in folk remedies for cacoethes, cancers, indurations, and growths, particularly of the diaphragm, abdominal area, liver, spleen, stomach, and uterus.
  • Tonka beans were as soon as widely used in medicine as a treatment for cramps, nausea, cough, spasms, and tuberculosis.
  • Crushed tonka beans instilled in tea cure variety of illness consisting of depression and self-destructive behavior.

Culinary utilizes

  • Coumarin-like flavoring can be extracted from the seed through a process of fermentation.
  • It has been utilized commercially as a vanilla alternative in flavoring a wide range of foods including baked items, ice cream, cocoa etc.
  • . The pulp inside the seedpod is consumed raw.
  • Seed can be consumed after boiling to get rid of toxins. (5 )

Further more

Tonka beans in gastronomy

British chefs utilize tonka beans in mixed drink syrups and grate their shavings over pastries, while french cooking masters create tonka bean– instilled ice creams and custards. The french are so consumed with the taste of this bean that they even have a name for it: fièvre tonka, or “tonka fever.”.

Tonka bean utilized in perfumery

Everything began in 1793 when the cumaru fruit was first presented to the french individuals. This sensuous, vanilla-esque fragrance is used in perfume because it both enhances the lifetime of the scent as well as enhances its diverse notes. It is also widely utilized as a substitute for musk. Tonka beans are important to the chemical composition of guerlain’s iconic fragrance, shalimar.

Tonka bean and shalimar perfume

While the structure of oriental perfumery depends on the pleasing, gently beguiling vanilla scent of the tonka bean, its influence is not exclusive to this element. In fact, the warm effect of coumarin can be discerned almost everywhere fragrance is created. The appeal of these beans, particularly in masculine and asian fragrances, lies in their complex, abundant aroma and their considerable adhesive properties.

The universal appeal of this delicious bean can be seen (and inhaled) almost all over in today’s vast market. They are key components in various consumer sectors worrying gastronomic fragrances and personal care products, that include: hair shampoos, lotions, soaps, candle lights, cosmetics, bubble bath and incense. The tonka bean is a formidable fragrance component that is both versatile and classic.

Tonka beans work best in spicy and sweet aromas including notes that are similar. These include: clove, vanilla, heliotrope, bitter almonds and cinnamon. They also mix well with notes of patchouli, sandalwood, increased, lemon peel and lavender.

Interesting realities about the tonka bean

The tonka bean is rumored to have magical residential or commercial properties.

In some cultures, the tonka bean is considered an aphrodisiac, and is utilized as a “love-wishing bean.” It is also thought to have the power to summon both courage and cash. Some pagan cultures believed that crushed tonka beans in organic tea improve the immune system, assistance to relieve anxiety, confusion and negativity.

Tonka beans are a significant source of coumarin

According to the bbc, this controversial component is said to be the “most scrumptious active ingredient you never ever heard of.” Coumarin can be discovered in cinnamon (cassia), tobacco, e-cigarettes, cosmetics, deodorants, hand soap, shower gels, and cleaning agents.

The united states is the largest importer of tonka beans

Although lawfully banned in the united states given that 1954, it is perfectly legal to add coumarin to tobacco and cosmetics. The united states import these beans practically exclusively for the tobacco market.

The tonka bean has a potent scent profile

Simply a spray of shavings from this bean suffices to develop an abundant and memorable fragrance. When utilized in cuisine, some chefs claim that a single tonka bean can flavor as numerous as 80 dishes.

Tonka beans must not be consumed in large amounts

These beans can be extremely poisonous and even deadly. However, it is estimated that a minimum of 30 entire tonka beans would need to be consumed in order to technique hazardous levels, which is about the same volume at which nutmeg and other daily spices are thought about possibly hazardous.

Tonka beans have medical and aroma-therapeutic qualities

They are understood to promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, relieve tension and anxiety and boost the body immune system. Tonka beans were when widely used in medicine as a treatment for cramps, nausea, cough, convulsions, and tuberculosis.

Venezuela, brazil and columbia are the significant manufacturers of tonka beans

Harvesting these beans has produced earnings for countless south american rural neighborhoods located within diverse forest communities. They work as a buffer when other tasks are scarce.

The tonka bean gets its name from the galibi language

Spoken in an area of french guyana, the word, tonka, derives from the galibi (carib) tongue, which is spoken in french guiana. The galibi word, tonquaor tonquin equates to bean. In another language of the very same area, tonka is also the name for the tree on which the seeds grow.

The tropical tree was originally cultivated for its beautiful purple flowers

Each cumaru tree includes only one tonka bean. Its bark is also called brazilian teak. It is an increasingly popular hardwood utilized for floor covering in the united states. It has an extremely enticing natural color variation and is considered rather resilient.

90% of modern fragrances consist of coumarin

This truth can be easily determined by examining the list of components found on fragrance product packaging. Experts surmise that every other perfume on the planet has more than 1% of coumarin. (6 ).

Adverse effects

Tonka bean is hazardous. It can cause side effects such as queasiness, vomiting, diarrhea, lightheadedness, insomnia, and liver problems.

The us fda (fda) thinks about any food including tonka bean or tonka bean extract to be impure.

There isn’t sufficient info to know whether it is safe to use tonka bean directly to the skin. (7 ).

Why are Tonka beans prohibited in the United States?

The answer is basic, a minimum of to the food and drug administration: tonka beans are damaging to your health. According to the fda, tonka beans contain a chemical called coumarin. When consumed in excess, coumarin can cause serious liver problems. As a result, back in the 1950s, the fda banned any component including the chemical from consumption in the u.s. With that, chefs were forced to get rid of the tonka bean from their dishes.

However, the atlantic recommends that the fda’s ban on coumarin could be outdated, considered that it would take eating about 30 whole beans for those coumarin levels to end up being seriously unsafe. Since one bean offers enough taste for 80 meals, it’s extremely not likely that anybody casually consuming tonka beans would encounter any medical concern. Still, the fda has stayed rigorous on its ban, so much so that the administration even robbed alinea, a chicago dining establishment, in 2006 after reports struck that tonka beans were used in its menu. (8 ).

Tonka bean ice cream


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 tonka bean, plus additional for serving
  • 6 big egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Location the milk and sea salt in a medium-sized pot. Grate the tonka bean using a fine grater (a microplane works the best for this) into the pot. Heat the milk over medium-high heat until it is steaming however not boiling. Let the milk mean 15 minutes to instill.
  2. 1 cup entire milk,1 pinch sea salt,1 tonka bean
  3. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Add a little of the warm milk to the egg yolks and stir it well to temper the eggs. (if you pour the eggs directly into the hot liquid you will end up with scrambled eggs. Tempering them with a little of the hot milk helps avoid this.)
  4. 6 large egg yolks, 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. Slowly include the tempered eggs to the warm milk while stirring constantly. Location the pot on medium-low heat and stir it continuously until it thickens. Get rid of the pot from the heat and stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  6. 2 cups whipping cream,1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  7. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh screen into a medium-sized bowl. (this is to go out any little bits of eggs that may have rushed on the bottom of your pot.)
  8. Place the bowl in your fridge and offer it a stir every 10 minutes or so until it is no longer hot, about a half hour. As soon as the custard has actually cooled cover the bowl tightly with cling wrap and leave it in your fridge till it is entirely cold, ideally overnight.
  9. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the producer’s guidelines.
  10. Grate a little additional tonka bean over top of the ice cream when you serve it.


Keep in mind: recipe time does not include the time it takes to chill or freeze the ice cream. (9 ).

Preventative measure

Being an outright oil it’s important that tonka bean is not consumed in any way. You should likewise test for skin sensitivity prior to utilizing topically. Test on a little location of skin and wait a day or so to inspect if you have any allergies, and constantly water down with a carrier oil.

Constantly keep out the reach of kids. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not utilize this oil, neither needs to anyone being dealt with for a severe health condition without medical clearance. (10 ).


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