Tonka, or Tonqua, Bean

Tonka, or Tonqua, Bean -

The dark, aromatic seed of the fruit of Coumarouna odorato, a South American tree. The essential principle, known as Coumarin, is a white substance found in small crystals under the coat and between the lobes. Because of a similarity in aroma, Tonka Beans, or the extracted Coumarin, are frequently employed in the manufacture of low grade or imitation vanilla extract. They are, though, heavier and coarser in flavor and their commercial value is less than a tenth of that of even minor grade vanilla beans. Their legitimate uses include the perfuming and flavoring of smoking and chewing tobacco. Placed in wardrobes and trunks, they impart a pleasing odor and preserve clothes from moths. Coumarin is also found in Woodruff, Sweet Clover and several other plants and is manufactured synthetically in considerable quantities.

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