Bitter almond is also known as Prunus dulcis var amara. It falls under the family of Rosaceae.
Bitter almond is also called as P. amygdalus var. amara, A.dulcis, Amygdalus communis var. amara, and P.communis.
Generally bitter almond tree grows up to a height of 7 meters. The tree is well known as a garden tree based on its pinky white blossom. It is classified as drup.
Bitter almond is distributed natively in North Africa to Western Asia. It is cultivated extensively in California and Mediterranean region.
There are two forms of almond tree the bitter almond tree and sweet almond tree. Only bitter almond tree able to produce essential oil.
Traditionally, sweet almond oil or fixed oil is made by pressing the kernels from both the bitter and sweet almond trees. Unlike the essential oil the fixed oil not containing any Prussic acid or benzaldehyde. It also has many medical and cosmetic uses. The fixed oil is useful as a treatment for cough, bronchitis, as a laxatives or heartburn or bladder, kidneys or biliary duct disorders. The fixed oil able to relieve muscular aches and muscular pain, promotes a clear complexion and softens th e skins. It will act as antispasmodic, anaesthetics, narcotic and vermifuge ( to destroy or expel parasitic worms).
The bitter almond essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the kernels. The nuts are pressed and macerated for 12 – 24 hours in the warm water before the oil is extracted. During this process, the prussic acid is formed which is not present in the raw seed. The commercial bitter almond oil is usually free from prussic acid.
The bitter almond essential oils if light colourless liquid with a marzipan scent.
The bitter almond essential oil consists mostly of benzaldehyde and prussic acid.
The prussic acid which is also known as hydrocyanic acid or cyanide is a poison. While benzaldehyde is moderately toxic.
Bitter almond oil is no longer used for internal medication. The rectified version of the almond oil is useful also for foods flavouring in confectionery. It is commonly used as ‘almond essence’ or marzipan.
3/14/2023 07:14:36 pm
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