The healing power of sweet almond

The sweet almond is the regular almond that we often eat; unlike the bitter almond, which you should not eat, or at most only a few, because it contains cyanide, a toxin. The almond tree is a deciduous tree that grows to around 10 meters in height. The tree is native to the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and eastern India. The tree has been spread by humans to large parts of Southern Europe, North Africa and the United States. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing of almond tree / Source: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons (PD)

Contents:

  • Do not eat bitter almonds
  • Almonds as food
  • Nutritional value of almonds
  • Vitamins almonds
  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • Tonsils in cardiovascular disease
  • Combine almonds with fruit
  • Almond milk to strengthen
  • External use almond oil
  • Safety
  • Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Do not eat bitter almonds

Sometimes almonds are bitter. In general, the nuts of a wild almond tree taste bitter. You should not eat these because bitter almonds contain too much cyanide. This substance was used in ancient times to heal people, but the danger is too great of ingesting too much cyanide. A little too much cyanide leads to dizziness, but large quantities of bitter almonds can lead to death due to their cyanide content.

Almonds as food

Almonds are traditionally used in marzipan confectionery. Food is also made from peeled almonds. You can also use almonds in homemade muesli, almond cookies and as a snack. They are often included in a nut mix.

Ripe almonds / Source: Sarah Gold, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-2.5)

There are also almond spreads, a kind of peanut butter but with almonds instead of peanuts. You can also sprout almonds and then eat them. It is more known that an oil is made from almonds. Almond oil is a great oil for salads and you can even use it as a skin care product.

Almond oil is an excellent carrier oil for essential oils.

Nutritional value of almonds

Sweet almonds are the richest source of protein among all nuts. There is a fairly complete spectrum of proteins in the sweet almond. Furthermore, it contains many different minerals. One ounce of almonds contains 109% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for manganese. That’s a fantastic percentage. The RDA value for magnesium is 75%, phosphorus 69%, zinc 32%, iron 29%, calcium 26% and potassium 15%. These are very nice and high percentages. This makes almonds one of the healthiest foods.

Vitamins almonds

In addition to proteins and minerals, the almond contains a significant amount of vitamins. 100 grams of almonds contain 175% of the RDA for vitamin E. That is an astonishingly high number. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant. The almond should therefore be given a permanent place in the diet. Riboflavin or vitamin B2 contains 85% of the RDA. Other RDA percentages of sweet almonds are: niacin or B3: 23%, thiamin or B1: 18%, folic acid or B11: 13%, B6: 11% and pantothenic acid or B5: 9%.

Naming

In Latin, sweet almond is called Prunus dulcis . A synonym in Latin is Prunus amygdalus . Amygdalys is the Greek name for almond. The Latin name comes from amygdalus. Amande is the French name, Mandel the German name and Almond the English name. The fact that ‘almond’ is said in some languages is probably due to the fact that the original word for almond comes from Arabic. Al is an article in Arabic; probably because of this misconception ‘already’ was added to the word.

Active substances

The nut and its oil are used for phytotherapeutic purposes. The almond nut contains the following active substances: 43% to 57% fatty oil, of which 60% to 80% is the monounsaturated fatty acid omega 9. It contains 17% to 30% of the polyunsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid. In addition, the saturated fatty acid contains palmitic acid. Furthermore, almonds contain sugars, proteins, fibers, traces of amygdalin, phytosterols, avenasterol, brassicasterol and of course the minerals and vitamins described above.

Tonsils in cardiovascular disease

Because there are so many unsaturated fatty acids in almonds, in combination with the fact that they contain a lot of vitamin E – a very suitable nutrient for people with cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin E ensures that antioxidants adhere less quickly to the walls of the blood vessels. This puts a stop to the cause of cardiovascular disease – arteriosclerosis.

Combine almonds with fruit

Almonds contain a lot of minerals. There is also the fact that almonds contain phytic acid and oxalic acid. These bind minerals so that they are not easily released into the human digestive system. It is therefore recommended to eat almonds in conjunction with eating fruit that contains a lot of vitamin C. This way, phytic acid breaks down and the minerals from almonds can be absorbed more effectively.

Almond milk to strengthen

Almonds are mashed into a puree and then mixed with water to make almond milk. In terms of composition, this almond milk is more similar to breast milk than cow’s milk. It is an incredibly rich source of minerals, vitamins, proteins and healthy fats. In phytotherapy it is even seen as a medicinal drink that is prescribed for the following situations:

  • Growing children,
  • Weakened persons,
  • Recovery after a long hospital visit.

External use almond oil

When used internally, sweet almond oil has the same medicinal properties for the heart, blood vessels and general strengthening as the almond itself. In addition, almond oil can be applied externally. It nourishes dry and flaky skin. It even has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, our largest organ. It can serve as a base oil for various herbal remedies and also as a carrier oil for an essential oil, which are almost always too concentrated to apply neat to the skin. Skin diseases in which almond oil can be used are:

Prunus dulcis / Source: Nicolás Pérez, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Eczema,
  • Psoriasis,
  • Dermatitis,
  • Flaky skin conditions,
  • Diaper dermatitis,
  • sunscreen,
  • Stretch marks or stretch marks.

Safety

Almond oil is completely safe. However, you should not eat bitter almonds because they contain a lot of cyanide or hydrocyanic acid. You can eat a few; 5 to 10 pieces is no problem. But excessive eating of bitter almonds can lead to poisoning and there have even been rare cases where a person who ate a large amount of bitter almonds did not survive.

Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Much of the information about the medicinal plant mentioned in this article comes from the book Groot Handboek Medicinal Plants by Geert Verhelst. That is a handbook in phytotherapy. However, it is not suitable for self-healing. Anyone who suffers from something should consult a doctor or herbal therapist for a good diagnosis and choice of the best remedies, tailored to your personal situation. The knowledge and science mentioned here is of a purely informative nature.