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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.




ALMOND, SWEET
(Prunus dulcis syn Prunus amygdalus)
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Also see: Bitter Almond


CAUTION: The brown covering of the almond nut should be removed before eaten by small children or old people or those with a weakened condition. This covering is difficult to digest unless thoroughly chewed, but can be removed by dipping the nuts briefly in boiling water (process is called blanching).

CONTAINS: Rich in potassium; also contains Vitamins E, B1, B2, niacin, iron and magnesium. Almond nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fats and provide a good non-dairy source of calcium (1 oz. nuts = about 10% of the RDA). It is also a source of protein and almond butter can be substituted for peanut butter in this regard and is usually tolerated well by diabetics.

A tree/shrub which is a member of the Rose family. The fruit is produced mainly on the previous year's growth. Grown in warm climates such as the Middle East and in the US in California.
Since it blossoms in early spring, it is considered to be a symbol of hope. In Greek legend it is associated with the Thracian princess Phyllis who was abandoned on her wedding day by the Greek prince Demophon. She died of a broken heart after waiting a number of years for his return. The gods, being sympathetic to her plight, transformed her into an almond tree.
In Christian medieval art, the almond is a symbol of divine approval as based on the Biblical passage Numbers 17:1-8 which relates the story of Aaron's rod and how it came to bloom and set forth fruit as an indication of God's approval of the tribe of Levi being to serve as the priests of Israel.
Astrologically it is ruled by the planet Jupiter.

PART USED: The nuts and oil from the nuts; also the leaves are used for dye.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Considered to be demulcent, emollient and useful in lung and chest complaints.
Used as a laxative.
Sweet almond oil is shown to reduce serum cholesterol levels.
Chinese have used the oil for thousands of years as a local anesthetic and muscle relaxer.
Cradle cap in babies may respond to a lower fat diet and the inclusion of almond milk in the diet. Also, breast feeding mothers should avoid eggs, and egg whites in particular, if baby has cradle cap.
A little almond cream mixed in fruit juice (use blender) is helpful when beginning to place baby on solid food for the extra nutrition it provides.
Almond milk helpful in cases of Coeliac disease as a source of protein.
In Ayurvedic medicine the sweet almond is used as a laxative.
In Chinese medicine it is combined with ephedra for conditions associated with kidney weakness.
Useful for kidney stones, gallstones, and constipation.
Used finely ground in water (to make a milky drink) for fever, chest coughs and for nutrition for invalids. It may also be useful in cases of bronchitis and asthma.
For heartburn, peel and eat 6 to 8 almonds.

COSMETIC:
Oil is emollient. Good for dry skin. Shelf life of the oil is about 10 months.
Almond meal (made by grinding the nuts into a powder) is useful in cleansing the skin, especially to remove oil and dirt. A handful of the meal makes a good facial scrub.
Almond oil and almond butter are used to moisturize and soften the skin. The oil is rubbed onto rough skin to soften it.
A facial mask is made by combining the powdered nuts with a liquid until a paste is formed. The mashed fruit is also useful when mixed with warm olive oil to form a spreadable paste for use as a dry skin moisturizer (also supplies Vit A).

DYE:
The leaves produce a yellow dye with an alum mordant.

VETERINARY:
**Skins should be removed when giving to animals**
Used as a nutrient and soothing skin remedy. Also as a mild laxative for newborn animals.
Used in the treatment of sores, lung ailments and coughs in animals.
For young sickly animals, grind the nuts to a powder and mix 1 tsp of the nuts in 1 Tbsp of tepid milk. This will dose a goat kid.
Externally a light smear of the oil may be applied to wounds and sores which do not heal. Also, sore eyelids, cracked noses and lips (as seen in distemper) and sore teats in milking animals.
Grated raw, blanched (skins removed) almonds are used to treat infertility in animals (especially the males); mix with cereal or raw eggs. For infertility in female animals try licorice.

OTHER:
Almonds were an important item of trade during the Middle Ages. Both the kernals and the oil are used commercially in the manufacture of medicines, massage oils, skincare preparations and cosmetics.

RECIPES

ALMOND MILK: Powder 1 oz. of almonds and combine with 1 quart of water in food processor or blender.




ALMOND, BITTER

See Apricot





©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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