The Bitter almond tree is native to Western Asia and North Africa and is
widely cultivated in Spain, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. Separating
the kernels from their shells and then crushing them in a press produces a
fixed oil. Bitter almond oil is not present in the nuts in their natural
Description of Bitter almond :
A tree reaching up to 7-meter (22 ft) high. It has pinky white blossom and
is popular as a garden tree
Thin and strongly refractive liquid
Sweet nutty aroma reminiscent of almond kernels,
: Bitter almond oil has various
chemical compounds that include benzaldehyde and hydrocyanic (prussic acid).
Bitter almond essential oil is obtained by steam
distillation of the kernels.
Bitter almond oil contains an enzyme amygdalin, yielding glucose, cyanide
and the essential oil which is used medicinally as it contains 6 to 8% of
prussic acid. The nut of the tree has also been used as a preventative for
It is warming, lubricant, expectorant, controls cough and laxative. The
kernel is considered anti-tussive, expectorant, sedative, anthelmintic,
antispasmodic, demulcent, pectoral and vulnerary and are used for common
cold, coughs, bronchial asthma, rheumatism, tumors and constipation in the
Flowers of bitter almond are considered tonic and used to promote
Seeds have been used as a pain killer. A beverage (hsieng-jen t'ang) is
made by crushing the seeds in boiling water and has been used for asthma,
catarrh, cough and also injected into acupuncture loci for aquapuncture
therapy for chronic bronchitis. It is also used internally for dry coughs,
bronchitis, asthma, emphysema and dry constipation.
The dried ripe kernal has been used medicinally in Chinese medicine. It is
considered tonic and purgative. It is used to control spasms and to expel
phlegm from respiratory passages.
Almond oil is used in cosmetics for its softening action on the skin. It is
also used in the manufacture of soaps, cold creams and products of the
perfumery trade. Bitter almond is not considered for food additives for the
presence of prussic acid as it may be poisonous.