What are the Uses of Almond Oil?
The genesis of almond oil uses can be traced all the way to Greek mythology, Shakespeare and into modern times. Almond oil is extracted from the seeds of almond. It is extracted from sweet almonds (Prunus amygdalus) as well as bitter almonds (Prunus amygdalus amara). The almond plant has two forms. One form produces white flowers, which produce sweet almonds, while the other features pink flowers and produces bitter almonds. Sweet almond oil is used for massaging purposes, aromatherapy, culinary purposes, etc. On the other hand, bitter almond oil is used as an effective febrifuge, diuretic, sedative, etc. The all-purpose almond oil is easily accessible in retail stores that are specialized in cosmetics. Since sweet almond oil and bitter almond oil have different uses, let us have a look at them individually.
Carrier Oil for Aromatherapy
In aromatherapy, various essential oils are used to achieve different effects. However, application of many essential oils causes irritation to the skin if applied directly. This is why carrier oils are needed. Carrier oils, such as almond oil mask the irritating effect of the essential oils on the skin.
Sweet almond oil is suitable for any skin type and can be used in massage therapy. The oil gets easily absorbed, thus serves as a wonderful emollient. It lends a soft, glowing feel to the skin and also balances the level of moisture. This oil rekindles the skin and brings back the lost glow, thereby improving complexion and giving a younger look to the person. Moreover, since sweet almond oil is rich in oleic and linoleic essential fatty acids, massaging with this oil helps relieve muscle pain.
Sweet almond oil is edible oil and is high in omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, which is why it is a healthy oil to consume. It can be used as a salad dressing. Just combine 3 tablespoons of almond oil with vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard (1 tablespoon each) and some salt and pepper to taste. Sweet almond oil also forms a great substitute for olive oil. Make sure you don't consume unprocessed almond oil, since several harmful bacteria, etc. can be present.
Almond oil is known to impart a glow to the face. For this, just rub some almond oil onto the face and massage in circular motion. After a few minutes, give your face some steam from a facial steamer. Your face will become soft and have a glow. Almond oil also has anti-aging properties, which is why it is good to prevent wrinkles. Moreover, a combination of jojoba oil and almond oil is known to be effective in treating weak and brittle hair. Almond oil also helps reduce dandruff problem.
Since almond oil is high in unsaturated fat, it brings down the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. When applied on the skin, it heals eczema and skin rashes. Moreover, people with joint pain should get an almond oil massage, as it helps relieves the pain. Instead of getting a massage you can also soak your legs in a bucket of warm water and add three to four drops of almond oil to it. The oil will provide natural pain relief.
Bitter Almond Oil Uses
This pale yellowish-colored oil is bitter to taste as its name suggests. Around 50% of this oil obtained from bitter almond is known to contain 3 basic components: Benzaldehyde, Hydrogen Cyanide and Glycoside. The remaining 50% contains monounsaturated fatty acids and other components similar to that in sweet almonds. Bitter almonds need to be handled with utmost care, as they contain some deadly poisons. This is why most of its uses are confined to external applications. Internal applications when required are done in extremely low doses. Slight overdose can prove fatal.
Bitter elements such as quinine, bitter almond oil, etc. contain alkaline compounds that are more or less toxic in nature. This bitterness and toxicity inhibits the growth of bacteria, viruses and protozoans, thereby proving beneficial in controlling growth of infections. These properties of bitter almond oil have caused it to be used as a febrifuge in very small doses to treat frequent fevers. However, its use as a febrifuge has various toxic effects on the body.
Sedative & Anesthetic
Bitter almond oil can be used to induce numbness. The glycoside, amygdalin present in it causes the nerves to become insensitive to any kind of sensation. However, this oil should be applied externally for local anesthetic purposes only. Ingestion for total anesthetic reasons should never be attempted.
The human body has a natural tendency to remove toxic substances from the body, via sweat, excreta and urine. Bitter almond oil when ingested in minuscule amounts causes the body to frequently urinate and throw it out. This frequent urination relaxes the body and helps weight loss. However, please do not try this at home. If you may take more than the minimum amount, you will land up in eternity.
These were some of the various existent almond oil uses. Sweet almond oil used only for consumption should be purchased strictly from a health food store or supermarket. For topical use, one can settle with the almond oil available at the local pharmacy.