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Known interactions

No interactions found.

Introduction into Mandel

Scientific Name: Almond

Other Names: Almond Oil, Badam, Mandel, Prunus amygdalus dulcis, Sweet Almond

Who is this for?

Almonds have long been used as food by humans, animals, and birds. They contain protein and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Due to their relatively high fat content, however, most nuts, including almonds, are also relatively high in calories. In general, nuts have not been recommended for general consumption as a regular part of the diet, However, several human and animal studies that were conducted in the last few years have found that replacing animal fat in the diet with either almonds or almond oil produced reductions in total cholesterol levels, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides. In addition, levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the “good” cholesterol remained relatively constant. In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed packages of almonds and other nuts to begin carrying a modified health claim – “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Sweet almond oil is used topically to moisturize dry skin, soothe chapped lips, and relieve itching due to dryness. Because sweet almond oil is not greasy, it is absorbed quickly. An especially mild oil, it generally does not irritate skin and it does not appear to cause sensitization that may lead to allergic reactions.

Occasionally, sweet almond oil is taken by mouth for a mild laxative effect.

When should I be careful taking it?

Children under the age of 12 should not take sweet almond oil by mouth due to the slight possibility that they could breathe particles of the oil into their lungs.

Precautions

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should avoid taking sweet almond oil by mouth because not enough is known about how it might affect a developing fetus or an infant.

Individuals who have allergies to peanuts or other types of nuts may also be sensitive to almonds.

What side effects should I watch for?

No side effects have been reported from eating almonds in moderation.

Taking sweet almond oil by mouth may result in oily leakage from the digestive tract.

What interactions should I watch for?

No interactions have been reported between almonds or sweet almond oil and prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, herbal products, or foods. However, it is possible that taking any oil by mouth may interfere with the absorption of drugs or fat-soluble vitamins. To minimize possible interference, take sweet almond oil at bedtime, at least 2 hours after eating or taking medications.

Some interactions between herbal products and medications can be more severe than others. The best way for you to avoid harmful interactions is to tell your doctor and/or pharmacist what medications you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter products, vitamins, and herbals.

Should I take it?

Believed to have originated in the area around the Mediterranean Sea, almond trees grow wild in most dry, hot regions. They are cultivated in China, Greece, Italy, Spain, and most countries of the Middle East. The interior valleys of California, however, now supply approximately 75% of the commercially-produced almonds used in the world.

Almonds grow on relatively small trees that frequently are planted in orchards. A member of the rose family of plants, almond trees flower early in the year – producing pale pink blooms that look like wild roses. Leaves appear after the trees flower. Green or red fruits develop in early or mid-summer, depending on the region and the type of almond. Almond fruits resemble small apricots, but the soft part cannot be eaten. The fruit dries to a thin, tough skin that eventually breaks open to reveal the nuts, which are encased in spongy outer shells that surround thin, hard inner shells.

Almond oil is a fixed oil — meaning it does not evaporate and does not have a smell. It is obtained by pressing a combination of sweet almonds and bitter almonds without heat. To differentiate it from the volatile oil obtained from bitter almonds, fixed almond oil is nearly always called “sweet almond oil”. In addition to its oral and topical uses in herbal medicine, sweet almond oil is used in the pharmaceutical industry as a carrier for injectable drugs that deteriorate in a water-based carrier. Sweet almond oil is also used as massage oil and as an ingredient in cosmetics and soaps.

While almonds may be eaten alone, they are also widely used in bakery, candies, and cooking. Almonds may be blanched (the dark skins removed), ground, and substituted for wheat flour or mixed with water to form a substitute for milk, usually called “almond milk”. Ground almonds are used for soap in some parts of the Middle East. The spongy outer hulls of almonds may be ground and used to cattle or horse feed.

Dosage and Administration

In studies, the amount of almonds eaten by participants varied from about an ounce per day to about 3 ounces per day. It is important to remember that the almonds or almond oil were not added to the regular diet, but replaced some of the more fatty foods (ie, meats, dairy products) that would have been eaten instead. One and one-half ounces of almonds contains about 250 calories, and one tablespoon of almond oil has about 120 calories.

When applied to the skin, sweet almond oil may be used as many times a day as it is needed and no limits are placed on the amount to use at one time. Sweet almond oil may become rancid fairly quickly, however, so it should be purchased in small amounts.

By mouth, a typical dose of sweet almond oil for laxative purposes is up to 2 tablespoons once a day. It should be used only long enough to produce a soft stool. In general, laxatives should not be taken for longer than one week at a time.

Summary

Almonds may be eaten in place of fatty foods to help lower cholesterol levels.

In medicine, sweet almond oil is used mainly as a moisturizer for the skin. Small amounts may be taken by mouth as a laxative.

Risks

Children, pregnant women, and breast-feeding women should avoid taking sweet almond oil by mouth.

Side Effects

Oral sweet almond oil may result in an oily discharge from the rectum.

Interactions

Although sweet almond oil may interfere with the absorption of drugs or vitamins, neither almonds nor sweet almond oil has been associated with any interactions.

Last revised August 4, 2004

References

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Benedetti P, Mannhold R, Cruciani G, Ottaviani G. GRIND/ALMOND investigations on CysLT(1) receptor antagonists of the quinolinyl(bridged)aryl type. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. 2004;12(13):3607-3617.

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Dicenta F, Martinez-Gomez P, Grane N, Martin ML, Leon A, Canovas JA, Berenguer V. Relationship between cyanogenic compounds in kernels, leaves, and roots of sweet and bitter kernelled almonds. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2002;50(7):2149-2152.

Duke JA. Almond - Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb. January 8, 1998. Available at: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Prunus_dulcis.html. Accessed June 20, 2003.

Fraser GE, Bennett HW, Jaceldo KB, Sabate J. Effect on body weight of a free 76 Kilojoule (320 calorie) daily supplement of almonds for six months. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002;21(3):275-283.

Grieve M. Almonds. In: A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publishers, 1971. Available at: http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/mgmh.html Posted 1995. Accessed May 27, 2003.

Hyson DA, Schneeman BO, Davis PA. Almonds and almond oil have similar effects on plasma lipids and LDL oxidation in healthy men and women. Journal of Nutrition. 2002;132(4):703-707.

Jellin JM, Gregory P, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al, eds. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 3rd Edition. Stockton CA: Therapeutic Research Facility, 2000.

Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al. Dose response of almonds on coronary heart disease risk factors: blood lipids, oxidized low-density lipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, and pulmonary nitric oxide: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial. Circulation. 2002;106(11):1327-1332.

Lovejoy JC, Most MM, Lefevre M, Greenway FL, Rood JC. Effect of diets enriched in almonds on insulin action and serum lipids in adults with normal glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002;76(5):1000-1006.

Peirce A. The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide to Natural Medicines. New York: Stonesong Press; 1999. Rieger M. Almond - Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb. January 2002. Available at: http://www.uga.edu/fruit/almond.htm. Accessed June 20, 2003.

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Sabate J, Haddad E, Tanzman JS, Jambazian P, Rajaram S. Serum lipid response to the graduated enrichment of a Step I diet with almonds: a randomized feeding trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003;77(6):1379-1384.

Spiller GA, Jenkins DA, Bosello O, Gates JE, Cragen LN, Bruce B. Nuts and plasma lipids: an almond-based diet lowers LDL-C while preserving HDL-C. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1998;17(3):285-290.

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(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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