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Almond oil also known as Oleum Amygdalae extracted from almond fruit is a plant oil which is variously used for medicinal purposes, cosmetics, and aromatherapy.

There are two types of almond oil depending on the type of almond seeds used for extraction. Bitter almond extracts give a bitter almond oil which is usually classified as an essential oil. It is mainly used in skin care products for its fragrance and medicinal benefits. However, the bitter almond oil contains some toxins and hence its consumption is not advisable. Sweet Almond Oil is the more popular form and is normally referred to as almond oil. It is derived from sweet almonds which are cultivated, unlike bitter almond trees which grow in the wild. Sweet almond oil or almond oil can be used for both internal consumption and external application. Also, it has several applications in traditional medicine and cosmetics industry.

Various methods are used for extraction of almond oil from dried almonds. The solvent processing method uses chemicals and exposes the seeds to high temperature which results in the loss of some of the nutrients of the raw almond oil. However, this oil is more heat resistant and cost-effective. On the other hand, the traditional cold pressing process involves extraction of oil at low temperature, thus, making it a healthier option.

While many options of commercially prepared almond oil are available, it can also be prepared at home by using a blender. Usage of dry almonds is essential for this process. After blending them properly, they should be kept aside for a couple of weeks for the oil to separate out. The oil can then be used for skin and hair care. It also has many other health benefits. Before discussing those in details, let us have a look at some basic facts of almond, a drupe, which is the source of the almond oil.

Some basic facts about almonds:

  • Botanical Name: Prunus dulcis
  • Family Name: Rosaceae
  • Common  Name: Almonds, Badam.
  • Native Region and Geographical Distribution: Almond trees are said to grow best in regions with warm climates, that is places with dry summers and wet winters. The tree is native to Middle East countries, India and Pakistan. However, the largest producer of almonds in the world is the United States. California is especially known for its almond oil production followed by Spain and Iran. In India, almonds are mostly produced in Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir, and the Himalayan regions.
  1. Almond oil nutrition facts
  2. Almond oil health benefits
  3. Almond oil side effects
  4. Takeaway

Almond oil is one of the richest sources of Vitamin E. It is also rich in unsaturated fatty acids and phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant equivalents of cholesterol which act against bad cholesterol and help maintain lipid levels in the body The phytosterols are therefore considered good for heart health.

According to the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 ml of almond oil contains the following nutrient values:

Nutrient Value per 100 ml
Energy 884 kcal
Fat 100 g
Vitamin  
Vitamin E 39.2 mg
Fats/ Fatty acids  
Saturated 8.2 g
Monounsaturated 69.9 g
Polyunsaturated 17.4 g

Traditionally, almond oil is known to be highly beneficial to the body. It is extensively used in ancient Chinese medicine, Ayurveda. However, almond oil is best known for maintaining the health of skin and hair. Let us look at the health benefits of almond oil in detail.

  1. Almond oil for cholesterol
  2. Almond oil for liver
  3. Almond oil for blood sugar
  4. Almond oil for cancer
  5. Almond oil benefits for skin
  6. Almond oil for hair
  7. Almond oil for stretch marks
  8. Almond oil for ears
  9. Almond oil boosts immunity
  10. Almond oil for rectal prolapse
  11. Almond oil for piles
  12. Almond oil for oral health

Almond oil for cholesterol

Increase in level of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) can cause several health complications. It is specifically detrimental to heart health. Hence, it is essential to maintain low levels of LDL and high levels of HDL (good cholesterol) for maintaining optimal health. 

A clinical study was conducted to study the effect of a diet consisting of almond and almond oil on cholesterol levels. The researchers observed that while the consumption of almond and almond oil did not affect the levels of HDL or good cholesterol in the body, it worked very rapidly against LDL and thus resulted in a quick reduction of the harmful LDL cholesterol.

In a further study, almond oil consumption, for a period of 6 weeks was found to reduce LDL levels along with increasing HDL levels. 

Though more studies are still needed to confirm the effect of almond oil on good cholesterol, it can definitely do wonders when it comes to reducing bad cholesterol in our bodies.

(Read more: High cholesterol treatment)

Almond oil for liver

In vivo studies suggest the hepatoprotective properties of almond oil. It was further observed to be useful in reducing the negative effects of oxidative stress on the liver, thereby improving its function. However, human studies are still needed to confirm the benefits of almond oil consumption on liver.

(Read more: Foods to improve liver health)

Almond oil for blood sugar

Hyperglycemia refers to the presence of excess glucose (sugar) in the blood. When left untreated, it poses a threat to the normal functioning of the body, especially your cardiovascular system. Hence, it is essential to maintain blood glucose levels.

Studies indicate that almond oil is an effective hypoglycemic (reduces blood sugar) agent. In a comparative research, the advantages of consuming almonds, almond butter, almond oil on blood glucose levels were monitored. Amongst all, almond oil was found to be most effective in controlling glucose levels throughout the day. It also reduced postprandial ​(after a meal) spike in blood sugar levels, which one of the major concerns in diabetic and prediabetic people.

(Read more: Diabetes treatment)

Almond oil for cancer

Several research studies have been conducted to prove the anti-cancer abilities of almonds. Almond Oil contains antioxidant properties that are said to be crucial in the treatment and prevention of cancer. These antioxidants are known to help in stopping the production of free radicals that result in the growth of cancer cells. 

Animal-based studies indicate that an active fraction present in almond oil has preventive effects on colorectal cancer.

Further, almond oil is a rich source of Vitamin E, which also protects against cell damage caused by free radicals. Along with preventing inflammation and improving skin barrier function, it has been found to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

(Read more: Cancer types)

Almond oil benefits for skin

Almond Oil is said to have many skin benefiting properties which justify its extensive usage in beauty products. The moisturizing properties of almond oil help combat dry and sensitive skin. Almond oil also softens the skin and helps in improving skin tone and complexion. In Ayurveda, almond oil is used for the treatment of psoriasis and eczema.

Animal studies suggest that almond oil is effective in protecting the skin against UV radiation and also curbs the photoaging process.

As a good source of Vitamin E, almond oil can help fight the early sign of ageing. So, mix a few drops of almond oil in your face pack or in your massage oil and say goodbye to skin ageing problems.

Almond oil for hair

Just like its skin benefits, almond oil can do wonders for your hair and scalp. Here are some benefits that regular almond oil usage can provide for your hair.

  • Traditionally, almond oil is believed to promote hair growth, reduce dandruff and maintain scalp health. 
  • The moisturising properties of almonds can be beneficial in the treatment of dry scalp.
  • Also, it is a rich source of Vitamin E which has been found to be effective in reducing hair loss. 
  • The antioxidant properties of Vitamin E could be effective in reducing premature hair greying.

Almond oil for stretch marks

Women normally struggle with scars and stretch marks during and after pregnancy. Though these do not have any major side effects, they can cause irritation of skin and discomfort. A study conducted on the skin related properties of almond oil showed that it had the ability to heal abdominal stretch marks in women. As per this study, regular application of almond oil resulted in the fading of stretch marks and it also helped prevent itching and redness. 

Almond oil for ears

Earwax is a type of oil produced in the ear canal, which is helpful in preventing the entry of small particles and insects into the ear. However, the presence of excessive earwax can lead to pain in ears or create a feeling of ear blockage. If ignored, it can also cause partial deafness. While usage of earbuds is one way of getting rid of excessive wax, ear wax softeners can also be used. They soften the wax which then becomes easier to remove.

The British National Formulary recommends almond oil as an ear wax softener to get rid of excessive ear wax.

According to this study, 3 drops of almond oil, when used 4 times a day for a period of one week can soften the earwax significantly. However, it is advisable that you refer to a doctor before putting anything in your ear.

Almond oil boosts immunity

Including almond oil in diet can help boost immunity, keeping the individual healthy. In a study which monitored effects of Vitamin E on human health, it was observed that vitamin E deficiency negatively affected the immunity parameters while the supplementation of the same boosted immunity.  Thus, it could be suggested that Vitamin E is one of the most important nutrients for maintaining immunity. Almond Oil is s rich source of Vitamin E. Hence consumption of almond oil can boost immunity.

Instead of consuming almond oil you can rather opt for an almond oil massage, which would provide you with the same benefit. Preliminary studies demonstrate that aromatherapy massage with sweet almond oil is effective in increasing the number of lymphocytes (WBCs) in the body along with reducing stress. 

(Read more: Immunity boosting food)

Almond oil for rectal prolapse

The condition of shifting of a part of or the entire rectum wall is called as rectal prolapse. The shifted rectum then appears as a protrusion near the anus. Also, it may be associated with itching and leakage of blood or faeces from the anus. The most common causes of rectal prolapse include diarrhoea, excessive pressure in abdomen, malnutrition or weakness in the pelvic area.

Children in the age group between 1 year to 4 years are easily affected by rectal prolapse. In a clinical study, children suffering from rectal prolapse and belonging to different age groups were injected with a solution of phenol in almond oil. The injection cured all the affected children without any side effects. The study recommended the use of phenol in almond oil injection as the first treatment for rectal prolapse in children; however, it is suggested that you talk to your doctor to know more about its safety profile and usage.

Almond oil for piles

Haemorrhoids are a type of tissue that is present in the anal canal. Any inflammation in hemorrhoidal tissue is known as piles. Usually caused by problems like chronic constipation and diarrhoea, it is associated with symptoms like bleeding, itching, and pain after passing stools.

Phenol almond oil is currently being used for the treatment of piles. Almond oil is known as a sclerosant, which means that it helps in shrinking and dissolution of affected tissue.

According to a clinical study, 5% phenol almond oil is as effective as dextrose water in the treatment of 1st, 2nd and 3rd-degree haemorrhoids.

Almond oil for oral health

Dental plaque is characterized by the formation of a sticky and colourless bacterial film on the tooth surface. It can lead to many oral problems including tooth decay. In a clinical analysis involving 80 people, regular use of almond oil toothpaste was found to be effective in reducing dental plaque.

It was further suggested that almond oil inhibited the growth of S. mutans which is the causative agent of dental caries. No side effects were observed in any of the volunteers.

Oil pulling is yet another way that almond oil can help you maintain oral hygiene. According to a study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, oil pulling with almond oil is effective in reducing the risk of gingivitis.

Almond oil or sweet almond oil offers a range of health benefits but it has the following side effects:

  • Almond oil during pregnancy   
    In a study conducted in Italy, it was found that women who consumed almond oil had more preterm births than those who didn't. Hence, it is advisable that you talk to a doctor before using almond oil during pregnancy. 
  • Almond oil allergy in children
    Exposure to almond oil or almond oil infused creams or soaps has been reported to cause eczema and other skin conditions in infants.
  • Almond oil with alcohol
    In a non-clinical study, consumption of almond oil and alcohol showed an adverse reaction to liver functioning. Hence, it is recommended not to consume them together.
  • Bitter Almond Oil 
    Few ancient treatment methods use bitter almond oil in their medicines. However, it is always advisable to be cautious in the consumption of this oil as it contains cyanide. Excessive intake of almond oil can be fatal. It is strongly recommended to consult a doctor before using bitter almond oil.

Sweet almond oil is widely used for its health benefits. It has immense usage in cosmetics and beauty products. Being a rich source of Vitamin E, it is the perfect oil of choice for skin and hairs. Consume this oil in moderation and reap its infinite health benefits!

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References

  1. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Basic Report: 04529, Oil, almond. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release [Internet]
  2. Ahmad Z. The uses and properties of almond oil. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010 Feb;16(1):10-2. PMID: 20129403
  3. Sultana Y et al. Effect of pre-treatment of almond oil on ultraviolet B-induced cutaneous photoaging in mice. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2007 Mar;6(1):14-9. PMID: 17348990
  4. National Health Service [Internet] NHS inform; Scottish Government; Earwax build-up
  5. Moriguchi S, et al. Vitamin E and immunity. Vitam Horm. 2000.
  6. Lim Ai Beoy, Wong Jia Woei, Yuen Kah Hay. Effects of Tocotrienol Supplementation on Hair Growth in Human Volunteers . Trop Life Sci Res. 2010 Dec; 21(2): 91–99. PMID: 24575202
  7. Siafakas C, et al. Rectal prolapse in pediatrics. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1999.
  8. Sasaki Y, Iwai N, Kimura O, Hibi M. The treatment of rectal prolapse in children with phenol in almond oil injection. Eur J Pediatr Surg. 2004 Dec;14(6):414-7. PMID: 15630644
  9. Ahmad Z. The uses and properties of almond oil. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010.
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  11. Alisa M Mori, Robert V Considine, Richard D Mattes. Acute and second-meal effects of almond form in impaired glucose tolerant adults: a randomized crossover trial . Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011; 8: 6. PMID: 21276226
  12. Giustino Albanese, Kimi L. Kondo. Pharmacology of Sclerotherapy . Semin Intervent Radiol. 2010 Dec; 27(4): 391–399. PMID: 22550381
  13. Nadia Chaouali et al. Potential Toxic Levels of Cyanide in Almonds (Prunus amygdalus), Apricot Kernels (Prunus armeniaca), and Almond Syrup . ISRN Toxicol. 2013; 2013: 610648. PMID: 24171123
  14. Timur Taşhan S, Kafkasli A. The effect of bitter almond oil and massaging on striae gravidarum in primiparaous women. J Clin Nurs. 2012 Jun;21(11-12):1570-6. PMID: 22594386
  15. Christopher Hand, Ian Harvey. The effectiveness of topical preparations for the treatment of earwax: a systematic review. Br J Gen Pract. 2004 Nov 1; 54(508): 862–867. PMID: 15527615
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