Prunus amugdalus Linn.
Synonym: Amygdalus communis L.
Sindhi name: Badam
Local name: Badam shireen
English name: Almond
Part used: Seeds
Prunus amygdalus Linn. tree is short with brownish-grey bark. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate, serrate, petile glandular and as long as the leaf stipules fimbriate. Flowers are white, tinged with pink color and mostly paired. Tree is 10 m tall with pale and pinkish flowers.1 Fruits are with a dry pericarp, stone with shallow wrinkles and minute pores.3 Shell of almond is of yellowish buff colour and flattened-ovoid in shape, the outer surface is usually pitted with small holes.7
Prunus amygdalus Linn. is native to the middle East and South Asia. It is cultivated in Kashmir at an elevation of 760-2400 m.1 It is also native to Iran, south Europe and Algeria. 3, 4 Sicily and Southern Italy are the chief almond-producing countries. Spain, Portugal, the south of France, the Balearic Islands and Morocco also export considerable quantities of almonds.7
Ethanomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Few grams of ground badam are added in asli ghee which is applied once daily on face to treat brown spots. Paste of ground almonds in rose water is applied on face for the treatment of acne and pimples.
Prunus amygdalus Linn. oil contains triglycerides, triolien, dioleolinolein, and fatty acids such as oleic, linoleic, palmitic, stearic, lauric, myristic and palmitoleic acids. Kernel of sweet almond contains sphingolipids, daucosterol and ß-sitosterol. Skin of the kernel contains flavonoid and phenolic antioxidant compounds including quercetin, naringenin, catechin and vanillic acid. The hulls of sweet almond contain ursolic acid, catechins and the terpenes such as betulinic acid, oleanolic acid and ursolic acid.7, 8 Almond is a rich source of vitamin E, mono unsaturated fatty acids, poly-unsaturated fatty acids, arginine and potassium.9
Almond also contains a wide variety of phenolic compounds which are localizes in skin of almond, including flavonols; isorhamnetin, kaempferol, quercetin, catechin and epicatechin), flavanones (naringenin), anthocyanins such as cyanidins and delohinidin, procyanidins, and phenolic acids like caffeic acid, ferulic acid, p-coumaric acid and vanillic acid.10 Active constituents of almonds are globulins such as amandine, albumin and amino acids. Sweet almond oil abundantly contains fatty acids like palimitic acid, palmitoleic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, alpha linoleic acid, arachidic acid, eicosanoic acid, behenic acid and erucic acid.11 Almonds are low in saturated fatty acids and rich in unsaturated fatty acids. It also contains fiber, phytosterols, plant protein, α-tocopherol, arginine, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium and potassium.12
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/ Scientific studies:
Prunus amygdalus Linn. oil is nutritive, demulcent and slightly laxative.1 Almond poultice is useful for the treatment of irritable sores and skin eruptions.2 Seeds of almond are stimulant and used as nervine tonic. It is also useful in constipation, impotency and several skin disorders.3 In combination with amla juice, it is very useful for the treatment of hair loss and dandruff. Medicinal benefits of almonds include improved complexion and improved movement of food through the colon.6 Topically sweet almond is used as an emollient for chapped skin and to soothe mucous membranes.7 Sweet almonds sometimes give immediate relief in heartburn.8
Prunus amygdalus L. possesses anti-inflammatory and anti cancer properties. It lowers cholesterol, treats burn, dermatosis, ichthyosis, leucoderma, itch and psoriasis.5, 6, 12, 13. Almonds decrease the symptoms of amnesia, dementia and alzheimers disease14. It possesses a pre biotic activity. It also stimulates the growth of gut bacteria by enhancing the growth of bifid bacteria and Eubacterium rectal 15.
- Khare, C. P., 2012, Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 518-519, Springer Publisher, New Delhi-110058, India.
- Joshi, S. G. (2000), Medicinal Plants of India, p. 334-335, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishers Co. Pvt. Ltd. 66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India., 2006,
- Rehman, M. (2006), A Pictorial Guide To The Medicinal Plants of Pakistan, p. 339, Kohat University of Science and Technology Publishers, Peshawar.
- Bhattacharjee, S. K. (2000), Handbook of Medicinal Plants, p. 285, Pointer Publisher Jaipure 303003 (Raj), India.
- Duke, J. A. (2007), Handbook of Medicinal Plants of Bible, II, p. 356-358, CRC Publishers, New York, Washington, DC, U. S. A.
- Davis, P. A., and C. K. Iwahashi. (2001), Whole almonds and almond fractions reduce aberrant crypt foci in a rat model of colon carcinogenesis. Cancer Letters 165(1): 27-33. Retrieved August 26, 2007
- Jeff, M. Jellin, Philip Gregory, Forrest Batz, Kathy Hitchen, Stephen Burson, Kay Shaver, and Kimberly Palacioz. (2002), Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, J Med Libr Assoc; 90(1): 114.
- Anonymous, Nuts, almonds online. USD, A National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17 (2004). Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/index.html.
- Frison-Norrie S, Sporns P. Identification and quantification of flavonol glycosides in almond seed coats by using MALDI-TOF.MS. J. Agric. Food CHem. 2002; 50:2782-2787.
- Phillips, K. M., Ruggio, D. M, Ashraf khorassani, M. (2005), The phytosterol composition of the nuts and seeds which are commonly consumed in the United States. J Agric Food Chem. 53:9436-45.
- Berryman, C. E., Preston, A. G., Karmally, W., Deckelbaum, R. J., and Kris, P. M. (2011), Effects of almond consumption on the reduction of LDL-Cholesterol: a discussion of potential mechanisms and future research directions. J Nutr.; 69:171-85.
- Phung, O. J., Makanji, S. S., White, C. M., and Coleman, C. (2009), Almonds have a neutral effect on the serum lipid profile. A meta analysis of random-ized trails. Journal of the American Dietetic Association; 109 (5): 865-873.
- Kulkarni, K. S, Kastura, S. B, Mengi, S. A. (2010), Efficacy of the Prunus amygdalus (almonds) nuts in scopolamine induced amnesia in rats. Indian J Pharmacol ; 42: 168-73.
- Mandalari, G, Neuno-palop C., Bigignano, G., Wickham MSJ, Narbad A. (2008), Potential prebiotic properties of almond seeds. J. Applied and Environmental Biology; 74(14): 4264-70.