Feb 12, 2014
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PRUNUS AMYGDALUS

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Batsch var. amara (bitter); var. sativa (sweet).

Family ► Rosaceae.

Habitat ► Cultivated in Kashmir at elevation of 760-2,400 m, also in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

English ► Almond.

Ayurvedic ► Vaataama, Vaataada.

Unani ► Baadaam Shireen, Loz.

Siddha/Tamil ► Vaadumai.

Action ► Kernels—nutritious, demulcent and stimulant nervine tonic; valuable in diets for peptic ulcer. Unripe fruits— astringent, applied to gums. Oil—nutritive, demulcent, slightly laxative.

Almond flour made from the residue left after expressing almond oil, and almond butter, is used for the preparation of starch-free diabetic food.

The chief protein of almond is a globulin, amandin, an albumin is also reported. Amandin has a high arginine content (11.9%). The primary chemical difference between the sweet and bitter kernel lies in the high content (2.5-3.5%) of amygdalin in bitter kernel; the ripe sweet almond being free of this cyanogenetic glucoside. Owing to the presence of amygdalin, which on enzymatic hydrolysis yields hydrocyanic acid, the bitter almond is not fit for human consumption.

The oil yield from bitter kernels is usually 38 to 45% and from sweet almond 44 to 55%. The bitter almond oil containing hydrocyanic acid finds limited use in medicine as an antispas- modic and sedative. Dissolved in 50 times water, it is applied externally in prurigo senilis. Hydrocyanic acid-free oil is used for flavouring purposes.

Partial replacement of saturated fatty acids with almonds lowers total plasma cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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