The well-known kernel of certain fruit trees, of which there 's great variety. Almonds contain a considerable quantity of oil, on which account they are chiefly valuable. As an article of food, they possess little nutritious matter, and if taken immoderately, are indigestible, and even poisonous, on account of the prussic acid they contain. Bitter almonds yield a greater quantity of this poison than the sweet; they are therefore poisonous to some birds and small animals. Water distilled from almonds and other kernels, is found to be destructive of human life. Noyeau and other cordials flavoured by these substances, contain much of the bitter principle, or prussic acid. The oil of almonds may be extracted by simple pressure; if they are heated, a greater quantity is obtained. The oil from the bitter kernel is as tasteless as that from the sweet; the bitter principle is soluble in, and may be extracted by, water. Sweet almonds are extensively employed in medicine in the form of emulsion. They are skinned, and triturated in a mortar with a small quantity of water.
The almond emulsion is generally combined with gum or sugar.