Amygdalus communis (var. dulcis), Linne'. A fixed oil obtained from the kernels of several varieties.

Habitat: W. Asia, Persia, Syria, Barbary, Morocco; naturalized in Mediterranean Basin; cultivated in Europe, S. California.

Syn.: Jordon Almond, Malaga, Paper-shell, Greek Nuts; Fr. Amande(s) douce(s); Ger. Amygdalae dulces, Susse Mandeln; Ol. Amygd. Exp., Oil of Sweet Almond, Oleum Amygdalae Dulcis; Br. Oleum Amygdalae, Almond Oil; Fr. Huile d'Amande (douce); Ger. Oleum Amygdalorum, Mandelol.

Dul'cis. L. Sweet - i.e., the fruit without bitterness.

Plant

Small tree, 5 - 6 M. (15 - 20 degrees) high, bark purplish; leaves bright green; flowers pale pink or white; fruit drupe, ovate, 5 Cm. (2') long, 2.5 Cm. (1') broad, sarcocarp green, leathery, splitting into two halves when ripe, and falling from the stone. This remaining stone is the commercial almond, and may be sold as such or may be bleached by sulphur dioxide, thereby also killing any attached insects. By cracking off hard shell the kernel, or, properly, the seed, is left, which, when deprived of papery endocarp by hot water, constitutes the more desirable blanched almond. Seed (almond), 17 - 25 Mm. (3/4 - 1') long, 10 - 13 Mm. (2/5 - 1/2') broad, 4 - 7 Mm (l/6 - 1/3') thick, oblong-lanceolate; seed-coat light brown with numerous parallel veins, thin, easily removed by soaking in water; embryo straight, white, 2 plano-convex cotyledons; taste bland, sweet; triturated with water - milk-white, non-acid emulsion having no odor of benzaldehyde, or hydrocyanic acid (abs. of bitter almond). Powder: Creamy-white - numerous small and large oil globules, crystalloids, globoids, fragments of parenchyma of endosperm and seed-coat, aleurone grains, spiral tracheae; no starch grains.

Amygdalus communis; a. Seed-kernel; b. Section through seed-coats and portion of cotyledon.

Commercial

Of these there are several varieties (Jordan, Valencia, Sicily, Barbary, in the order of value), imported chiefly from Spain, S. France, via Marseilles or Bordeaux (soft-shelled; var. frag'ilis), and Malaga (Jordan or long) or Valencia (hard-shelled), being larger and longer than the var. Amara, with more convex sides. The Jordan only, owing to easy recognition, are used in the Br. P. To preserve almonds, should keep dry, thereby preventing decomposition of amygdalin and fixed oil; when rancid the embryo has changed into gum bassorin, which renders them unfit for medicinal use.

Constituents

Fixed oil 56 p.c., Emulsin (mucilage 3 p.c., sugar 6 p.c., proteins (myosin, vitellin, and conglutin) 24 - 30 p.c., precipitated by acetic acid, ash 3 - 5 p.c. - K, Ca, Mg - phosphates); the testa of both varieties contain tannin.

Oleum Amygdalae Expressum. Expressed Oil of Almond. -- This fixed oil is obtained from both varieties of almonds (sweet and bitter) by grinding or bruising in an iron or stone mortar the clean and perfect kernels, enclosing mass in canvas batgs and subjecting them to hydraulic pressure of 350 atmospheres between polished steel plates slightly heated (30 degrees C.; 86 degrees F.); the expressed turbid oil is set aside in a cool place, decanted from sediment and filtered; most of the commercial oil is from the bitter almonds prior to preparing the volatile oil. It is a clear, pale straw-colored, colorless, oily liquid, almost odorless, bland taste; slightly soluble in alcohol, miscible with ether, chloroform, benzene, petroleum benzin; sp. gr. 0.912; contains triolein 75 - 85 p.c., tripalmitin, trilinolein. Tests: 1. Clear at - 10 degrees C.; 14 degrees F., congeals at -20 degrees C.; -4 degrees F. (abs of olive, cottonseed, sesame, lard oils, congealing at -5 degrees C.;22 degrees F., apricot and peach oils remaining fluid at -20 degrees C.; -4 degrees F.). 2. Shake vigorously oil (2), fuming nitric acid (1), distilled water (1) - the mixture is not more than colored (abs. Of peach and apricot oils - red color, sesame and cottonseed oils - brown color). Should be kept cool, in well-closed containers. Dose: 3j-2 (30-60 cc.).

Adulterations

Olive, arachis (ground-nut), lard, cottonseed, sesame, poppy, apricot and peach oils; apricot kernels yield 25 - 38 p.c. of oil, which, with peach oil, is substituted often (in part or entire) for the pure article.

Preparations

1. Unguentum Aquae Rosae, 56 p.c. 2. Emulsum Petrolati, N.F., 22.5 p.c. 3. Oleum Phosphoratum, N.F., 90 p.c. 4. Untuentum Veratrinae, N.C. 6 p.c.

Unoff. Preps: Emulsion (seed 6 p.c., + acacia 1, sucrose 3, water q.s. 100), 3ij-4 (8 - 15 cc.). Pulvis Amygdalae Compositus (Br.) - seed 60 parts, + sucrose 30, acacia 10.

Properties

Demulcent, nutrient, laxative.

Uses

The meal of the expressed cake as a toilet powder, and since it contains no starch it may readily be made into bread, cake, puddings, etc., which is excellent for diabetics. Seed very popular as a confection. Expressed oil, employed like olive oil, also for pulmonary trouble.

Anac Pyrethrum: A. Expanded flower: Pyrethrum: transverse B. Involucre seen from below; C, section magnified 3 diam. Dried flower.