Oleum Amygdalae Amarae. Oil of Bitter Almond, official.

Prunus Amygdalus, var. amara, DeCandolle.

A volatile oil obtained by maceration and distillation, from the ripe kernels, and other kernels containing amygdalin.

Habitat. W. Asia, Persia, Syria, Barbary, Morocco; naturalized in Mediterranean Basin; cultivated in Europe; unsuccessfully in United States.

Syn. Greek Nuts; Ol. Amygd. Amar., Bitter Almond Oil, Oleum Amygdalarum (Amararum) AEhereum; Fr. Amande amere; Essence d'Amande amere; Ger. Amygdalae Amarae, Bittere Mandeln; Bittermandelol.

A-myg'da-lus. L. fr. Gr.

Amygdala Amara Bitter Almond 387

to lacerate - i. e., its fissured shell. A-ma'ra. L. amarus, bitter - i. e., the fruit.

Plant. - Small tree, 5-6 M. (15-20°) 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), 2.5 Cm. (1') long, oblong-lanceolate, flattish; testa cinnamon-brown, thin, finely downy, marked by about 16 lines radiating from broad scar at blunt end; embryo straight, white, oily, with 2 plano-convex cotyledons; taste bitter, oleaginous; triturated with water yields milk-white emulsion, emitting odor of hydrocyanic acid. Adulterations. - Seed: Sweet almonds chiefly (Valencia) and peach seeds - both cheaper; the bitter differs from the sweet in flavor, odor with water, containing amygdalin, being shorter, broader, thinner, less plump and darker, and from peach seeds by being much larger;

Oil: Alcohol, oil of turpentine, nitrobenzene, impure benzaldehyde from toluene (chlorine), etc.

Commercial. - There are several varieties of these (French, Sicily,

Barbary, in the order of value), being exported chiefly from Mogador, in Morocco. Constituents. - Kernels: Fixed oil 46 p. c, Amygdalin 1-3 p. c,

Emulsin (mucilage 3 p. c., proteids (myosin, vitellin, conglutin)

24-30 p. c, precipitated by acetic acid, sugar 6 p. c, ash 3-5 p. c. - K, Ca, Mg - phosphates); yield volatile oil 1 p. c; hydrocyanic acid .25 p. c.

Amygdalin, C20H27NO11. - A crystalline glucoside obtained from expressed cake (deprived of fixed oil) by boiling in alcohol, distilling to syrup, adding water and yeast, and then allowing fermentation;

Fig. 169.   Prunus Amygdalus: 1, flowering twig; 2, twig, with fruit; 3, fruit hull cracked off; 4, seed deprived of hull; 5, vertical section of flower; 6, longitudinal section of seed.

Fig. 169. - Prunus Amygdalus: 1, flowering twig; 2, twig, with fruit; 3, fruit hull cracked off; 4, seed deprived of hull; 5, vertical section of flower; 6, longitudinal section of seed.

Fig. 170.   Prunus Amygdalus: fruit in the act of opening.

Fig. 170. - Prunus Amygdalus: fruit in the act of opening.

after this, filter, evaporate to syrup, add alcohol to precipitate amygdalin and gum, from which boiling alcohol takes up the former, depositing it upon cooling.

Emulsin (synaptase). - A ferment coagulated by heat, precipitated by alcohol, but not by acetic acid, and in the presence of water, acts upon amygdalin, forming glucose, C6H12O6, hydrocyanic acid, HCN (1 part being formed from 17 of amygdalin), and benzaldehyde, C7H6O - oil of bitter almond 1-4 p. c.; C20H27NO11 + 2H2O = 2(C6H12O6) + HCN + C7H6O.

Oleum Amygdalae Amarae. Oil of Bitter Almond. - This volatile oil, like volatile oil of mustard, oil of gaultheria, and methyl salicylate, does not preexist in the kernels (seeds), but results from macerating for 12 hours the expressed cake of hitter almonds with water, wherein amygdalin undergoes fermentation, then distilling the oil formed by passing steam through the mixture; kernels of the peach (P. Persica) and apricot (P. armeni'aca) yield much of the commercial oil, which may also be prepared synthetically from toluene (see benzaldehydum, below). It is a clear, colorless, yellowish, strongly refractive liquid, characteristic odor and taste of benzaldehyde, soluble in alcohol, ether, slightly in water, forms clear solution in 2 vols. of 70 p. c. alcohol; sp. gr. 1.038-1.060, optically inactive or dextrorotatory; at first neutral, but becomes acid from the formation of benzoic acid; contains 85 p. c. of benzaldehyde, C6H5CHO, and 2-4 p. c. of hydrocyanic acid, HCN (sometimes as much as 8-10 p. c); when freed from this latter it is less poisonous, but even then has a marked physiological action on the nervous system. Impurities: Nitrobenzene, chlorinated products, heavy metals. The label must indicate definitely its specific source, as this is intended for medicinal use, and not for flavoring foods. Should be kept dark, air-tight, in small, well-stoppered, completely filled, amber-colored bottles, and when showing crystals of benzoic acid must not be dispensed. Dose, 1/4-1 (.016-.06 Ml. (Cc.)).

Preparations. - Oil: 1. Aqua Amygdalae Amarae. Bitter Almond Water. (Syn., Aq. Amygd. Amar.; Fr. Eau d'Amande amere; Ger. Bittermandelwasser.)

Manufacture: 1/10 p. c.- Dissolve oil .1 Ml. (Cc.) by agitation in recently boiled distilled water q. s. 100 Ml. (Cc.), filter; contains mere trace of hydrocyanic acid, and differs from the International Protocol preparation (1906) containing .1 p. c. of hydrocyanic acid. Dose, 3j-3 (4-12 Ml. (Cc.)); mostly as a flavor.

2. Spiritus Amygdalae Amarae. Spirit of Bitter Almond. (Syn., Sp. Amygd. Amar., Essence of Bitter Almond; Fr. Alcoolat (Esprit) d'Amande amere; Ger. Bittermandelgeist.)

Manufacture: 1 p. c. Dissolve oil 1 Ml. (Cc.) in alcohol 80 Ml. (Cc.), add distilled water q. s. 100 Ml. (Cc.). Dose, xv-30 (1-2 Ml. (Cc.)).

Unoff. Preps.: Syrup (spt. of bitter almond 1, orange flower water 10, syrup q. s. 100), dose, 3ij-4 (8-15 Ml. (Cc.)). Comp. Elixir (oil

1/20 p.c.) PROPERTIES. - Demulcent, nutrient, sedative; often produces urticaria.

USES. - Coughs, pulmonary troubles, flavoring. Poisoning: Here have hydrocyanic acid symptoms; hence give emetics to induce vomiting, galvanism, brandy, whisky, ammonia to nostrils, etc.

Allied Products: l. Benzaldehydum. Benzaldehyde, C7H6O, official. - (Syn., Ben-zaldehyd., Oleum Amygdalarum AEthereum (Artificiale)-sine Acide Prussico, Synthetic Oil of Bitter Almond; Fr. Aldehyde benzoique; Ger. Kunstliches Bittermandelol.) An aldehyde produced synthetically or from oil of bitter almond, containing 85 p. c of benzaldehyde. 18

Manufacture: 1. Shake oil of bitter almond (peach, apricot, etc.) with concentrated solution of acid sodium sulphite (3) to form crystalline benzalhydroxysulphonate, wash with cold alcohol, treat with strong sodium carbonate solution, rectify by distillation with steam. 2. Treat boiling toluene, C7O8, with chlorine, heat resulting benzyl chloride with barium nitrate and water, while passing carbon dioxide through the mixture, the benzyl nitrate formed decomposes into benzaldehyde and oxides of nitrogen. It is a colorless, yellowish, refractive liquid, bitter almond-like odor, burning aromatic taste, slightly soluble in water, miscible with alcohol, ether, fixed or volatile oils; sp. gr. 1.045; differs from oil of bitter almond in having no hydrocyanic acid. Tests: 1. Shake 10 drops with distilled water (5 Ml. (Cc.)), + potassium hydroxide T. S. (.5 Ml. (Cc.)), + ferrous sulphate T. S. (.1 Ml. (Cc.)), warm gently, + excess of hydrochloric acid - no greenish-blue color nor blue precipitate within 15 minutes (abs. of hydrocyanic acid). 2. Dissolve 1 Ml. (Cc.) in alcohol (20), + distilled water until turbid, evolve hydrogen 1 hour by adding zinc and diluted sulphuric acid, filter, evaporate to 20 Ml. (Cc.); of this boil 10 Ml. (Cc.) + a drop of potassium dichromate T. S. - not violet (abs. of nitrobenzene). Impurities: Hydrocyanic acid, chlorinated products, nitrobenzene. Should be kept dark, in small, well-stoppered bottles. Dose, 1/4-1 (.016-.06 Ml. (Cc.)).

Properties and Uses. - Similar to oil of bitter almond; largely as a flavoring agent, having the advantage of the oil in being devoid of hydrocyanic acid, and not being poisonous except in large quantities.