The name “Almond” is believed to be a grouping of extractions from both the French word “almande” and the Greek word “amydala.” The amygdala – the part of the brain that controls the ability to make decisions, develop memories, and process emotions – is also believed to have the same etymology. Known as the “King of Nuts,” the Almond, as well as the oil it yields, are both believed to improve the role of this part of the brain. For this reason, it was served to dignitaries to boost their administrative abilities. Historical sources suggest that domesticated Almonds appeared as early as, or possibly earlier than 4000 B.C. They are said to have been native to the Middle East, being spread along the Mediterranean shores to North Africa and southern Europe. It also spread to central and southwest Asia as far as the Yamuna River of India as well as to California in the 1840s.
The Almond belongs to the same stone fruit family as plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and apricots. It has traditionally been used in confections such as candies, baked goods, and other desserts, in main dishes such as curries, and in remedies to address physical ailments. Almonds have been used to create lactose-free or vegan substitutes for milk products and to create gluten-free flour that ensures products are suitable for those with distinct dietary regulations. One of the most popular uses of the Almond has been for its oil, which continues to be used for both health benefits as well as cosmetic applications.
Almond Oil has two variants: Bitter Almond Oil and Sweet Almond Oil.
The Bitter variety is derived from the bitter almonds of the botanical known as Prunus dulcis, var. amara, which grows pink flowers. These Almonds are broad and short in shape, containing a compound called Amygdalin. When wild bitter Almond are crushed, chewed, or processed, the Amygdalin turns into the poisonous liquid commonly known as Cyanide. The almonds that grow on most wild Almond trees contain varying amounts of Amygdalin, thus, if ingested, these bitter Almonds can have lethal consequences; however, Bitter Almond Oil, which is considered to be an essential oil, does retain medicinal properties and benefits, making it safe for external application. One belief is that wild Almond species are toxic while domesticated Almonds are not, due to the idea that genetic mutation has caused an absence of Amygdalin.
The Sweet variety of Almond Oil is derived from only the sweet, edible Almonds of the botanical known as Prunus amygdalus var. dulcis, which grows white flowers. The oil that is obtained from this variety is considered to be a carrier oil and is most commonly used in skin and hair care to enhance the appearance, health, and texture of both.
Many cultures and religious beliefs revere the Almond. Where it is mentioned in the Bible, it is referred to as a symbol of vigilance and promise, because of its early flowering. It is also considered to be “among the best of fruits.” In Torrent, Spain on the 1st of February, the event known as La Entrada de la Flor involves offering the Virgin Mary the fruits of the first tree that flowers after winter, and this tree happens to be the Almond tree. Almonds are also valued in Ayurvedic medicine, according to which they and their oil effectively promote the health of the reproductive system, muscles, and bones. Considered to be a tonic for the brain, blood, and skin, they are often used to address or enhance cognitive functions, immunity, muscle strength, and virility.
SWEET ALMOND OIL BENEFITS
The main chemical constituents of Sweet Almond Carrier Oil are: Oleic Acids (Omega 9), Linoleic Acids (Omega 6), Stearic Acid, and Palmitic Acid.
OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 9) are known to:
LINOLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 6) are known to:
STEARIC ACID is known to:
PALMITIC ACID is known to:
PALMITOLEIC ACID is known to:
Used topically, Sweet Almond Carrier Oil can heal superficial skin burns, soothe dry and chapped skin, as well as skin affected by dermatosis, eczema, and psoriasis. Being non-comedogenic, anti-bacterial, and non-greasy, this medium-light lubricant has a quick absorption rate that is ideal for use in facial care, massages, and on skin that is sensitive or acne-prone. Sweet Almond Oil is a mild natural oil that promotes smooth, youthful, blemish-free skin by boosting collagen production, keeping it hydrated and supple, and by protecting it against the potential damage caused by UV radiation. Its light texture allows it to soften the skin while penetrating it to cleanse the pores and prevent blackheads as well as future acne breakouts. Applied regularly before bed, Almond Oil can noticeably diminish the appearance of dark undereye circles, and it can soothe inflamed skin caused by overexposure to the sun. Applied to nails, Sweet Almond Carrier Oil addresses mineral deficiencies that lead to thin, brittle nails and restores nail health to promote stronger, thicker, and smoother growth.
Used in a massage, Sweet Almond Carrier Oil can relieve muscular aches, pains, and soreness by relaxing muscle tension, tiredness, and knots. Massing it into the skin introduces protein to the skin and muscles, boosts energy, and purges the skin of toxins and impurities.
Used in hair, Almond Oil slows hair loss, supporting the growth and maintenance of thick, soft, healthy strands. By reintroducing their natural protective oils, Sweet Almond Carrier Oil hydrates hair and the scalp to repair damage, dryness, and sensitivity.
Used medicinally, Sweet Almond Carrier Oil works as a soothing agent to relieve skin rashes characterized by inflammation, roughness, irritation, soreness, and a burning sensation. By reducing feelings of stress and swelling, boosting circulation, and improving mental functions, it relieves body aches and pain, including headaches. It is known to address the unsightly issues of varicose veins and spider veins in the same way.
As illustrated, Sweet Almond Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
It is believed that Almonds were among the earliest fruit to be domesticated, due to their ability to grow from seeds, thus being propagated and being able to thrive without the aid of plant cuttings or grafting. Alternatively, Almonds may be grown on a Peach rootstock in the first 10-12 years of being cultivated.
Native to the region that stretches from the west of Pakistan across Syria, Israel, and Turkey, Almond trees are small and deciduous, growing up to a height of 10 meters. Being deeply rooted, they thrive when planted in sandy loam types of soils that are deep, fertile, and well drained. They cannot withstand stagnant water, soils with high water tables, or water-logged soils.
For ideal growth, Almond trees prefer the warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters characteristic of Mediterranean climates with temperatures ranging between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Despite being tolerant of droughts, Almond trees should be irrigated. Due to their requirement of high levels of Nitrogen and Phosphorus, they will grow best in organic fertilizer and with the application of Nitrogen. Quality Almonds are produced by trees in soil with a pH between 7.0-8.5.
The Almond is not a true nut; rather, it is a drupe, which is a fleshy, thin-skinned fruit with a “stone” at its center that contains the seed. Almonds have a dry, fuzzy outer layer called the Hull. This contains a Stone, also referred to as a Pit or a Shell, which is covered in miniscule holes that make it appear to be pockmarked. The stone encloses the Seed, also called the Kernel, which has a corrugated Seed Coat.
While the Almond tree is still young, its twigs are initially green, growing to be purplish in color wherever sunlight touches it. In the second year, the twigs turn grey in color. Almond flowers, which range in color from white to pale pink and which bloom before the pointed, ovate-lanceolate, serrated leaves appear in Spring, have 5 petals that develop singly or in pairs. In the third year after being planted, Almond trees begin to bear Almond fruits. Full bearing potential begins 5 or 6 years after planting.
Like all deciduous trees, Almond trees undergo a period of dormancy, at which time there is a lack of bud growth in order to prevent the fruits from becoming damaged during the cold winter months. Though they need to go through dormancy in order to store nutrients for the following year’s crop, Almond flower buds can be negatively affected by heavy frost.
Between late winter and early spring, Almond blooms develop and are ready for pollination with the help of bees. In the spring, the fertilized flowers slowly mature into drupes containing Almonds in their hulls. The outer layer of the drupes become tough and leathery in texture, resembling green peaches. In the summer, Almond hulls begin to split open, exposing the Almond shells inside and allowing them to dry and gain weight as they mature. Typically, stones contain one seed, though sometimes there might be two.
Between mid-summer to autumn, the hulls themselves gradually dry, harden, and split even wider. At this stage in development, the stones have dried and turned brown. The connection between the fruit’s stem and the tree begins to weaken, and harvest season begins. Farmers use mechanical tree shakers to shake the Almonds out of their trees and onto the ground. The Almonds are left on the orchard ground for another 8 to 10 days, during which time the kernels dry in their stones. After 10 days, they are mechanically swept up to be collected.
The optimal Almond Carrier Oil production process involves Drying, which is vital for quality oil, hence, Almonds must be dried to reduce their humidity content. This contributes to the longer shelf life of the finished product by reducing the oil’s risk of developing fungal growth caused by wet fruit. Drying is done by either exposing Almonds to the sun for up to 3 days or by exposing them to hot air ventilation, sometimes in an oven.
Still in their shells, the Almonds are transported onto rollers where their hulls, stones, and any debris are removed in a process called Hulling, Shelling, or Cracking. Shells and hulls are not discarded, rather they are used for livestock bedding and to feed dairy cattle, respectively.
Finally, the extraction process begins. Sweet Almond Carrier Oil is derived from the ripe seeds/kernels of Almond fruits by cold pressing, which preserves the oil’s quality by protecting it from heat. Sometimes the extraction process requires a previous pulverization of the seeds. Cold pressing involves placing Almonds between two rotating metal plates to apply mechanical pressure that will cause them to break and release their oils. The resultant oil is darker than Almond oil that undergoes refinement. Cold pressed Sweet Almond Carrier Oil also has a higher content of beneficial constituents such as monounsaturated fats as well as valuable properties like antimicrobial activity.
The uses of Sweet Almond Carrier Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, creams, soaps, shampoos, and candle making.
Used topically, Sweet Almond Carrier Oil can be warmed to body temperature for increased absorption before being applied directly to skin. Though its mild nutty scent is pleasant, a few drops of an essential oil of personal preference can be blended in to customize its aroma. Suggested essential oils include Myrrh, Lavender, and Rose essential oils. Sweet Almond Oil’s natural Vitamin E content acts as a potent antioxidant that contributes to smooth, healthy-looking, blemish-free skin. To nourish and cleanse skin, to maintain its suppleness, and to protect it against damage caused by UV radiation, blend 5 drops of Sweet Almond Carrier Oil with 1 drop of Jojoba Carrier Oil and 2 drops of Honey, then slowly massage it into skin in a slow, circular motion. Leave it on the skin for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with a mild natural skin cleanser. Applied to rashes and other skin ailments, this blend also cleanses and facilitates faster healing of chapped skin, acne breakouts, dirt and excess oil secretion on the skin, scars, and stretch marks.
To effectively lighten dark circles under the eyes, a few drops of warmed Almond Oil applied under the eyes will gradually brighten them while reducing puffiness. To reduce the appearance of an unwanted tan, a few drops of Almond Carrier Oil can be blended with a few drops of Lemon juice and 1 tsp. of Honey before being rubbed into the skin applying gentle pressure with the fingertips. After leaving it on the skin for 1 hour, it can be rinsed off with water. Applied all over the face, Almond Oil promotes the regeneration of new skin cells, thereby making skin appear to be rejuvenated and slowing the appearance of aging. To exfoliate rough skin, Sweet Almond Oil can be mixed with fine sugar to create a natural scrub that can be used on the face or the body to gently but deeply cleanse pores and prevent future acne breakouts. Simply mix the two ingredients together, apply it in a gentle, circular motion to the skin to remove dirt and dead skin cells, then rinse it off with water. This treatment can be applied every week to achieve skin that looks revitalized and radiant. To gently remove makeup, dip a cotton ball in Almond Carrier Oil and apply it all over the face, leaving it on for 2 minutes. Gently wipe it off with a fresh cotton ball.
In a massage, Sweet Almond Carrier Oil boosts circulation, strengthens bones, and soothes aching muscles. Hypoallergenic and mild, it is safe to use on baby skin as well as other types of sensitive skin; however, applying it directly to the skin may lead to the oil leaving an unwanted residue, hence it is commonly diluted with natural creams, lotions, or other carrier oils. To enhance the body’s overall systems, a blend of 90 ml (3 oz.) of Almond Oil and 5 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil can be used in a massage twice a week. Sweet Almond Carrier Oil boosts digestion, the improper functioning of which is often the cause of ailments such as eczema and psoriasis. Applied topically, this oil soothes the inflammation, itchiness, and redness associated with these two ailments as well as similar symptoms of other comparable skin conditions. Sweet Almond Oil builds and repairs skin’s collagen layer, which keeps skin looking firm yet soft, contributing to the appearance of youthfulness. Applying Almond Oil topically in skin care or in a massage can prevent skin from losing moisture and can relax tight, tired muscles. For a massage with optimal results, first heat the Sweet Almond Carrier Oil until it is almost too hot to touch and apply the hot oil to the affected areas. Cover the area with a hot, damp towel for half an hour to draw out toxins.
Used in hair, Sweet Almond Carrier Oil is known to enhance cognitive functions and to improve memory. Adding 2 drops of Almond Oil and 1 drop of Rosemary Essential Oil to a natural shampoo can uplift the mood and naturally reduce hair loss by addressing scalp conditions that contribute to hair fall, such as dandruff. To strengthen and repair damaged or brittle hair with the moisture and nutrients from Sweet Almond Carrier Oil, apply the oil to damp hair immediately after washing it with a mild natural shampoo and towel drying it. Rub the oil between the palms, then apply it to the scalp and hair, ensuring that each strand is evenly coated. Allow the hair to air dry, and the result will be manageable hair that retains shine and is free from knots. To replenish moisture in dry hair and to promote hair growth, blend 30 ml (1 oz.) of Almond Carrier Oil with 2 drops of Castor Carrier Oil and 5 drops of Sandalwood Essential Oil. Massage this blend into hair half an hour before washing it out or leave it on as a deeply penetrating and conditioning hair mask treatment the night before hair is to be washed. This can be applied once a month to restore luster to hair and to maintain hair health.
To strengthen and thicken nails that are thin and brittle, warm a small amount of Sweet Almond Carrier Oil and apply 1 drop to the nail, massaging it into the cuticle. Repeating this vitamin-rich treatment weekly will result in clearer, smoother, healthier nails.
Used medicinally, Sweet Almond Oil is recommended for reducing bodily pain, relieving stress, and for boosting cerebral functions when applied to the head such as on the temples, forehead, or scalp. It addresses skin conditions related to circulation, such as varicose veins and spider veins. For a massage blend that will relieve or reduce the appearance of these issues, blend 30 ml (1 oz.) of Almond oil with 2 drops of Garlic Essential Oil and heat the mixture. Gently massage the warm blend into the affected areas. For optimal results in pain relief, place a hot water bag over the area and leave it on for 10 minutes. To soothe rashes, chafing, and inflammation caused by friction, dip a few fingers into a small amount of Sweet Almond Carrier Oil and apply it directly to the affected areas, leaving it on until it is completely absorbed by the skin.
ALMOND SWEET REFINED CARRIER OIL (SPAIN)
Botanical Name: Prunus dulcis
Found in: Spain
ALMOND SWEET ORGANIC CARRIER OIL
Botanical Name: Prunus dulcis
Found in: Morocco
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, carrier oils are for external use only. Sweet Almond Carrier Oil should not be ingested and should not be stored within the reach of children, in case of accidental ingestion. As with all other oils, a patch test should be conducted on the inner arm or other generally insensitive area of skin, using a dime size amount of Sweet Almond Oil to check for sensitivities. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours indicates that the oil is safe to use. Individuals with allergies to tree nuts, almonds, and peaches are at a higher risk of developing an allergy to Sweet Almond Oil and should avoid its use.
Potentially severe side effects of using Sweet Almond Carrier Oil may include hives, swelling of the sinuses, mouth and throat, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action.
Individuals taking medication to lower cholesterol or to treat diabetes may experience a drug interaction. To prevent these side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.