Natural Oil of Bitter Almond is distinct from sweet almond oil, which comes from a different variety of almond trees. Both the trees and fruit have cosmetic differences. Sweet almond oil is more useful as a carrier oil, or base, in moisturizers and is a more effective emollient than the essential oil from bitter almonds, which is added for scent.
Bitter almond oil, along with the almonds themselves, is often used to flavor baked goods and other foods, adding in a strong almond flavor:
It can also serve to recreate any of a number of flavors, including those of various types of fruits and desserts.
- Febrifuge: Since ancient times, the bitter elements (e.g. quinine) have always been used as febrifuges. The reason behind it might be that all bitter elements contain alkaline compounds and are more or less toxic in nature. This toxicity and bitterness effectively inhibits the growth of infections from bacteria, protozoa, or viruses in the body, thereby reducing fever. For the same reason, bitter almond oil in very low doses has also been in use as a febrifuge for chronic fevers. Such applications, although beneficial from the point of view of lessening fever, can have their own adverse and toxic effects on the body.
- Vermifuge: The acute bitterness and the poisonous nature of bitter almond oil are very effective in killing intestinal worms, but again, it should be administered in very low potency.
- Antispasmodic: Bitter almond oil is also said to possess antispasmodic properties.
- Bactericidal, Germicidal, Fungicidal and Antiviral: The two components of bitter almond oil, hydrogen cyanide and benzaldehyde, are extremely toxic to animal life as well as to bacteria, germs, fungi and viruses. Therefore, it can be efficiently employed as a bactericide, antiviral and fungicidal substance. It can be used in curing ailments associated with infections from virus, germs and fungus.
- Sedative & Anesthetic: The toxic compound glycoside amygdalin, present in bitter almond oil, affects nerves and make them insensitive to any sensation, even pain. This induces numbness and anesthetic effects. However, it should be applied externally for local anesthetic purposes only. Ingestion for total anesthetic purposes should never be attempted, and could be fatal.
- Aperient: Being toxic in nature, bitter almond oil cannot be digested and if ingested, cause frequent loose motions and vomiting. Thus it has been and is still in use as an effective purgative (Aperient). The only thing is that the dose given should be very low and mild or it may have severe adverse effects.
- Diuretic: The body has a natural tendency to remove toxic substances that have gotten inside the body through sweat, urine and excreta. That is why when bitter almond oil is ingested in very small amounts, the body tends to throw it out through frequent urination. This frequent urination helps you lose weight and relaxes the body. When combined with the anesthetic and tranquilizing effects of this oil, it successfully brings down the blood pressure.