Forced, expensive, time-consuming visits to the clinic can be reduced with empowering knowledge of time-tested natural ingredients like almond oil. With the growing popularity of natural remedies for common benign health problems, this ancient Chinese, Unani, and Ayurvedic solution is now gaining the attention it deserves. Resort to almond oil for skin, hair, and colon problems, among other benefits.
Almond oil is derived from compressed ripe seeds of the almond tree. There are 2 types – sweet and bitter. Bitter almond oil contains a cyanide compound that imparts a bitter taste. This compound is toxic and needs to be removed for human use of the oil. Sweet almond oil lacks cyanide, which is why most commercially available almond oils – in cosmetics, ointments, and cooking oil – are sweet almond oil.
Benefits Of Almond Oil For General Health
Antidote To ALP: Aluminium phosphide (ALP) is a highly toxic rodenticide implicated in several suicides in Iran and India. Oral ingestion of sweet almond oil immediately after poisoning with ALP increases the chances of survival.1
1. Strengthens immunity: Think of almond oil as an energy drink for your constantly evolving immune system.2 By boosting your natural immunity, almond oil will help you fight off unannounced diseases, without you even knowing it.
2. Protects the liver from damage: A study done in rats showed that almond oil could protect the liver from chemical damage.3 While such studies are yet to be done in humans, almond oil definitely shows promise in supporting liver health.
3. Supports colon and rectal health: As uncomfortable as we may be to talk about our bowel and excretion, even the slightest malfunction or deformity in our intestines can cause unbearable discomfort and pain. Almond oil can help relieve us of some of this misery.
- It improves bowel movement: Those suffering from constipation or colon disorders like intestinal bowel syndrome (IBS) can obtain some relief by ingesting almond oil.4
- It reduces risks of colon cancer: Knowing that colon cancer, like all cancers, is difficult to catch in the early stages, why not reduce our risks by including almond oil in our regular diet?5
- It cures rectal prolapse and anal itching: Phenol in almond oil injections are used to treat rectal prolapse in children and are proposed to be an effective first line of treatment.6 This injection has also been shown to permanently cure idiopathic pruritus ani (itching around the anus), a condition other methods failed to cure.
4. Stabilizes cholesterol levels: Almond oil decreases total cholesterol and LDL (mostly bad cholesterol), while increasing HDL (good cholesterol).7 By doing so, almond oils can protect you from heart disease. This is due to components in the oil fraction of the nuts.
5. Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes: By including almond oil in your breakfast, you can reduce your risks of type 2 diabetes.8 Almond oil encourages insulin sensitivity, thereby keeping blood glucose levels in check.
DIY Ear Cleanser: Using a dropper, pour a few drops of almond oil into your ear. Lie on your side while doing so. Stay still for 2-3 minutes. Turn over, and apply to the other ear.
6. Softens ear wax: A study done on chinchilla (rodents) showed that almond oil can soften ear wax without damaging the inner ear. Unlike most commercial ear wax softeners, almond oil is considered safe even when there are lesions in the ear, a hotspot for microbial infections.9
DIY Dentrifice: After you brush your teeth with regular toothpaste, add a few drops of almond oil to your toothbrush. Brush your teeth and massage your gums with it. Spit and rinse.
7. Reduces dental plaque formation: A study showed that an almond oil dentifrice (a substance used to clean teeth, like toothpaste) reduced plaque formation without destroying protective teeth enamel.10
How To Use Almond Oil For General Health
- Always use sweet almond oil for consumption.
- Almond oil is gluten-free so it is safe to consume by those who have celiac disease.
- It can be used as a light salad dressing or as an immunity booster in your protein drink.
- To relieve constipation, drink 2 tablespoons of gently heated almond oil daily, till your bowel movement normalizes.
- Make a conscious effort to add some almond oil to your breakfast.
- Almond oil smokes at 420 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is a healthy medium to stir fry veggies or make French fries.
Almond Oil For Skin
Almond oil has reserved its position in the skin department for centuries now. It contains folic acid, alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), and zinc – all of which help treat skin problems.11 Here are some common skin problems almond oil can help you keep at bay:
DIY Makeup Remover: Using a cotton swab, use almond oil to remove makeup. Do this every night before you sleep.
1. Reduces acne: Deserving a spot at the top of all skin problems, acne has both physical as well as emotional repercussions. Almond oil can reduce inflammation associated with acne, reducing redness and swelling.12 This makes almond oil particularly handy for teenage girls suffering pubertal acne attacks.
DIY Lip Balm: Using the tip of your finger or a Q-tip, dab on some almond oil on dry, chapped lips. You’ll instantly get a soft, pink hue.
2. Moisturizes dry skin: There is historic evidence of the use of almond oil in ancient Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Greco-Persian schools of medicine to treat dry skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.13 While you may not be suffering from a serious skin disease, you may use almond oil as a moisturizer during winters, or if you generally have dry skin, apply it to prevent your skin from looking flaky.
3. Fades scars: Folklore and clinical trials take the same stand when it comes to almond oil’s therapeutic effects on hypertrophic scarring – raised scars caused post operations, by cuts or wounds, body piercings, burns, or pimples.14 Almond oil promotes new cell growth, smoothing and rejuvenating the skin.
4. Lightens dark circles: Almond oil has emollient (skin softening) and sclerosant (targeted tissue destroying) properties.15 Because of this, it can improve your complexion and give your face a beautiful sheen. Its use has been extended to get rid of dark circles under the eyes and dark spots caused by excessive sun exposure.
5. Prevents wrinkles and tan: Studies done in mice showed that almond oil prevents UV-induced skin damage and slows down the photoaging process.16 Wrinkle formation, a natural consequence of aging, increases on sun exposure. By serving as a natural sun block (SPF 5), almond oil may help decelerate wrinkle formation and tanning. Though its SPF is not very high, its nourishing effects are positively overpowering.
6. Reduces stretch marks: A study in Turkey showed that regular 15-minute massages with bitter almond oil during the 19th to 32nd week of pregnancy reduced pregnancy stretch marks by a whopping 80%.17 Just applying almond oil with no massage reduced stretch marks by about 60%.
Caution: Though this study involved pregnant women, it is advisable to execute almond oil massages only if you are not pregnant. One study showed that 15% pre-term births were associated with regular almond oil massages on the abdomen during pregnancy.18
How To Use Almond Oil For Skin
- Almond oil is best suited for dry to normal skin. Using a cotton swab, apply it on areas that you want it to work its magic. For instance, below your eyes for dark circles, on acne, on scars, and stretch marks. Leave overnight and wash off with cold water in the morning.
- It is generally not advisable to use almond oil as a facial moisturizer, that is applying it to the whole face, as it can increase oiliness and promote clogging of pores. You may massage it into your body 30 minutes before you shower.
Almond Oil For Hair
There isn’t any scientific evidence to prove that almond oil is good for your hair, but ask your Asian or Middle-eastern friends and they will tell you all about it. Most naturalists believe almond oil’s anti-inflammatory and nourishing effects are responsible for its benefits on the scalp and hair follicles. If you haven’t used almond oil on your hair before, trust us, it’s worth a try. Soft, shiny locks are what you’ll be left with.
Common hair problems almond oil can help treat are:
3. Split ends
How To Use Almond Oil For Hair
- Gently heat a tablespoon or two of almond oil. Applying gentle pressure with your fingertips, massage it into your scalp. Fold a towel (soaked in hot water) into a turban on your head, ensuring you cover all your strands, and leave it on for 30 minutes.19 Wash off with an organic shampoo and lukewarm water. This is helpful for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
- Almond oil can also be used as a leave-in conditioner. Being a light oil, it provides just the right amount of moisture and luster to your tresses. Apply a coin-sized quantity to damp hair, focusing on the ends of your strands.
Words Of Caution
- If you have a nut allergy, it is best you avoid almond oil – both consumption and topical application. Many topical ointments contain almond oil, so exercise caution.20
- Most commercially available almond oils are not pure almond oil but liquid paraffin (mineral oils). These contain only a small percentage of pure almond oil. Look for a reliable source of pure almond oil online or in your locality to maximize benefits from this nutty home remedy.
- Most commercial almond oils are also highly processed and unfit for consumption. Topical application is, thus, more advisable.
- Never use bitter almond oil without the recommendation of a certified health practitioner.
- Avoid consuming almond oil along with alcohol. There seems to be a negative metabolic interaction in the liver between the two.21
- If you are already on cholesterol or blood sugar lowering medications, consult your doctor before you include almond oil in your diet.
Now that you are empowered with the knowledge of almond oil, go forth and reap its benefits!
|↑1||Saidi, Hossein, and Shayan Shojaie. “Effect of sweet almond oil on survival rate and plasma cholinesterase activity of aluminum phosphide-intoxicated rats.” Human & experimental toxicology 31, no. 5 (2012): 518-522.|
|↑2, ↑4, ↑5, ↑12, ↑13, ↑14, ↑15||Ahmad, Zeeshan. “The uses and properties of almond oil.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 16, no. 1 (2010): 10-12.|
|↑3||Jia, Xiao-Yan, Qing-An Zhang, Zhi-Qi Zhang, Yan Wang, Jiang-Feng Yuan, Hong-Yuan Wang, and Di Zhao. “Hepatoprotective effects of almond oil against carbon tetrachloride induced liver injury in rats.” Food Chemistry 125, no. 2 (2011): 673-678.|
|↑6||Sasaki, Y., N. Iwai, O. Kimura, and M. Hibi. “The treatment of rectal prolapse in children with phenol in almond oil injection.” European journal of pediatric surgery 14, no. 06 (2004): 414-417.|
|↑7||Hyson, Dianne A., Barbara O. Schneeman, and Paul A. Davis. “Almonds and almond oil have similar effects on plasma lipids and LDL oxidation in healthy men and women.” The Journal of nutrition 132, no. 4 (2002): 703-707.|
|↑8||Mori, Alisa M., Robert V. Considine, and Richard D. Mattes. “Acute and second-meal effects of almond form in impaired glucose tolerant adults: a randomized crossover trial.” Nutrition & metabolism 8, no. 1 (2011): 6.|
|↑9||Peleva, Emilia, Stephanie Mourad, Dan Citra, and Sam J. Daniel. “Assessment of the ototoxicity of almond oil in a chinchilla animal model.” The Laryngoscope 121, no. 12 (2011): 2661-2664.|
|↑10||Aguiar, Alciara Alice de Almeida, and Nemre Adas Saliba. “Toothbrushing with vegetable oil: a clinical and laboratorial analysis.” Brazilian oral research 18, no. 2 (2004): 168-173.|
|↑11||Kapoor, Shweta, and Swarnlata Saraf. “Assessment of viscoelasticity and hydration effect of herbal moisturizers using bioengineering techniques.” Pharmacognosy magazine 6, no. 24 (2010): 298.|
|↑16||Sultana, Yasmin, Kanchan Kohli, M. Athar, R. K. Khar, and M. Aqil. “Effect of pre‐treatment of almond oil on ultraviolet B–induced cutaneous photoaging in mice.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology 6, no. 1 (2007): 14-19.|
|↑17||Timur Taşhan, Sermin, and Ayşe Kafkasli. “The effect of bitter almond oil and massaging on striae gravidarum in primiparaous women.” Journal of clinical nursing 21, no. 11‐12 (2012): 1570-1576.|
|↑18||Facchinetti, F., G. Pedrielli, G. Benoni, M. Joppi, G. Verlato, G. Dante, S. Balduzzi, and L. Cuzzolin. “Herbal supplements in pregnancy: unexpected results from a multicentre study.” Human reproduction 27, no. 11 (2012): 3161-3167.|
|↑19||Hair Loss. Lymphoma Association.|
|↑20||Guillet, G., and M. H. Guillet. “Percutaneous sensitization to almond oil in infancy and study of ointments in 27 children with food allergy.” Allergie et immunologie 32, no. 8 (2000): 309-311.|
|↑21||Messiha, F. S. “Effect of almond and anis oils on mouse liver alcohol dehydrogenase, aldehyde dehydrogenase and heart lactate dehydrogenase isoenzymes.” Toxicology letters 54, no. 2-3 (1990): 183-188.|