Almonds make an appearance in the Old Testament, leading historians to concur that this nut (which is actually a seed!) was one of the earliest foods harvested by humans. Discover almond's health benefits.
The almond is thought to have originated in China – although some do say it was born in the Middle East – and may have been introduced to other countries along the Silk Road by traders. We know that it was present in the Mediterranean and the Middle East before Christ; they were fed to Egyptian pharaohs. In the folklore of some Asian cultures, almonds are a charm against memory loss when you soak them in water before eating.
The almond tree flowers at the end of the winter, and its fruit is harvested twice a year. Standing at 20 to 30 feet tall, almond trees are sturdy giants even if almonds themselves are potent miniatures.
In ancient Rome, almonds were known as Greek nuts because they came to Rome via that part of the world. Their flavour was so esteemed that sugared almonds were gifted to great men on special occasions. Thought to nourish fertility, almonds were also showered over happy new couples at Roman weddings; people savoured them with honey in ancient Greece.
Before Hollywood and before Californian cuisine, El Camino Real (The Royal Road) extended north from San Diego to Sonoma by the Pacific Ocean. In the mid-1700s, Spanish priests, the Franciscan Padres, built grand missions along the road. Almond trees were cultivated outside these elegant buildings – the ancestors of today’s Californian almond trees, which yield 80% of the world’s almonds.
The stream of almond joy has kept on flowing right into the present day. Almond milks, flours, and butters are staples in contemporary refrigerators. And, almonds feature in any number of wonderfully naughty chocolate bars – including, of course, Hershey’s Almond Joy. However, wisdom on almonds is one of the few times we encourage you to disregard the words of the French novelist Colette, who said, “Don’t eat too many almonds, they add weight to the breasts.”
Bitter or sweet?
There are two varieties of almond oil – bitter and sweet – which come from different types of almond trees. Bitter almond oil, an essential oil, is ideal for scent, while sweet almond oil is a fixed oil; coconut oil and olive oil also belong to this group, which many use as carrier or base oils.
Sweet almond oil, or Prunus amygdalus dulcis, is made from pressed almonds. Ayurvedic, Ancient Chinese, and Greco-Persian medicine featured almond’s health benefits; today, different cultures enjoy it in food or apply directly onto the skin and hair for deep nourishment. Sweet almond oil also nurtures with its unsaturated fatty acids including olein glyceride linoleic acid. Moreover, it contains phytosterols, vitamin E and vitamin A. Quickly absorbed into the skin, this natural oil will not leave a greasy residue and is used in many cosmetics.
"A study has also shown that sweet almond oil helps reduce stretch marks on the stomach and lessens irritation."
What can sweet almond oil do for me?
Sweet almond oil can fight off free radical damage. With the increasingly toxic environment of our world, it is ever more important to supply your skin with antioxidants to fight off free radicals. Free radicals contribute to overall ill health as well as weakening of the collagen of the skin, which acts as a pillow or cushion for supporting and smoothing the skin. You could think of a spoonful of sweet almond oil, abundant in Vitamin E and other antioxidants, doing for your face what plumping up the pillows on your bed does – only this is much tastier!(1) Research shows that sweet almond oil can also help repair damage to your skin from UV radiation by lessening the harm done to your DNA by the sun.(2) One tablespoon of sweet almond oil a day, as recommended by Erbology, equals about a quarter of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E.(3)
Working right in tandem with the Vitamin E in this oil are the monounsaturated fatty acids, (MUFAs) which lock in precious moisture and help to keep your skin properly irrigated. MUFAs are also incredibly beneficial for heart health, because they elevate good cholesterol (HDL, high-density lipoproteins) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL, low-density lipoproteins). The fatty acids in sweet almond oil also make it anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting.
Almond oil is excellent to apply on the skin
Sweet almond oil is a medium-light oil which is non-comedogenic, so it does not block sensitive pores and the vitamin A in it will indeed clear your pores of nasty dirt and excess oil, which blackheads, whiteheads, and acne feed hungrily on.(4) Also, sweet almond oil will help even out your skin tone and complexion.
That’s far from everything! Applied externally, sweet almond oil will help with those deep shadows under your eyes and can act as a wonderfully natural makeup remover. Indulge your lips, nails, cuticle, scalp, and hair with this oil, which heals and strengthens as it rehydrates. Use sweet almond oil as a night oil to heighten the effects of the Vitamin E that it contains.
A study has also shown that sweet almond oil helps reduce stretch marks on the stomach and lessens irritation. It may be able to act in the same way on other discolourations across your body, thanks to its emollient and sclerosant properties.
We know that sweet almond oil can also act as a mild disinfectant on minor wounds, and most definitely that it is lovely massage oil. It also works extremely well as carrier oil for essential oils. If that wasn’t enough, you can use almond oil as an overall body butter, shaving oil, or as a facial scrub!
Up for discussion…..
Miraculously, as long as almonds have been around – remember, we’re talking the exoticism of ancient Rome, the Old Testament, and the Silk Road – we are still discovering more about what sweet almond oil can do for us. Studies have shown that it can help combat colonic cancer, but further work is needed before conclusive results can be cited.(5) Researchers are looking into its possible uses after surgery to help heal scars. The jury is still out on that one, but it’s an exciting likelihood. Another use of sweet almond oil that researchers are currently investigating is its laxative properties.
Is refined almond oil better?
Words can be quite confusing! Refined almond oil may sound purer, but it’s actually produced by machines, sometimes via a process involving chemicals, and has less flavour. It is more suitable for use as cooking oil because it can withstand higher temperatures than cold pressed oils can.
Cold-pressed almond oil – like the one produced by Erbology – is artisan oil that retains all flavour. Because the way that this oil is processed is not as harsh, all the valuable nutritional advantages are left intact.
Erbology also uses only organic almonds, grown without herbicides or pesticides sprayed onto the trees. This means that the almond passes the health benefits directly onto you with much less toxic interference. According to the US Department of Agriculture, non-organic almonds are often sprayed with chemicals including neurotoxins, hormone disruptors, and carcinogens.(6)
Cooking with sweet almond oil
Sweet almond oil is extremely delicate in flavour, almost neutral with just a hint of nuttiness to it. We suggest showcasing its essence by using it in marinades, vinaigrettes, and dressings. Or, you can use it as finishing oil on salads, pastas, and soups. You could also use it to accentuate fruits and seeds or in healthy puddings, where it will subtly indulge and satisfy your sweet tooth.
If you normally make your morning smoothie with ingredients rich in pro-vitamin A, like carrots and apricots, or vitamin K, like kale and spinach, almond oil would be an excellent addition. Pro-vitamin A and vitamin K are fat-soluble nutrients. This means that you can best reap their benefits when digesting with healthy fats like these found in almond oil.
Key sweet almond oil benefits
- The particular sweetness of sweet almond oil deeply nourishes skin and hair, including cuticle, scalp, nails, and lips
- Non-comedogenic and helps with acne
- Rich in vitamin A and E and nutrients that help fight the cell damage caused by free radicals
- Helps combat damage done to your skin by the sun
- Use as a natural makeup remover
- Combat dark under-eye circles
- Supports a healthy heart
- Anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting
- A subtle, light oil that is lovely on a wide variety of dishes
Erbology Sweet Almond Oil
Erbology Sweet Almond Oil is organic and cold-pressed. This preparation method means that valuable chemical compounds native to the oil will remain wholly intact. Erbology Sweet Almond Oil is vegan, gluten-free and clean of any preservatives or genetic modifications.
Recipes featuring sweet almond oil
Very few things are more homey than baking – especially when there’s a chill in the air. There is nothing like entering a room full of sweet, warm scents that wrap around you more indulgently than the finest cashmere. They whet the appetite for rich flavours. It’s these sensual memories that often scare people off becoming fully vegan – but delicious vegan baking is more than possible! Let us prove it to you with this recipe for Apple bread with sweet almond oil. Depending on your dietary needs, you can substitute different types of flour. We do not even need honey to sweeten the bread – just apple sauce, coconut sugar, and enlivening turmeric, lemon zest, and apple cider vinegar. The subtlety of the almond oil adds a succulent depth to this recipe.
Appropriately enough, dates accompany almonds in the Old Testament. They make for an elegant pair in the garnish to this bread, together providing just the right balance of honeyed stickiness and clean crunch.
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(1) Abid Keen, Mohammad and Hassa, Iffat, “Vitamin E in dermatology”, Indian Dermatology Online, Jul-August 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4976416/.
(2) Sultana et al, “Effect of pre-treatment of almond oil on ultraviolet B-induced cutaneous photoaging in mice.” J Cosmet Dermatology, March 2007, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17348990.
(3) Kubala, Jillian, MS, RD, “Health Benefits and Uses of Almond Oil,” 30 December 2017,https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/almond-oil#section3.
(4) Kotori, Merita Grajqevci, “Low-dose Vitamin “A” Tablets–treatment of Acne Vulgaris,” Med Arch, February 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4384860/.
(5) Ahmad, Zeeshan, “The uses and properties of almond oil,” Complementary therapies in clinical practices, February 2010, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/41404356_The_uses_and_properties_of_almond_oil.
(6) “9 Pesticide Residues Found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program”, http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=AL.