Bitter almonds side effects

Bitter almonds properties


Scientific noun: Prunus amygdalus var.amara

Family: Rose family – Rosaceae.

Habitat: Native from Asia. It is cultivated in warm Mediterranean places, sometimes naturalized.

Composition of bitter almonds

  • Proteins, minerals (aluminum, antimony, cadmium, calcium., cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, etc)
  • Oleic, palmitic and oxalic acids,
  • Vitamins: Vitamin A and vitamin B, mainly.
  • Amygdalin: Amygdalin is a glycoside, which, by means of enzyme emulsin, in contact with saliva becomes hydrocyanic acid, a strong poison.
  • Amino acids: Arginine, histidine, tyrosine, niacin, leucine, glycine…etc

Active parts: Almonds of this variety (var. amara) Sweet almonds, when raw, also contain amygdalin, in less quantity, so it is not convenient to eat almonds until ripe. When fully matured, they loose this poison.

For more information about sweet almond and its properties as a medicinal plant consult the section medicinal plants of Botanical


Medicinal uses of bitter almonds

Bitter almonds are used as spices. Essential oil, besides being used in perfume industries, is is used as an antispasmodic of digestive tract, besides hypertension, flu, etc.

Since it contains dangerous components, it is better not to use it in homemade products.


Toxicity of bitter almonds

The toxicity of bitter almonds is very high. To eat bitter almonds is very dangerous (20 almonds are a lethal dose for adults; about 10 for children) It is also very risky to use the essential oil and the distilled water obtained from bitter almonds.

Symptoms of poisoning with bitter almonds

The main symptoms of eating bitter almonds are:

  • In small amounts: Suffocation, bad breath, vomiting
  • In bigger doses: dizziness, heart beat acceleration, respiratory breakdown and death.

punto rojo More information about plants.

This article was endorsed by Vicente Martínez Centelles - Founder of the web and director. Teacher of natural sciences, expert in plants, natural remedies and botanical photography.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

21 November, 2023

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