The uses and properties of almond oil
Almond oil [Oleum amygdalae] has long been used in complementary medicine circles for its numerous health benefits. Although no conclusive scientific data exists currently, almonds and almond oil have many properties including anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting and anti-hepatotoxicity effects. Further, associations between almond oil and improved bowel transit have been made, which consequently reduces irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Further, some studies show a reduced incidence of colonic cancer. Moreover, cardiovascular benefits have also been identified with almond oil elevating the levels of so-called 'good cholesterol', high-density lipoproteins (HDL), whilst it reduces low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Historically, almond oil had been used in Ancient Chinese, Ayurvedic and Greco-Persian schools of Medicine to treat dry skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Further, it is through anecdotal evidence and clinical experiences that almond oil seemingly reduces hypertrophic scarring post-operatively, smoothes and rejuvenates skin. Almond oil has emollient and sclerosant properties and, therefore, has been used to improve complexion and skin tone. Further studies looking into the use of almond oil post-operatively for the reduction of scarring are suggested.
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ABSTRACT: Oil contents and fatty acid compositions were determined in 17 almond cultivars growing under two different Mediterranean conditions, in northeast Spain and in central Morocco. The major differences were irrigation management in Spain and higher temperatures in Morocco. Although a cultivar effect was observed for some compounds, the general trend was for an increase in total oil content [58.65% vs. 55.58% (w/w)] and in the percentage of oleic acid [71.1% vs. 68.62% (w/w)] in those kernels harvested in Spain, probably due to having lower temperatures and better water status. As the total oil content and level of oleic acid in almond oil are the major parameters for higher quality almond kernels, these results emphasise the need to optimise the management of almond orchards to improve kernel quality, not only from the commercial and industrial points of view, but also because of their healthgiving properties.
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ABSTRACT: Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose based edible films with and without antioxidant additives were characterised as to their microstructure, water vapour and oxygen permeability, mechanical behaviour, optical properties and protective ability against lipid oxidation. The corresponding film-forming dispersions were also used to coat toasted almonds in order to test their effectiveness at protecting against rancidity development. The efficiency of three additives (ascorbic acid, citric acid or ginger essential oil) was tested and compared with antioxidant-free coatings. A cross-linking effect in the film matrices containing ascorbic or citric acid was detected through the analysis of the film microstructure, mechanical behaviour and barrier properties to oxygen and water vapour. These films were the most effective protectors against oxidation of almonds, due to both their antioxidant effect and the tighter structure which leads to lower oxygen permeability. In films with ginger oil, the hydrophobic effect markedly reduced water vapour permeability at low temperatures, but protection against lipid oxidation was less effective at long storage times.
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