Also known as Oleum amygadalae, almond oil comes from almonds, which are seeds of fruit that grow on almond trees. The seeds fall into two categories – bitter and sweet almonds. The oil derived from the seeds has a long history of complementary medicine; however, more comprehensive scientific research is needed to confirm the reported medical benefits of almond oil.
One of the several medicinal uses of almond oil is as a gentle laxative for those with digestive problems. An oral dose of 30 ml can effectively relieve constipation. Almond oil can also be mixed with drinks or other food in case its taste is found disagreeable to the user.
Almond oil has also been found to possess very high hydrating and moisturizing properties, and thus acts as a good and natural moisturizer for the face. It should be kept in mind though that it is a very rich oil, and thus a very little amount would produce a satisfying effect. A small amount dabbed around the eye each night can be applied to hydrate and prevent wrinkles, and it can also be used for soothing chapped lips.
Due to its rich content of hydrating and moisturizing oils, including oleic and linoleic essential fatty acids, almond oil can be used on the hair for rich conditioning. After drying and styling the hair, a very small amount of almond oil on the fingertips should be used to smooth through the dry ends of the hair, giving them a soft and supple appearance. Brittle nails and cuticles also benefit from almond oil in a similar manner.
Almond oil has also proved useful for use in perineal massage, prior to labor, and it is very soothing to the body while in labor. An episiotomy can be avoided by using almond oil to promote stretching.
Another common use for almond oil is as an antibacterial cleanser for wounds due to its effective antimicrobial properties that render it an excellent yet gentle disinfectant for open wounds. A clean wound reduces the incidence of infection and promotes faster healing.
Lastly, almond oil has proven a good alternative for massage oil since it retains the same moisturizing properties that a typical massage oil would have. Warmed in the microwave, the fatty acid content of the oil can soothe tired and aching muscles.