Member of the Rose Family
Almonds come from a tree or shrub which is a member of the rose family.
The almond fruit is produced mainly on the previous year's growth. Almonds are generally grown in warm climates such as the Middle East and in the US in California.
Almonds were an important item of trade during the Middle Ages. Both the kernals and the oil are used commercially in the manufacture of medicines, massage oils, skincare preparations and cosmetics.
Almond as an Herb for Medicinal Uses
Parts Used of Almond as an Herb
Parts of the almond used as an herb are the nuts and oil from the nuts are used as an herb. The leaves are used for dye.
Considered to be demulcent, emollient and useful in lung and chest complaints. In Ayurvedic medicine the sweet almond is used as a laxative.
Almond oil is shown to reduce serum cholesterol levels. The Chinese have used the oil of almonds for thousands of years as a local anesthetic and muscle relaxer. They also combine it with ephedra for conditions associated with kidney weakness.
Make a milky drink by using the nuts finely ground in water. Use to treat fever, chest coughs and for nutrition for invalids. It may also be useful in cases of bronchitis and asthma.
For heartburn, try peeling and eating 6 to 8 almonds.
Almond milk may be helpful in cases of Celiac disease as a source of protein.
Cradle cap in babies may respond to a lower fat diet and the inclusion of almond milk in the diet. A little almond cream mixed in fruit juice (use blender) is helpful when beginning to place an infant on solid food for the extra nutrition it provides.
Almond oil is emollient that is good for dry skin. The shelf life of the oil is about 10 months. Almond meal (made by grinding the nuts into a powder) is useful in cleansing the skin, especially to remove oil and dirt. A handful of the meal makes a good facial scrub. Almond oil and almond butter are used to moisturize and soften the skin. The oil is rubbed onto rough skin to soften it.
A facial mask is made by combining the powdered nuts with a liquid until a paste is formed. The mashed fruit is also useful when mixed with warm olive oil to form a spreadable paste for use as a dry skin moisturizer (also supplies Vitamin A).
Culinary Uses of Almond
Almonds are rich in potassium and also contain vitamins E, B1, B2, niacin, iron and magnesium. Almond nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fats and provide a good non-dairy source of calcium (1 ounce of nuts equals about 10 percent of the RDA). It is also a source of protein. Almond butter can be substituted for peanut butter in this regard and is usually tolerated well by diabetics.
It is always best to go with raw almonds for the most nutritional benefit. Raw almonds are creamy, light and fresh. Always all-natural. Don't forget - they are high in the vital nutrients protein, calcium and zinc.
Easy Home Made Almond Milk
Powder 1 ounce of almonds and combine with 1 quart of water in food processor or blender.
Almond Chia Delight
This slightly sweet, creamy drink is perfect to round out breakfast, but it also makes a great snack or a healthy dessert after dinner. The recipe is versatile. Have fun customizing it by using different milks, nut butters, and even fruits.
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon almond butter
Optional: Dash of almond or vanilla extract
Optional: Small amount of natural sweetener (such as honey, brown rice syrup, agave, Stevia, etc.)
Add all ingredients to a blender and liquefy using the most powerful setting. Blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Two servings.
Folklore and Christianity
Since the tree/shrub blossoms in early spring, it is considered to be a symbol of hope. In Greek legend it is associated with the Thracian princess Phyllis who was abandoned on her wedding day by the Greek prince Demophon. She died of a broken heart after waiting a number of years for his return. The gods, being sympathetic to her plight, transformed her into an almond tree.
In Christian medieval art, the almond is a symbol of divine approval as based on the Biblical passage Numbers 17:1-8.
Numbers 17:1-8. King James Version (KJV)
- And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
- Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod.
- And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers.
- And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you.
- And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.
- And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods.
- And Moses laid up the rods before the Lord in the tabernacle of witness.
- And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.
The verse relates the story of Aaron's rod and how it came to bloom and set forth fruit as an indication of God's approval of the tribe of Levi being to serve as the priests of Israel.
The brown covering of the almond nut should be removed before eaten by small children or elderly people or those with a weakened condition. This covering is difficult to digest unless thoroughly chewed, but can be removed by dipping the nuts briefly in boiling water (process is called blanching).
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