The health benefits of bitter almond essential oil can be attributed to its properties like vermifuge, febrifuge, bactericidal, germicidal, fungicidal, sedative, anesthetic, aperient, diuretic, anti intoxicating, anti carcinogenic, antispasmodic etc.
Bitter almond oil has various health benefits. Some of which include:
Febrifuge: The bitter elements have always been used as febrifuges. The reason behind it might be that all bitter elements contain alkaline compounds and are more or less toxic in nature. This toxicity and bitterness effectively inhibit the growth of infections in the body, thereby reducing fever. For the same reason, bitter almond oil, in very low doses, has also been in use as a febrifuge for frequent fevers.
Vermifuge: The acute bitterness and the poisonous nature of bitter almond oil are very effective in killing intestinal worms, but again, it should be administered in very low potency.
Bactericidal, Germicidal, Fungicidal and Anti Viral: The two components of bitter almond oil, hydrogen cyanide and benzaldehyde, are extremely toxic to animal life as well as to bacteria, germs, fungi and virus and thus can be efficiently employed as a bactericide, anti viral and fungicide. So, it can be used in curing ailments associated with infections from virus, germs and fungus.
Sedative ; Anesthetic: The toxic compound glycoside amygdalin, present in bitter almond oil, affect nerves and make them insensitive to any sensation (pain etc.), thus inducing numbness and anesthetic effects. But it should be applied externally for local anesthetic purpose only. Ingestion for total anesthetic purposes should never be attempted.
Aperient: Being toxic in nature, bitter almond oil cannot be digested and if ingested, cause frequent loose motions and vomiting. Thus it has been and is still in use as an effective purgative. The only thing is that the dose given should be very low and mild or it may have severe adverse effects.
Diuretic: The body has a natural tendency to remove the toxic substances getting inside the body through sweat, urine and excreta. That is why when bitter almond oil is ingested in very small amount, the body tends to throw it out through frequent urination. This frequent urination helps lose weight and relaxes the body. When combined with the anesthetic and tranquilizing effects of this oil, it successfully brings down the blood pressure.
Anti-carcinogenic: The toxicity of bitter almond oil is good on inhibiting growth of cancerous cells in certain cancer types.
Antispasmodic: Bitter almond oil is also said to possess antispasmodic properties.
Other Benefits: Application of very low concentration mixture with water on skin and hair keeps them free from infections from germs, insects and fungi. Bitter Almond oil, after removal of the toxic components, is used for flavoring edibles.