Bitter Almond Essential Oil

Bitter Almond Tree (Prunus Dulcis, var. Amara) is mostly cultivated in Mediterranean countries.  Bitter almonds are bitter to taste and they are not eaten or used in recipes because they are extremely poisonous. These almonds contain Hydrogen Cyanide which when ingested can lead to headache, upset stomach, vomiting or in worse cases, death. It is hard to distinguish a bitter almond from a sweet almond but it is observed that bitter almonds are broader and shorter than sweet almonds.  From these bitter almonds, Bitter Almond Essential Oil is derived.

Bitter Almond Essential Oil is oil derived from wild almond trees commonly found in Pakistan, Israel and Turkey. This tree is distinct for its height and for its pinkish and red coloured flowers. Its fruits are characterized by velvety drupes. Bitter Almond has a wonderful intense aroma that that is a mixture of sweet and nutty fragrances but it should be used with extreme caution. Historically, this essential oil has been used in small amounts for flavouring of food and as ingredient to medicine but because it was eventually discovered that it has toxic properties, use has been discontinued. Bitter Almond Essential Oil should not be mistaken for the common Sweet Almond oil that is widely used as food flavouring and for its various therapeutic benefits.

Bitter Almond Essential Oil Benefits

The following are the known benefits of Bitter Almond Essential Oil:

  • Prevents bacterial and fungal infection
  • Lessens fever
  • Kills intestinal worms
  • Acts as sedative
  • Acts as anaesthesia
  • Soothes the muscles and prevent spasms of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Laxative
  • Helps in cleansing the body through frequent urination
  • Inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the body
  • Natural tranquilizer that can relax the body and reduce blood pressure
  • Skin moisturizer

Although it is known to contain toxic substances, Bitter Almond Essential Oil can provide a delightful sweet maraschino cherry like scent. Its use is limited to external use and in very rare cases, that is required to be taken internally, it should be in very low dosage only. Bitter Almond Essential Oil is composed of Benzaldehyde which is the substance that caused its bitter flavour. It also contains the enzyme emulsion a substance that when diluted with water acts on soluble Glucoside Amygdalin, Prussic Acid and Prunasin. Again, caution should be practiced because even one almond can yield 4-9mg of hydrogen cyanide which is known to be poisonous in nature.

During the ancient times, Bitter Almond Essential Oil was used in Rome to help get rid of intestinal parasites and cure erratic fevers. In the middle Ages, this essential oil has been used as laxative and diuretic. But today, although it is used for cosmetics, soap and for aromatherapy, its commercial distribution is banned especially in the United States and parts of Europe. Advancement in technology has helped find ways in eliminating the toxic substance from Bitter Almond Essential oil. In this state, this essential oil can be used as massage oil or flavouring edibles but it is still risky and should be used with extreme caution.

Bitter Almond Essential Oil Uses

  1. Bitter Almond Essential Oil as Antibacterial, Antifungal and Anti-viral. Because of its toxic nature, this essential oil inhibits the production and growth of bacteria, fungi and virus in the body. This can also help in treating diseases or infections caused by these bacteria, virus, germs and fungi.
  2. Bitter Almond Essential Oil to Cure reoccurring Fever. In low dosages, this essential oil can help cure fever especially chronic fever and prevents it from coming back.
  3. Bitter Almond Essential Oil as Vermifuge. Bitter Almond Essential Oil can help in killing intestinal worms inside the body. Again, this should be used in very small amounts and upon the recommendation of your physician.
  4. Bitter Almond Essential Oil as Sedative. This oil can calm the nerves and produce a calming effect.
  5. Bitter Almond Essential Oil as Antispasmodic. This oil can induce muscle relaxation and prevent spasms in the gastrointestinal tract.
  6. Bitter Almond Essential Oil as Anaesthesia. Bitter Almond Essential Oil can induce numbness and make the body unresponsive to soreness or any sensation.
  7. Bitter Almond Essential Oil as Diuretic. When Bitter Almond Essential Oil is ingested in small amounts, the body will react naturally through sweat, frequent urination or loose bowel movement. This can cleanse the body inside and even promote weight loss and relaxation.
  8. Bitter Almond Essential Oil for Cancer Prevention. This oil has ant carcinogenic properties that are caused by its toxic components hydrogen cyanide or hydrocyanic acid. This can prevent the progression of cancer cells in the body.
  9. Bitter Almond Essential Oil for Healthy Blood Pressure. Because Bitter Almond Essential Oil can relax the muscles and the whole body, this is also effective in lowering or normalizing the blood pressure.
  10. Bitter Almond Essential Oil as Skin Moisturizer. This oil when combined with other oils or cosmetics can be effective in treating dry and flaky skin.

Bitter Almond Essential Oil Side Effects

Bitter Almond Essential Oil should be used under medical supervision even in very small amounts because this can cause dizziness, stomach aches and vomiting. When taken internally in large amounts, this essential oil can be fatal.

Keep out of reach of children because when mistakenly used, sudden death may occur.

Pregnant and lactating mothers should never use Bitter Almond Essential Oil.

How to Use Bitter Almond Essential Oil

Bitter Almond Essential Oil can be used in a variety of ways. This includes aromatherapy, internally or externally as ingredient to candle and cosmetics.

  1. This oil has a rich aroma that resembles a strong black cherry scent so inhaling it can produce a soothing effect to the body.
  2. Use only under professional medical advice and supervision but this can be ingested in very low dosage to treat intestinal worms or as tranquilizer.
  3. This essential oil has a distinct smell that can be added as ingredient to skin moisturizer, massage oil, shampoo, makeup remover, candles and soaps.

How to Make Bitter Almond Essential Oil

Bitter Almond Essential Oil is extracted by separating the kernels from the shells, crushing it until a paste is produced. This paste will then undergo a Malaxation process, a process wherein slow stirring under low heat will yield oil. Pressure is then applied to the paste to further extract the oil.

Bitter Almond Essential Oil Recipe

To make your own Bitter Almond Essential Oil here are the things that you need to prepare:

Things you’ll need:

  • Bitter almond seeds
  • Water
  • Alembic pot still
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Glass mixing bowl
  • Dark glass bottle with seal


  1. Separate the kernels from the shells of the bitter almond nut. Only get the good seeds and discard the bruised ones.
  2. Using the mortar and pestle, crush the seeds to create a powder.
  3. In a glass mixing bowl, gently add water to make a paste.
  4. Leave the mixture overnight to make the almond paste soften and for the enzymes to act.
  5. After 24 hours, place your mixture in the alembic pot still. Make sure that you watch it while it cooks because it might dry up.
  6. Once you yielded enough oil, you can put it in the pot again for further distillation which can produce more concentrated oil.
  7. Pour in the oil that was produced in a dark coloured bottle and seal tightly.

Where to Buy Bitter Almond Essential Oil

This essential oil is not normally available in your local health store or grocery but this can be bought online through EBay or Amazon. Com. You may also avail of Bitter Almond Essential Oil directly from trusted essential oil manufacturers such as Eden Botanicals and Living Strong.

More Information on Bitter Almond Essential Oil

  • Bitter Almond Essential Oil is non-existent in the nuts in their ordinary state.
  • Today, the prussic acid in the Bitter Almond Essential Oil is removed from the kernel to reduce its toxicity.
  • This oil has a sweet, pleasing cherry like aroma so keep out of reach of children because they may mistake it for a sweet beverage.
  • If you have Bitter Almond Essential Oil on hand, make sure that you store it in a cool and dry place away from the sunlight because this oil can become rancid and evaporate quickly.