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(Sweet) Almond - Prunis dulcis

The Almond tree has purplish-black bark, deeply cracked into small square patches, and can reach heights of about 6m. Although native of West Asia and North Africa it is now widely cultivated in warm regions for its seeds [almond nuts]. The pink flowers, or white as in some cultivated varieties, open before the leaves, which are dark green, or yellowish-green and are oval shaped with a pointed tip and finely toothed edge. The leaves are often folded along the midrib into a V shape.

The Romans regarded eating almonds as the ideal method of countering the effect of alcohol, and Gerard concurs that “5 or 6 being taken fasting do keepe a man from being drunk” [1597]. They are also a good source of iron - excellent for anaemia and iron deficiency sufferers.

The oil makes a wonderful carrier oil, and is very good for the skin - nourishing and healing, and particularly effective at keeping the skin spot and blemish free! Ground almonds / almond meal makes a sumptuous face mask - make some into a paste by combining it with some milk (or almond oil if you prefer not to use milk) and spread over your face and neck - sit back and relax for 10 minutes, or as long as you like, before washing it off in circular motions. Your face will feel beautifully exfoliated, smooth and nourished! You can add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil to the mixture if you desire - I like to add a little marjoram if I’m feeling hassled, or need my spirits lifting...bliss....

You can also make yourself a healing bath by putting some ground almonds into a linen bag, or piece of cloth, and then adding it to the bath, or tying it underneath the bath taps when filling up.

If you suffer from dry hands, treat yourself to a smothering of almond oil just before you retire for the night. If you have any cotton gloves, you could wear these overnight to keep the oil from ruining your bed sheets, at the same time as giving your hands a mini-oil ‘sauna’ - you will awake to smooth, nourished hands, and your skin will love you!


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