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Aqua Amygdalae Amarae. U. S. Bitter Almond Water.

Botanical name:

Aq. Amygd. Amar.

Related entry: Amygdala amara - Oleum Amygdalae Amarae

Eau d'Amandes ameres, Fr.; Aqua Amygdalarum Amararum, P. G.; Bittermandelwasser, G.; Acqua distillata di mandorle amare, It.; Agua de almendras amargas, Sp.

"Oil of Bitter Almond, one mil [or 16 minims]; Distilled Water, recently boiled, nine hundred and ninety-nine mils [or 33 fluidounces, 6 fluidrachms, 14 minims], to make one thousand mils [or 33 fluidounces, 6 1/2 fluidrachms]. Dissolve the oil of bitter almond in the recently boiled distilled water by agitation, and filter. Note: Bitter Almond Water contains a mere trace of hydrocyanic acid and differs from the preparation of the same name, recommended by the International Protocol, 1906, which contains 0.1 per cent. of hydrocyanic acid." U. S.

Owing to the almost universal employment at this time of artificial oil of bitter almond (or benzaldehyde), which is free from hydrocyanic acid (such oil being much cheaper than that made from bitter almond), the bitter almond water of pharmacy cannot be relied upon as a medicinal agent, but is used mainly as a pleasant vehicle, but the requirements of the TJ. S. P. IX are that the oil of bitter almond shall contain not less than 85 per cent. of benzaldehyde, and not less than 2 per cent. nor more than 4 per cent. of hydrocyanic acid, hence the use of benzaldehyde (see Benzaldehyde) is no longer permissible and care must be exercised not to prescribe a larger dose of the water to begin with than two teaspoonfuls (7.5 mils). Its principal use in this country is as a vehicle, many physicians prescribing it not for its medicinal virtues, but on account of its agreeable taste and powers of masking the taste of saline substances. The process for Aqua amygdalarum amararum of the German Pharmacopoeia directs that 12 parts of bruised bitter almonds shall be expressed without heat, so as to remove as much fixed oil as possible; the press-cake is powdered, mixed thoroughly with 20 parts of water, and 9 parts distilled off into a receiver containing 3 parts of alcohol; the distillate is assayed to determine the percentage of hydrocyanic acid, and then diluted with a mixture of 1 part of alcohol and 3 parts of water, so that 1000 parts of the final product shall contain 1. part of hydrocyanic acid.

Under the name of chloral hydrocyanate a substance has been introduced for making cherry-laurel or bitter almond water extemporaneously. It occurs in white, translucent, rhombic prisms, soluble in water, alcohol, and ether. It has the odor of hydrocyanic acid and chloral, and is said to be a very stable compound. A solution of 6.5 grains of the salt in 1000 grains of distilled water corresponds with the official bitter almond water of the German Pharmacopoeia, which is 1 to 1000. (Merck's Bulletin.)

Dose, one fluidrachm (3.75 mils).


The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.



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