Oleum Amygdalae, B.P., Almond Oil.

Botanical name: 

Related entries: Bitter almond, Sweet almond - Sweet almond - Oil of Bitter Almond

Almond oil (Oleum Amygdalae Expressum, U.S.P.; Expressed Oil of Almond) is extracted by pressure from bitter or sweet almonds, in which it exists to the extent of about 40 per cent. It occurs as a clear, pale yellow, almost odourless, oily liquid, and has a bland, nutty taste. Specific gravity, 0.915 to 0.920 (0.910 to 0.915 at 25°). It should remain clear at a temperature of -10°, and should not congeal until it has been cooled to nearly -20° (absence of olive oil and lard oil). If 10 mils of the oil be mixed with 15 mils of a 15 per cent. solution of sodium hydroxide and 10 mils of alcohol, the mixture allowed to stand at a temperature of 35° to 40°, with occasional agitation, until clear, and then diluted with 100 mils of water, the clear solution thus obtained will, upon the subsequent addition of excess of hydrochloric acid, set free a layer of oleic acid, which, when separated, washed with warm water, and clarified by heating on a water-bath, will remain liquid if cooled to 15°. The fatty acid should also, on being mixed with an equal volume of alcohol (95 per cent.), yield a clear solution at 15°, and not deposit any fatty acids, nor become turbid on the further addition of one volume of alcohol (distinction from olive, arachis, cotton seed, sesame, and other fixed oils). The saponification value is from 188 to 200, and the iodine value from 95 to 100. Apricot kernel oil has a higher iodine value than almond oil, and is often substituted for it, or used to adulterate it.

Slightly soluble in alcohol, in ether (1 in 2.25), in chloroform or benzene in all proportions.

Constituents.—Almond oil consists chiefly of olein, with a small proportion of the glyceride of linolic acid, and other glycerides; it contains no stearin.

Action and Uses.—The oil is nutritive, demulcent, and laxative. It may be administered in the form of an emulsion. It is applied externally as an emollient for chapped hands and slight excoriations. It becomes rancid less readily than olive oil, and forms a whiter ointment with white wax and spermaceti; it is therefore preferred in the preparation of cold creams and similar toilet articles. It is the basis of many brilliantines and is added to lotions for the hair. Mixed with an equal quantity of lime water, one-eighth of its bulk of glycerin, and a suitable perfume, it forms "Glycerin and Lime Cream," a popular application for the hair. As a mild laxative dose for children, 4 mils (1 fluid drachm) of the oil maybe given. Sterilised almond oil is prepared by heating it for half an hour at 120° to 140° in small flasks or bottles, the necks of which are tightly plugged with cotton wool.

Dose.—4 to 16 mils (1 to 4 fluid drachms).


Ceratum Galeni, B.P.C.—GALEN'S CERATE. Syn.—Unguentum Refrigerans; Cold Cream; Parogen Cold Cream.
Almond oil, 50; white beeswax, 12.5; soft paraffin, white, 12.5; borax, 1; oil of rose, 0.1; rose water (undiluted), 25. Especially suitable for toilet use. If a similar preparation be required as a basis for medicaments the borax should be omitted, or preference should be given to the modification of Unguentum Aquae Rosae.
Emulsio Olei Amygdalae, B.P.C.—EMULSION OF ALMOND OIL. 1 in 8.
Used as a simple cough mixture. Dose.—8 to 30 mils (2 to 8 fluid drachms).
Lotio Crinalis, B.P.C.—HAIR LOTION.
Almond oil, 12.5; strong solution of ammonia, 12.5; oil of rosemary, 0.52; alcohol, 50; honey water to 100.
Sir Charles Locock's hair lotion or wash is prepared by mixing 120 grains of expressed oil of nutmeg or mace, 4 fluid ounces of spirit of rosemary, and 1 fluid ounce of olive oil, 2 fluid drachms of solution of ammonia, and 10 fluid ounces of rose water.

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.