209. Amygdala amara.—Bitter almond. 209a. Oleum Amygdalae Amarae, U.S.—Oil of Bitter Almond.

Botanical name: 

The ripe seed of Pru'nus Amyg'dalus, var. Amara, De Candolle.

This is an oblong-ovate flattened seed with marked numerous longitudinal lines. Inodorous, bitter. Constituents: Fixed Oil, 45 per cent. and amygdalin a crystalline glycoside, which by the action of emulsin, a ferment existing in the seed in the presence of water, splits up into glucose, HCN and benzaldehyde. Used as a sedative. From the seed is extracted the fixed oil by expression, and, from the residue, the volatile oil by distillation.

209a. OLEUM AMYGDALAE AMARAE, U.S.—OIL OF BITTER ALMOND. A pale yellowish volatile oil obtained by macerating in water the residue left from bitter almonds after the fixed oil has been expressed, and distilling. It has a bitter, acrid taste, and a strong odor of hydrocyanic acid. It consists chiefly of benzoic aldehyde, to the oxidation of which is due the sediment, benzoic acid, thrown down on long exposure to air. The source from which it is derived in every case to be stated on the label. It should yield when assayed by the U.S.P. process not less than 85 per cent. of benzaldehyde and not less than 2 per cent. nor more than 4 per cent. of HCN. This oil is intended for medicinal use and not for flavoring foods. Sedative. Dose: ¼ to 1 drops (0.0164 to 0.0650 mil), in emulsion.


Aqua Amygdalae Amarae (0. 1 per cent.), Dose: ½ to 2 fl. dr. (2 to 8 mils).
Spiritus Amygdalae Amarae (1 per cent.), Dose: 5 drops (0.3 mil).

A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy, 1917, was written by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M.