Therapeutic Action.—The Bitter Almonds are more or less poisonous to all animals, causing tremors, weakness, palsy, convulsions, and coma. On more they cause nausea, vomiting and purging, a feeling of intoxication, and in some instances a swelling of the face and head. In large doses they are capable of producing serious and even fatal results, showing that they are analogous to the prussic acid in their effects.
The Aqua Amygdalae Amarae, or distilled water of bitter almonds, is poisonous, whether taken internally or applied externally. The emulsion of the almonds is also poisonous.
They are but little used for medical purposes, although applicable to the relief of the same cases in which the prussic acid is suggested, such as gastrodynia, pertussis, phthisis, and other pulmonary affections.
They have also been exhibited in agues; to expel the tape-worm; to relieve pain in dysmenorrhoea, etc. The sedative action upon the nervous and vascular systems, together with their demulcent qualities, entitle them to our notice in cough and irritation of the respiratory organs.