A member of the rosaceae family, the almond tree is closely related to the plum, peach and apricot. Native to the Mediterranean and Southern Russia, the tree is cultivated in many Mediterranean countries, in addition to Western American countries and some parts of Australasia.
The tree grows to around 12 metres, and (at least in the Northern hemisphere), flowers in February and March, and bears an inedible drupe containing one or two nuts about 4-5 months later. An almond tree in flower is a remarkable sight - the whole tree covered in small, pink flowers with a sweet, light fragrance.
Pests and diseases include brown rot (most damaging) and peach leaf curl. There are also subject to a variety of pests which attack most of the common prunus species.
Harvesting is performed by beating or shaking the branches and gathering the fallen fruit - the nut is removed as early as possible. Trees typically bear fruit for 10 - 15 years.
The nut may be eaten whole, being a good source of fatty acids (oleic, linolenic, myristic and palmitic acids), with Vitamin D, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and zinc. The oil produced when the nut is cold pressed has been used in various cosmetics and emollient skincare products since Roman times (although archaeological evidence shows use of the nut as food since about 3000BC). It is frequently used by aromatherapists, as a carrier, or base oil.
Warnings. Almond oil should not be used in aromatherapy if one is allergic to nuts - some people may have a sensitivity to almonds - always check before using it. Eating too many of the nuts, especially wild nuts can also be dangerous, as they contain trace amounts of harmful chemicals - see the other write-ups.
Aromatherapy is not a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you have a health condition, consult your physician. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, consult your doctor before using any aromatherapy products. Do not take essential oils internally. Keep essential oils and all aromatherapy products out of the reach of children. - http://www.celestialtouch.com