Almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch.):

A Latest Review on Pharmacology and Medicinal uses

 

Diksha Singh1, Kashmira J. Gohil1, Rekha T. Rajput2, Vikash Sharma1

1Department of Pharmacology, Anand College of Pharmacy, SGI Agra - 282007.

2Department of Pharmacognosy, Anand College of Pharmacy, SGI Agra - 282007.

*Corresponding Author E-mail: vikassharma10588@gmail.com

 

ABSTRACT:

Prunus amygdalus (Batsch.) is an important medicinal plant and belongs to the family Rosaceae. It is known as Badam in Hindi and almond in English. The nutritional and medicinal properties of badam fruit are related to its kernel. It has been therapeutic uses for constipation, headache, heart weakness, diarrhea, sedative, amnesia, peptic ulcer, leprosy, polyuria, facial paralysis, Cough, Sexual disability, leprosy, etc. Kaempferol-3-xylosylglucoside and Quercitin are common chemical properties. Almond oil contains the source of vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, E, D, and also contains calcium and magnesium. The preclinical studies mainly depend on flavonoids, phenol, alkaloid, and saponins, tannins. The present review provides comprehensive information of the plant on its Pharmacognostical and Pharmacological profile including its preclinical and clinical studies/ clinical trial and nutritional value in different varieties.

 

KEYWORDS: Prunus amygdalus (PA), Badam, Almond, Pharmacological action of Prunus amygdalus, Preclinical and Clinical study, Medicinal use.

 

 


INTRODUCTION:

The seed of Almond “Prunus amygdalus (Batsch.)” belongs to the family Rosacea, sub-family Prunoideae, and other species of Badam is Prunus dulcis (Miller) and Amygdalus communis (Linn.)1. In the Unani system of medicine, Badam was characterized based on the taste is Badam Shireen is sweet almond and Badam Talkh is bitter almond2. Three types of almonds that produce nuts are available, some of which are edible and some of which are non-edible. Edible sweet nuts are produced by one variety of almonds; one produces non-edible bitter and poisonous nuts, while a combination of both sweet and bitter almonds is the third variety. In the market, two major types of Badam can be classified as sweet almond “Prunus amygdalus Dulcis” and bitter almond “Prunus amygdalus Amara”3. Based on their flower color, bitter and sweet almond growing plants can be described.

 

Bitter almonds produce pinkish-colored flowers, while sweet almond flowers are white3. Almond fruits have three parts – Hull (green part or mesocarp), shell (endocarp), Kernal or Seed (covered with brown skin, exocarp4. In the badam fruits, kernels are high in nutrition, and hulls and shells were used in burned as fuel and livestock feed5. Its fruit kernel presents a high level of unsaturated fatty acid, like monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), an important dietary supplement for nutrition, diet, and human health6. It also contains fat, protein, vitamin, flavonoids, fatty acids, and essential minerals2. It is reported that the replacement of half of the daily fat intake with nuts substantially decreases total and LDL cholesterol levels in humans and the most important nut in the diet is Badam (Almond)7.

 

The most widely consumed tree nuts in the world are badam. Badam is used as an important ingredient in many Ayurvedic formulations. Almond is indigenous to countries in western and central Asia. It has been cultivated by China since the tenth century B.C. It has also been cultivated by Greece since the 5th century B.C. Almond is grown mostly in India in the Kashmir region, where it is considered one of the main crops. The plant is cultivated in western and Central Asia, Europe, eastern Turkey, Egypt, the US(81%), Spain(9%), Australia (3%), Chain, India, Iran. In India, the almond is cultivated in Punjab, Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh7. The almond is also extensively planted in some of the hilly areas of Uttar Pradesh, but the fruiting has not been very encouraging due to heavy rainfall3,65. It is commonly planted in warmer areas of the world like California, Persian, India, Kashmir, Spain, Italy, and Morocco2,3,7.

 

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION:

Macroscopic:

Prunus amygdalus (Batsch.) is a fleeting tree grown usually 4 - 10 meters long with a 30cm diameter trunk (Fig 1). In the 1st year of ploughing: the immature/young shoots seem green changed into the purple color due to exposure to sunlight, In the second year, this purple color turned the gray color. The flower is white to pale pink 3-5 cm with five petals produced singly or in pairs and appearing previous with the leaves of early spring (Fig 2)5.

 

Leaves are lanceolate, 3-5cm wide and 4 to 13cm long having serrated tips3.  Almond fruit is 3.5 – 6cm long. Fruits usually gray, green part known as Hull and inside the hull brown color shell are present, and inside the shell, the seed is available (Fig 3). This seed is also called Nut or Kernal. Seed covers with brown skin (Fig 4). Generally, one seed present but occasionally two seeds available. After the fruit matures, the hull slits down the shell, and an abscission layer form between the stem and the fruit that means fruits are falling down in the tree5. Different varieties of Badam (Figure 5).

 

Figure: 1                                        Figure: 2

 

Figure: 3                                        Figure: 4

 

Microscopic:

Microscopic examination of a cross-section of seed reveals that it is made up of about 0.25 mm, thick brownish seed coat. The Epidermis, the outermost layer of testa is represented by greatly enlarged, thick-walled, papilliform cells, the lower one of which appears to be pitted, some thin-walled or unspecialized cells are also found separating the pipilliform cells. The cells of the middle region and tegmen are almost crushed. The inner epidermis of the tegmen persists as a single layer of small thick-walled compactly arranged in tubular cells. The single-layered endosperm consisting of comparatively thin-walled larger parenchyma cells is often found persisting in mature seeds. The parenchyma cells of cotyledons are densely filled with protein in the form of aleurone grains3,7.

 

Powder:

As the seeds are oily, on grinding, a course of powder is formed. It is creamy white in color, sweet in taste, and lacks any distinctive odor7.

 

Chemistry:

The main components of Badam contain carbohydrates, protein, calcium, fat, iron, phosphorus, oxalic acid, folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinic acid, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, iodine, and chlorine2,67. The active source of tocopherols “vitamin E”, fatty acids “monounsaturated and polyunsaturated”, and arginine is found in Badam. Its main compounds comprise globulins “amandine and albumin” and amino acids “histidine, arginine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, cystine, lysine, methionine, tryptophan, valine, and leucine”. [Figure 6 and 7 – indicate the structures common chemical present in badam]. About, 49 percent oil is present in badam then reported to comprise 24% trilein and 62 % diolein2. Oil analysis is normally carried out using GC-MS analysis9. Badam seed carries flavonol glycosides involving kaempferol glucoside, rutinoside, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, and isorhamnetin glucoside. Also, Badam at the result is described to comprise phenolic constituents like phydroxybenzoic acid, 30α lrhmnopyranosyl, 30β Dgalactopyranoside, catechin, 3’Omethylquercetin, protocatechuic acid, and vanillic acid3,72.

 

Figure 6: kaempferol-3-xylosylglucoside

 

Figure 7: Quercitin

 

Chemical Composition of Badam Fruits:

PA [Prunus amygdalus (Batsch)] plays an important role in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine2. The property of badam belongs to its chemical composition10. Seeds are a healthy source of proteins, minerals, and oils. Badam nuts are an excessive amount of protein, vitamin E, calcium, and fibers as compared with an ounce for ounce. They are gluten-free, include folate, very lower in sugar, and highly rich in vitamin E, important for women of childbearing age11,12. Bitter almond contains hydrocyanic acid and prussiac acid. Bitter almonds are poisonous making them inedible because of these two poisonous acids along with amygdalin (Figure 8- the structure of amygdaline), an enzyme which responsible for the hydrolysis of glucose, benzaldehyde, hydrocyanic acid. Hydrocyanic acid has been used the medicine as an antispasmodic and sedative13. Sweet almond has chemical constituent as “monounsaturated oleic acid and linoleic acid and saturated fatty acid”. These are edible nuts and used as a food ingredient. Almond nuts consist of a high level of “unsaturated fatty acid, monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)”14,66.

 

Figure 8: Amygdaline

 

Phytochemicals:

Phytochemical means the ‘all plant-derived chemicals’. Phytochemicals are classified into different types like alkaloids, phenols, carbohydrates, non-nutritive proteins, and lipids15.

 

Total phenol:

It is the major phytochemical class, it comprises the wide range of ‘Polyphenol’ and it defined the one or more molecule of the phenolic group is present16. These compounds are the most important food bioactive which are commonly present in edible or nonedible plants. The analysis of almond seed extract demonstrates the presence of phenolic compounds like vanillic, caffeic, p-coumaric, ferulic acid, quercetin. The total phenolic content present in almond is 4.18 mg of GAE / g17,18.

 

Flavonoids:

They is a subclass of phenolic, described by a chalcone C6C3C6 structure, comprises a few types: flavonols, flavones, flavan-3-ols, flavanones, anthocyanins, isoflavone17. The total flavonoid content present in almond is 15.24 mg / 100g17.

 

Seasonal variation on phytochemical of PA is evaluated a total phenolic content and optimized the summer seasonal19. A detailed range of phytochemical in mg per 100 g of Badam fruit (table -1)20,21. Nutritional content (g/100 g) of various almond varieties (table-20)22,23,24

 

Table 1: Detail range phytochemical of Badam fruit (mg/100g)

S. No.

Phytochemical

Range (mg / 100g)

1

Total phenol

47 – 418

2

Flavonoids

11

3

Proanthocyanidins

176

4

Gallic acid + gallotannins

14- 41

5

Phenolic acids

0.2 – 0.7

6

Stilbenes

0.008 – 0.01

7

Ellagic acid + ellagitannins

49 – 63

 

 


Table 2: Nutritional content (g/100 g) of various almond varieties

Variety

Water

Protein

Total lipid

SFA

MUFA

PUFA

Ash

Carbohydrates

Fiber

Butte

4.7

20.5

50.0

4.1

29.4

13.9

2.8

-

12.2

Carmel

4.1

20.2

50.1

3.9

29.7

13.8

2.9

25.0

12.5

Desmajo Largueta

5.7

19.6

50.6

-

-

-

3.2

20.9

-

Ferragnes

6.5

18.1

50.1

-

-

-

2.9

22.4

-

Filippo Ceo

5.4

14.1

56.2

-

-

-

2.5

21.8

-

Ftrancoli

5.7

20.5

44.3

-

-

-

3.5

26.1

-

Fritz

4.6

22.5

48.4

3.4

30.5

12.0

2.9

-

11.0

Genco

6.5

21.5

42.4

-

-

-

3.0

26.6

-

Johnston Prolific

5.4

20.2

47.0

-

-

-

2.6

24.8

-

Marcon

6.1

22.1

52.7

-

-

-

3.1

15.7

-

Mission

4.6

20.9

49.6

3.7

31.6

11.6

3.0

23.6

13.5

Monterey

3.9

21.3

49.4

3.7

32.3

11.2

3.0

27.0

11.8

Nonpareil

3.9

20.2

49.6

3.8

31.3

11.7

2.9

-

12.9

Sonora

4.1

22.4

50.2

3.9

31.4

12.4

3.0

-

11.8

Taxas

6.5

20.1

48.8

-

-

-

2.9

21.7

-

 


 

Almond Oil:

Badam has grown as a wild tree, almond oil is abundant in nature and can be found mainly in tropical forests25. The seed, which is lesser in size also hard to extract, is rich in oil ranging from 50 percent to 60 percent of the total seed weight and is found with a thickness ranging from ~ 1 to 5μm and can be conserved by either drying or smoking before storage for up to one year26,27. It confirms that, after natural drying, the traditional method of packing almond nuts is to hold them in their covering until they are eaten and used in the industry28.

 

Badam seeds are nutritious oil seeds that are high in “fiber, calcium, vitamin E, and protein”. As recorded and further verified, almond oil's chemical composition is highly nutritious with a strong physicochemical property29. Phytochemical therapy for coronary artery disease has been published30.

 

Almond oil is an abundant source of “vitamin A, B1, B2,

B6, E, D, and also important minerals calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, fiber, riboflavin, monounsaturated fatty acid, protein, folic acid, α tocopherol, Zinc”31,32. This oil useful in as a sedative and external applies in medical applications. Bitter almond oil conventionally used to treat fever, cough, parasite, and congestion. Sweet almond oil is traditionally used in medicine and cosmetics and also uses to prepare a candle33.

 

Almonds have been reported as good sources of bioactive antioxidants of naturally derived.34 “Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)” studied the chemical properties of bitter almond essential oil.29

 

MEDICINAL USES:

Prunus amygdalus is an important nutritional source. It contains nutrition components like protein, fat, carbohydrate, ash content, crude fiber, moisture content, vitamin E and also includes mineral content like calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, etc35. It contains fat and supplements which help in lowering the blood cholesterols, triglyceride and LDL level. It enhances the phospholipid, faecal sterol, HDL cholesterol36. Almonds have been therapeutic uses for constipation, headache, heart weakness, diarrhea, sedative, amnesia, peptic ulcer, leprosy, polyuria, facial paralysis, Cough, Sexual disability, leprosy, etc

 

Pharmacological Studies:

Preclinical studies:

Antiradical activity and Antioxidant activity:

Antioxidant activity of ethanolic and methanolic extracts of PA showed significant “free radical scavenging activity”15,37. The methanol extract of PA has shown significant results for antioxidant and antiradical activity with reducing the “scavenging capacity for radical nitrite, hydrogen peroxide and phenolic extract” might be useful in inhibiting or reducing the growth of the various oxidative stress-related disease38

 

In another study was reported the three different activity in five different extracts. Anti-oxidant, ant diabetic, and anti-microbial activity was evaluated in almond hull 70 percent ethanol extract in chloroform, n-butanol, ethyl acetate, water, and hexane. Significantly results for n-butanol extract shows the highest antioxidant activity, but hexane and chloroform extract shows the highest ant diabetic and antimicrobial activity39.

 

Antifungal activity:

In one study methanolic extracts of PA showed significant antifungal and antibacterial activity. Due to the zone of inhibition increased with minimum concentrations exhibited the blocking activity at different concentrations40.

 

Anxiolytic activity:

In a previous study, Almond nuts in Albino Swiss mice showed anxiolytic activity. The mice when treated with diazepam (1mg/kg) and Almond nut (0.8g/kg and 1.6 g/kg) showed an increased number of central squares with the number of crossed squares in the open field method17.

 

Hyperlipidemia activity:

One study reported lipid profile in albino rabbits treated with PA. The study demonstrated the decreased triglycerides, bad cholesterol (LDL – Low-density lipoprotein), total cholesterol, and increased phospholipid, faecal sterol, HDL cholesterol in 60 days41.

 

Another study was reported hyperlipidemia activity in rats and mice with water extract. The rats were divided into four groups with five mice in each group. The study results show that sweet badam extract was decreased triglycerides, bad cholesterol levels and enhanced the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels42.

 

Nootropic activity:

One study reported the nootropic activity on PA nuts in scopolamine based amnesia in rats.  The paste of nuts was orally taken of mention doses to from 7th to 14th days with piracetam as a control group. The memory-enhancing activity was estimated by an “elevated plus maze, passive avoidance, and motor activity paradigms”. The study showed increased glucose level in the blood, triglyceride (TG) but decreased in the level of total cholesterol level and brain cholinergic activity43.

 

 

In another study, the PA paste was orally administrated continuously for 28 days in rats. The memory-enhancing activity was estimated by the elevated plus-maze and radio arm maze as demonstrated by increased brain tryptophan (TRP) monoamine and the TRP level and 5-HT metabolism44.

 

Antidiabetes activity:

A previous study reported anti-diabetes activity in mice. The mice treated with leaf, flower, and seed extract (250 and 500mg/kg) for 2 weeks demonstrated a reduced level of blood glucose, total cholesterol but enhanced the level of HDL and total protein compared to the anti-diabetic agent glibenclamide45.

 

Laxative activity:

The laxative activity of almond oil in the constipation model of mice showed the PA oil enhanced the wet feces, which was comparable to the normal positive control46

 

In another study, the ethanol extract PA of showed an enhanced number of feces in rats than the standard drug (lactulose)47.

 

Anti-depressant activity:

One study reported antidepressant activity of PA in rats and found that the swimming capacity of the rat was decreased with the treatment of almond oil alone and the combination of inhalation of lavender oil in forced swim test but increased the latency period in passive avoidance test48.

 

Anti-aging activity:

A preclinical study reported that the anti-aging activity of PA in mice treated with PA extract for 15 days demonstrated the stronger antioxidant activity and enhanced the level of MDA, GSH of prepared formulation as compared to irradiated control49.

 

Hepatoprotective activity:

The hepatoprotective effect of PA oil was reported in rats. The decrease level of ALP “alkaline phosphatase”, LDH “lactate hydrogenase”, AST “aspirate aminotransferase”, ALT “alanine aminotransferase”, TC “total cholesterol”, TG “triglycerides”, MDA “malondialdehyde”, and LDL “lipoprotein”, and increased the level in the concentration of GPx (glutathione), SD (superoxide dismutase) and were noted50.

 

Transdermal gel:

In a previous study was reported almond oil and olive oil were used to check the permeability of nimesulide as a transdermal gel. Significantly results show that the safe and no irritation cause or its increase the permeability of drug51.

Antiparkinsonian effect:

One study was reported that polyherbal formulation includes methanolic extract of Almond, peanut, and watermelon comparison with chlorpromazine induces Parkinson disease in rats significantly results shows that decreased the cataleptic score of formulation, also raised the locomotor activity and polyherbal formulation was enhanced the level of Dopamine, deceased glutathione, Superoxide dismutase, and lipid peroxidation52.

 

Immunostimulant Properties:

A previous study was reported that recommended that badam, primarily the skin of almonds, may promote the function of the immune system, In this study, “they assessed that high levels of cytokine production have been observed with almonds, i.e. interferon-alpha (INF-alpha), interleukins (IL-12), INF-gamma and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha)”. Their data indicated that almonds enhanced the immune surveillance of viral infections in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. It was also found that almonds induced a significant decline in the replication of the Herpes simplex virus (HSV-2). Thus the study suggests that the immune response is stimulated by (natural) almond skins and thus contributes to antiviral immune defense53.

 

In another recent study, Badam has been identified to have a beneficial effect on the treatment of infectious and chronic diseases and also confirmed that almond skins can modulate an immunological response and act as new antiviral agents positively. Their team analyzed the effects of organic and blanched almond skins on the update of immunological substances in cells that are either infected or not infected with the HSV-2 genital herpes virus54.

 

Aphrodisiac Activity:

In a recent analysis of a polyherbal formulation “Tentex Royal” containing PA along with other herbal preparations, all sexual index variables recorded a substantial improvement. Careful monitoring of parameters such as overall “sexual activity, mounting frequency, frequency of ejaculation, the latency of ejaculation, and serum testosterone levels and sperm count” was conducted. A major increase was found in the Tentex royal category in all the variables of the sexual indices. A rise in sperm count and testosterone levels was also observed during treatment with Tentex royal. A histological assessment of the anterior pituitary showed a rise in basophils producing FSH-LH and a decline in cells producing ACTH. The study found that the erectile ability was enhanced by Tentex royal. Tentex royal can be measured a secure  and  substitute therapy for the improvement of “erectile dysfunction”, considering the drawbacks of sildenafil citrate in clinical practice7.

 

Prebiotic property:

A recent study was reported, Prebiotic behavior of almond seeds has been shown to improve the structure of gut bacteria by promoting the production of bifid bacteria and Eubacterium rectale55.

 

CLINICAL STUDIES:

Antifungal activity:

In this clinical study, the antifungal activity of P. Dulcis shell extract was reported against clinically isolated pathogenic fungus by strip method. It was found that the clinical study endows a great therapeutic potential contrary to the scalp caused by Tinea capitis and completed in 20 days of therapy. The almond shell extract 1gm was administrated in the form of 03 drops three times a day on the area of the infection scalp. The patient showed the complete recovery of the infection on the scalp with decreased itching and inflammation of the affected area indicating the antifungal potential in patients and showed complete recovery from infection in 3 weeks without adverse effects56,68.

 

Hyperlipidemia activity:

In a clinical trial, the hyperlipidemia activity in healthy adults was reported the randomized, cross over and controlled feeding method used in forty-eight healthy volunteers was given a cholesterol-lowering diet with almond was compared to the diet with isocaloric muffin result shows that snacking on almonds every day for 6 weeks not only lowered LDL and total cholesterol but also decreased abdominal fat and waist circumference.57 In a clinical study in the same activity was reported Almonds have been shown to decrease lipid biomarkers through oxidation in hyperlipidemic patients58,69.

 

In another clinical trial, the Almonds have been shown to have a consistent LDL cholesterol-lowering impact in healthy individuals with high cholesterol and diabetes is controlled and free-living conditions. Almonds comprise fiber phytosterols, plant protein, alpha-tocopherol, arginine, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium, and potassium and are low in saturated fatty acids and rich in unsaturated fatty acids. Enzymes involved in cholesterol synthesis and bile acid production are regulated by the nutrients present in almonds59.

 

Hypoglycemic activity:

In the clinical study, the hypoglycemic action in 15 healthy person (seven males and eight females) in this patient to diet two bread control repast and three test repast include almond and bread, parboiled rice, and mashed potato. A result shows that badam reduced the level of postprandial glycemia, insulinemia, and oxidative stress in patients60,70.

 

In another clinical study, the hypoglycemic action in 19 healthy individuals (five males and fourteen females) in these healthy individuals without type 2 diabetes involves 13 adults, and type 3 diabetes involves 7 adults. Several randomized, controlled trials have been performed in participates with type 2 diabetes on the effects of almonds on blood glucose control measures, testing both post-meal effects and longer-term (over at least 4 weeks) measures. Eating an almond-enriched diet resulted in substantial decreases in the regulation of fasting glucose and insulin levels in three of the four longer-term studies, compared to an almond-free diet. In 19 U.S. adults (including 7 with T2D), a randomized trial recorded a 30 percent reduction in postprandial glycemia in T2D participants. After intake, a test meal containing one ounce (28 grams) of almonds was comparable in calories, fat, and available carbohydrates in contrast to an almond-free test meal, although the result was not similar in calories, fat, and available carbohydrates in those without T2DD61.

 

Serum uric acid in coronary artery disease (CAD):

A previous clinical trial reported the 150 CAD patients were selected and randomly divided into 3 groups in fifty per group. Some randomized, controlled trials have been performed in different 3 groups. In these trials, two types of almond were used one is Pakistani almond and the second one is American almond and they continuously give to the patient in twelve weeks. Significantly shows that decreased the level of uric acid in each groups’62,71.

 

Oxidative stress:

Randomized and crossover clinical study in 60 habitual smoker and 30 nonsmoker peoples. To examine the subjects for oxidative stress biomarkers and urine, blood was collected. The result showed that enhanced the levels of superoxide dismutase and Glutathione peroxidase, decreased the levels 8-hydroxy2՛-deoxyguanosine, Malonfialdehyde, and DNA63,72.

 

Inflammation:

A randomized, controlled, and crossover clinical trial in 25 adults (11 male and 14 women). Almond intervention is a low badam diet and high badam diet in continuously four weeks. The result shows that decreased the level of E-selection in high badam diet and decreased the levels of C-reactive protein64.

 

CONCLUSION:

The present review tries to provide comprehensive information on the plant on its pharmacognostic and pharmacological activities as reported. There is a need for further investigation and quantification of phytoconstituents responsible for the specified pharmacological profiles in the plant. On the other hand, the plants need to be used therapeutically under the care of knowledgeable health care professionals. This updated review on PA will help many researchers in their research on the plant.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:

We are grateful to Prof. (Dr.) K.J. Gohil, Director, Anand College of Pharmacy, Agra for providing necessary facilities and guidelines for review on the subject

 

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Received on 08.07.2021           Modified on 03.12.2021

Accepted on 22.03.2022         © RJPT All right reserved

Research J. Pharm. and Tech. 2022; 15(7):3301-3308.

DOI: 10.52711/0974-360X.2022.00553