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Prunus Amygdalus Amara (Bitter Almond) Kernel Oil

Used with care
Prunus Amygdalus Amara (Bitter Almond) Kernel Oil

Prunus Amygdalus Amara (Bitter Almond) Kernel Oil

Bitter almond oil is a pale yellow essential oil with a potent fruity-almond aroma, derived from the seed kernels of the bitter almond tree (Prunus dulcis var. amara). It can be used as a fragrance ingredient in essential oil blends for personal care products.

Prunus dulcis, commonly known as almond, is a deciduous species in the rose family (Rosaceae) native to parts of the Middle East and cultivated globally as a food crop. Trees favour Mediterranean or temperate climates, growing 4 - 10 meters tall with serrated leaves and pale pink or white flowers. The fruit is a drupe (stone fruit) with a downy hull, followed by a hard woody shell (called the endocarp) which contains the edible seed known as the almond. Almonds are high in protein, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and contain essential minerals and B vitamins.

The Bitter Almond (Prunus dulcis var. amara) is a cultivar of the almond tree that produces consistently bitter fruit. Harvested almonds undergo a process of dehulling, drying, cracking and cold-pressing followed by steam distillation to extract the volatile oil. Like other stone fruits such as apricots, plums and cherries, bitter almond kernels contain potentially toxic levels of prussic acid, also known as hydrogen cyanide. To address this, the oil is washed with alkaline solutions of iron(II) salts and then re-distilled to remove all traces of prussic acid and eliminate any risk to human health.

Highly fragrant, bitter almond oil can be used to impart an almond flavour to foods such as marzipan or pastries, or used as a fragrance ingredient in personal care products.

Botanical name: Prunus dulcis var. amara

Other names: Bitter Almond Essence, Bitter Almond Oil, Bitter Almond Kernel Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Amara Oil

Main constituents: Benzaldehyde


Keser, Serhat & Demir, Ersin & Yilmaz, Okkes. (2014). Some Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activities of the Bitter Almond Kernel (Prunus dulcis var. amara). Journal- Chemical Society of Pakistan. 36. 922-930.

Chaouali, N., Gana, I., Dorra, A., Khelifi, F., Nouioui, A., Masri, W., Belwaer, I., Ghorbel, H., & Hedhili, A. (2013). Potential Toxic Levels of Cyanide in Almonds (Prunus amygdalus), Apricot Kernels (Prunus armeniaca), and Almond Syrup. ISRN toxicology, 2013, 610648.

INCI Name:
Prunus Amygdalus Amara (Bitter Almond) Kernel Oil
Ingredient origins:
Almond Kernel
Common name:
Bitter Almond Oil
EWG score: The EWG score is a hazard score ranging from 1-2 (low hazard), 3-6 (moderate hazard) and 7-10 (high hazard) published by the Environmental Working Group. Their data is sourced from the Skin Deep® database and studies published in open scientific literature.