Allah’s Medicine Chest: Almonds
By Hwaa Irfan
Allah (SWT) gives us His bounties in one form, so that we may learn from them. If we understand those lessons, then we stand to benefit much, as long as the knowledge remains within the frame of reference in which they were given, according to the laws of nature, in a halal way.
Almonds like all of His bounties teach us much about how we choose to live. Aare not actually a nut, but are the seeds of the almond tree which bears fragrant pink and white blossoms. Unlike the seeds of its relatives the peach, cherry and apricot, the seeds can be eaten. Almonds originate from the Central Asian steppes near modern north Iran, and have become native to western Asia and North Africa. They were introduced to England not before 1562, and then only for its amazing blossoms before becoming a part of medieval cuisine amongst the upper classes. The almond tree grows freely in Syria and Palestine.
Master physician, alchemist, chemist, philosopher, polymath and scholar, Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī (Rhazes) use to mix bitter almonds with an ounce of raisin pulp to breakdown kidney stones. The medicinal use of almonds to breakdown kidney stones, has been proven by modern research.
Bitter almonds are but one variety of almonds. Distinguished by their Latin names they are:
– Prunus Dulcis
– Prunus Amygdalus
– Prunus Serotina
– Prunus Virginiana
Almonds are packed with vitamins and minerals, which make almonds a complete food. Almonds contain:
– Vitamins A, C. D, E, K (see Your Vitamins below)
– B Vitamins Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12
– Folate (folic acid)
– Pantothenic acid
– Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, fluoride.
Bitter almonds (Prunus Amygdalus) are shorter in appearance, and smaller. The volatile oil is used in cooking as a flavoring. The poisonous nature of the bitter quality has been known of from time, and was employed to relieve intermittent fevers. Sweet almonds (Prunus Dulcis/Communis) are large, narrow, and elongated in shape, and they have a thin skin. The best of the sweet almonds comes from Jordan. Sweet almonds are bland in taste and form an emulsion when bruised. For full benefit, they must be chewed thoroughly before digestion.
Because they possess no starch, grounded sweet almonds can be made into flour for cakes and biscuits for those suffering from diabetes. They can also be pounded with water as they blend well to form what is known as almond milk. Almond milk is cooling, and makes a good substitute for animal milk. Blanched and beaten in barley water, this emulsion softens stones, and gravel in the kidneys, bladder, and the bile ducts of the liver.
Known to reduce cholesterol, almonds make a good substitute in the diet with the more traditional fats used reducing the risk of heart disease along with its magnesium, and potassium content, which also helps to protect one’s self against high blood pressure, and athersclerosis. The unique combination of flavanoids in almonds eaten with their skin increases significantly the flavanoids in the body as well as vitamin E. Flavanoids or Vitamin P are a group of water soluble compounds which can only be found in plants: fruits, vegetables, and herbs. As there are over 4000 flavanoids, which varies from food type, to food type, the benefits vary, but essentially, they are antioxidants which prevent the onset of disease, and reverse cognitive decline in old age.
Rich in antioxidants research in Canada (2002) discovered what has been known in aromatherapy and Vibrational medicine for a while, that almond oil has a strong synergy with the human skin, and thus is easily absorbed and is good for keeping the mature skin supple.
The oil is made from both sweet and bitter almonds, though in traditional Middle Eastern herbalists, a distinction is made and they are sold separately. The oil consists mainly of olein, glyceride of linolic acid, and is similar in composition to olive oil. There is a synergy with the human skin, so it has a softening affect. Freshly pressed almond oil, relieves pain in cases of chest pain, pleurisy, and colic. It also acts as a good skin cleanser. The oil is used medicinally for illnesses of the bronchia.
Each part of a plant plays its role. Flowers as medicine tend to operate on a higher frequency, as has been proven in Bach Remedies. As a flower essence, bitter almond is best applied to issues pertaining to the holding of negative emotions, e.g. tensions, which in turn lead to stress-related diseases on the more physical level. Also it plays a strong role in the processing of information on the cellular level, and invigorates the endocrine system.
One should try to avoid deep fried almonds available in the shops because deep fried foods have been linked to bad cholesterol due to the additional oils added. Also those who have a kidney/gall bladder problem the oxalate present in almonds might pose a problem. If the concentration of oxalate within the body becomes too high, crystallization can take place preventing the body from absorbing calcium, especially if your are lazy at chewing. Also, some people have allergies towards certain food, which might be to do with the way in which those foods have been grown.
Almonds contain fat, so whatever container is used it should be air tight to avoid going rancid.
The synergy between the human skin, and almond oil means it makes a good body moisturizer, and hair conditioner. An easy way to accomplish this is to put a teaspoon of almond oil in the bath before filling it up with water. Bathing in this way moisturizes the skin, conditions the hair, and the skin absorbs the rich antioxidant properties of the almond oil.
Grounded almonds into a water base makes a good facial scrub, detoxifying the skin at the same time.
Almonds benefit the most when eaten as a whole food, i.e. with the skin.
Almonds can be added to a muesli, a salad to increase your intake of antioxidants,
and mineral content. Almonds bind toxins in the body making the toxins easy to eliminate.
Almond milk can be made using 3 pints of running water, a handful of raisins, and a handful of
barley, boil in water, and then strain.
Remember that Allah (swt) gave us everything we may need. We merely adapt that bounty to the times by making new discoveries or rediscovering old applications
Dajani, D. Health: An Islamic Perspective http://www.islamset.com/hip/i_medcin/dajani.html