Plant Profiler

Sweet almond (Prunus dulcis)

Prunus dulcis
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Almendra, almendra dulce (Spanish), almond α-galactosidase, almond β-glucosidase, almond glycopeptidase, almond oil, amande, amande douce (French), amandel, amendoa, amendoa doce (Portugese), amigdalo, Amygdalus communis, Amygdala dulcis, arginine, aspartic acid, B-complex vitamins, badam, badami, badamo, badamshirin, bedamu, bian tao, bilati badam, cno ghreugach, daucosterol, emulsion, expressed almond oil, fixed almond oil, galactosidase, glucosidase, glutamic acid, harilik mandlipuu, Jordan almond, lawz, lozi, mandel, mandla, mandorla, mandorla dulce (Italian), mandula, mangel, mannosidase, mantelli, migdal, migdala, migdalo, mindal, prunasin, Prunoidae (subfamily), Prunus communis dulcis, Prunus dulcis, Rosaceae (family), sladkiy mindal, sötmandel, süßmandel, sweet almond oil, tatli badem, tian wei bian tao, tian xing ren, vaadaam, vadumai, vitamin A, zoete amandel.

Note: Sweet almond should not be confused with bitter almond, which contains amygdalin and can be hydrolyzed to the toxic substance hydrocyanic acid (cyanide).

Mechanism of Action


  • Constituents: Analysis of sweet almond has detected protein, emulsin, prunasin, daucosterol, and other sterols. Trace amounts of vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, and amino acids, including glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and arginine, were also present.9 Constituents of almond emulsin include mannosidase, glucosidase, and galactosidase, with β-D-glucosidase being the main enzymatic component.10 Almond glycopeptidase cleaves β-aspartylglycosylamine linkages in glycopeptides.11 Almond α-galactosidase's enzymatic activity appears to depend on its histidine and carboxyl groups.12,13 Derivatives of L-histidine, histamine, and imidazole may possess the ability to inhibit almond β-glucosidase.14 Isofagomine, azafagomine, and isogalactofagomine have been shown to inhibit almond β-glucosidase.15
  • Blood sugar effects: Teotia et al. conducted a study on rats in which almonds were found to have a highly significant hypoglycemic effect.8
  • Estrogenic effects: Clemetson et al. reported that almonds exert estrogenic activity in rats, although subsequent samples of different varieties of almonds did not confirm this finding.2
  • Fertility effects: Qureshi et al. found that almond extracts increase sperm count and sperm motility in rats, with no evidence of spermatotoxicity.1
  • Lipid effects: Almonds have been reported to lower low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and total cholesterol levels.3,4,5,6,7 It has been proposed that the most likely mechanism of LDL lowering is the enhancement of LDL receptor activity when monounsaturated fatty acids replace saturated ones in the diet. Saturated fatty acids may suppress LDL receptors.3


  • The inhibitory effects of salt on the activity of the sweet almond enzyme beta-glucosidase have been reported.16 The inhibition of enzyme activity by salts may be due to a shift in dissociation constant (pKa).
  • The thioglycohydrolase activity of sweet almond beta-glucosidase has been demonstrated.17 The steric conformation of the glycosides was not shown to have an effect on the hydrolysis of p-nitrophenyl thioglucoside (pNPSG).
  • Researchers have described the stability of a sweet almond oil preparation as a dermatologic base at various temperatures.18

  1. Qureshi S, Shah AH, Tariq M, and et al. Studies on herbal aphrodisiacs used in Arab systems of medicine. Amer J Chin Med 1989;17(1-2):57-63.
  2. Clemetson, C. A., de Carlo, S. J., Burney, G. A., Patel, T. J., Kozhiashvili, N., and Taylor, R. A. Estrogens in food: the almond mystery. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 1978;15(6):515-521. 29799
  3. Grundy, S. M. Monounsaturated fatty acids, plasma cholesterol, and coronary heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr  1987;45(5 Suppl):1168-1175. 3578111
  4. Spiller, G. A., Jenkins, D. A., Bosello, O., Gates, J. E., Cragen, L. N., and Bruce, B. Nuts and plasma lipids: an almond-based diet lowers LDL-C while preserving HDL-C. J Am Coll Nutr 1998;17(3):285-290. 9627917
  5. Spiller, G. A., Jenkins, D. J., Cragen, L. N., Gates, J. E., Bosello, O., Berra, K., Rudd, C., Stevenson, M., and Superko, R. Effect of a diet high in monounsaturated fat from almonds on plasma cholesterol and lipoproteins. J Am Coll Nutr 1992;11(2):126-130. 1315812
  6. Abbey, M., Noakes, M., Belling, G. B., and Nestel, P. J. Partial replacement of saturated fatty acids with almonds or walnuts lowers total plasma cholesterol and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59(5):995-999. 8172107
  7. Teotia, S., Singh, M., and Pant, M. C. Effect of Prunus amygdalus seeds on lipid profile. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1997;41(4):383-389. 10235661
  8. Teotia, S. and Singh, M. Hypoglycemic effect of Prunus amygdalus seeds in albino rabbits. Indian J Exp Biol  1997;35(3):295-296. 9332176
  9. Saura-Calixto, F. S., Bauza, M., de Toda, F. M., and Argamenteria, A. Amino acids, sugars, and inorganic elements in the sweet almond (Prunus amygdalus). J Agric Food Chem  1981;29(3):509-511. 7251980
  10. Schwartz, J., Sloan, J., and Lee, Y. C. Mannosidase, glucosidase, and galactosidase in sweet almond emulsin. Arch Biochem Biophys  1970;137(1):122-127. 5435050
  11. Nishibe H and Takahashi N. The release of Carbohydrate moieties from human fibrinogen by almond glycopeptidase without alteration in fibrinogen clottability. Biochim Biophys Acta 1981;661:274-279.
  12. Dey, P. M. and Malhotra, O. P. Kinetic behaviour of sweet almond alpha-galactosidase. Biochim Biophys Acta 1969;185(2):402-408. 5808703
  13. Dey P. Inhibition, transgalactosylation and mechanism of action of sweet almond alpha-galactosidase. Biochim Biophys Acta  1969;191:644-652.
  14. Field, R. A., Haines, A. H., Chrystal, E. J., and Luszniak, M. C. Histidines, histamines and imidazoles as glycosidase inhibitors. Biochem J 3-15-1991;274 ( Pt 3):885-889. 2012615
  15. Bulow, A., Plesner, I. W., and Bols, M. Slow inhibition of almond beta-glucosidase by azasugars: determination of activation energies for slow binding. Biochim Biophys Acta 2-9-2001;1545(1-2):207-215. 11342046
  16. Bowers, E. M., Ragland, L. O., and Byers, L. D. Salt effects on beta-glucosidase: pH-profile narrowing. Biochim.Biophys Acta 2007;1774(12):1500-1507. 17997993
  17. Shen, H. and Byers, L. D. Thioglycoside hydrolysis catalyzed by beta-glucosidase. Biochem Biophys Res Commun  10-26-2007;362(3):717-720. 17727815
  18. Almeida, I. F. and Bahia, M. F. Evaluation of the physical stability of two oleogels. Int J Pharm 12-11-2006;327(1-2):73-77. 16996708

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