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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Almond, as aphrodisiac

Related Link:

* honey, as aphrodisiac
* water melon
* garlic
* mushroom
* kava kava

Almonds are the most widely-grown and eaten tree nut. Not only are they tasty, but they are also very good for the body.

Almond history

Part of the plum family, the almond tree (Prunus dulcis; Prunus amygdalus. The Almond (Prunus dulcis, syn. Prunus amygdalus, or Amygdalus communis) is a small deciduous tree belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae; an almond is also the fruit of this tree. The plant is classified with the peach in the subgenus Amygdalus within Prunus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell.

The English word almond is derived from the French amande, which in turn is a derivative of the old Latin word for almond, amygdalus, literally meaning "tonsil plum." Ancient Romans also referred to almonds as "Greek nuts," since they were first cultivated in Greece. Almonds date back in print to the Bible. A recipe from the Forme of Cury, dating back to 1390, uses blanched, ground almonds in a gravy for oysters.

Botanically-speaking, almonds are a fruit. On the tree, the fruit or drupe looks like a small, elongated peach with a hard greenish-gray husk. When mature, the husk splits open to reveal the shell which in turn contains the nutmeat. Spanish missionaries are credited for bringing the almond to California, now the world's largest producer of over 100 varieties of almonds.

The tree is a native of southwest Asia. The domesticated form can ripen fruit as far north as the British Isles. It is a small tree, growing to 4-9 m tall. The leaves are lanceolate, 6-12 cm long, and serrated at the edges. The flowers are white or pale pink, 3-5 cm diameter with five petals, produced before the leaves in early spring.

Almonds are rich in Vitamin E and are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats, one of the two "good" fats responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol.

Almonds can help boost the sex drive. The kernel of Indian almond was not only shown to have aphrodisiac activity, it is also useful in the treatment of some forms of sexual inadequacies (premature ejaculation). Additionally, in Sicily, it is also used to make sweet liqueur and even almond-flavored wines, bought thought to be an aphrodisiac. In some cultures also, they are associated with passion and fertility. Their aroma is alleged to excite women and is therefore a common ingredient in creams and soaps; hence, in the bible, Samson courted Delilah with fragrant almond branches and was able to attract her.

Almonds and your health

High in monounsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol-free, almonds can help reduce cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. They are also high in Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant which helps prevent the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. One ounce of almonds contains about 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, a great non-dairy source for vegetarians. Almonds are often recommended as a building food for those who are underweight. Almond oil has homeopathic and cosmetic applications.

Almond Aphrodisiac Soup:

2 hard-cooked egg yolks
1 cup almonds, blanched and skinned
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup light cream
2 Tablespoons honey
Garnish: 1/4 cup fresh rasberries, crushed and lightly sugared
Put nuts and egg yolks in the blender and chop fine. Slowly add the chicken stock, a spoonful at a time, until the ingredients make a fine paste. Continue blending on high speed as you slowly pour in the rest of the chicken stock and cream. Pour the contents into a saucepan and heat the soup very carefully on a low heat until it is hot and thick. It must never boil or it will curdle. Stir in the honey right before serving. Ladle into two bowls. Top each with spoonsful of the rasberry puree and serve immediately.

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