The almond tree is the first tree to sprout and the last one to lose its leaves.
The almond, Amygdalus communis, is a medium sized tree with narrow, light green leaves. Unlike the fig and olive, the almond does not live to a great age. The almond is a well-known symbol of resurrection because it is the first tree to flower.
The white, five-parted flowers are up to two inches across and come in the late winter before the leaves of the tree develop. Because they may flower as early as late January or early February, it is sometimes possible to find almond flowers with snow.
The Bible contains several references to the almond, often because of its early blossoming as a sign of awakening. The six-branched candlestick of the biblical Tabernacle, the meeting place of God with Moses and his people, is modelled on an almond tree. Later, in Christianity, the almond was seen as a symbol of the immaculate conception.
"Christ was conceived in Maria as the almond kernel is formed in the still untouched almond" (Konrad von Würzburg, 13th century). The almond is probably best known in the form of marzipan, which came originally from the orient and was traditionally made of almonds, sugar and rose water. Baghlaba is the Persian variety.
- Almonds form an ideal tonic for your growing child. Soak 3-6 shelled almonds in warm water and than remove the skin. Grind them into paste, and mix it with milk. Add a teaspoon of honey. Feed your child daily. It can also be useful in adolescent girls with delayed puberty; crushed almonds, egg yolk, gingelly (til) powder, and a teaspoon of honey in milk will ensure good overall development during adolescence.
- An excellent food supplement in case of general debility and convalescence. Soak 12-15 shelled almonds in hot water and remove outer covering. Grind them into fine paste, and mix it with the buttermilk and mash a ripe banana in it. Strain it through a muslin cloth, add 4 teaspoons honey, and drink twice daily. Almond forms an ideal food for diabetics also as it contains little carbohydrates.
- Almonds are a good for constipation. Grind separately 5 teaspoons almonds and 5 teaspoons dried dates. Combine them and add 10 teaspoons honey. Take 3 teaspoons of this mixture twice daily.
- In the case of head lice, grind 7-8 kernels with 1-2 teaspoons lime juice and apply on the scalp. Apply a little almond oil on the scalp regularly and massage.
- In the case of tooth ache and gum diseases, burn the shells of almonds, powder, and use as tooth powder.
- To get relief from psoriasis and allied skin troubles, powder a few almonds, boil and apply on affected areas and let it remain overnight.
- To improve skin complexion, mix equal quantities of almond oil and honey and apply to face. To protect from sunburn, apply the paste of almonds and milk cream along with coconut oil on exposed skin.
- In the case of insomnia, grind blanched almonds (8-10) along with khuskhus grass powder (1 teaspoon) and milk (half teacup) and smear the paste on palms and soles.
- To get relief from muscle sprains, mix equal parts of almond oil and garlic oil and massage over affected areas.
The almond tree gives off a resin which can be collected in the form of tears. In Ancient Greece these resin tears were burnt as incense to ward off disease and evil spirits. The fine fragrance disinfects, purifies and clarifies.
The almond is probably best known in the form of marzipan, which came originally from the orient and was traditionally made of almonds, sugar and rose water. Baghlaba is the Persian variety additionally flavoured with cardamom and traditionally eaten there during the four-week festivities in celebration of the New Year.
In 16th century Germany the production of marzipan was the province of the pharmacists whose "confectiones" were only prepared with sugar to make the bitter medicine more pleasant-tasting. Marzipan was also known as "heart sugar".
Almonds already grew in the stone age and their cultivation is thought to go back to the Bronze age. The almond is probably the oldest cultivated fruit of the Old World with a success story that continues right up to the present day. In the 17th to 16th century before the birth of Christ the almond tree made its way from its native Asia via Persia to Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt. In the 5th century it then travelled further to Greece and to the Roman Empire.
Legends about Almond Tree
Ancient Greece in particular is the source of many legends in which the almond tree plays a role. According to one of these legends the almond is said to have developed from a drop of blood of the Greek goddess Kybele, the mother of the gods, who was originally the goddess of the mountains and of fertility in Asia Minor.
In other accounts the almond tree is said to have developed from the male half of a hermaphroditic being created by Zeus.
There is an almond tree fairy tale from Morocco. In this fairy tale the beautiful princess Hatim had such a kind heart that she took money from her father's coffers and gave it to the poorest of her country. The king had no understanding for his daughter's behaviour, accused her of theft and had her executed. Allah understood Hatim's action and transformed the dead princess into an almond tree which gave the country's people almonds year after year.
Bible Remarks regarding Almond Tree
Almonds are mentioned six times in the Scriptures and only in the Old Testament. The first reference is in Genesis 43:11 where Jacob, in an apparent attempt to curry favor with the ruler of Egypt, orders his sons to take some of the "best products of the land" including almonds.
The best-known reference to the almond is Aaron's rod that budded (Numbers 17). This is miraculous because the flowering, budding, and fruiting of the almond in nature are always separated in time.
Its flowers symbolize the cups that crown the seven branches of the Jewish candelabra (Ex. 25:33-36; 37:19-20).
In the biblical books, the almond tree is mentioned several times (e.g., Gen. 30:37-39; 43:11; Qo.12.1-5).
The prophet, Jeremiah, mentions it in a vision: The word of Yahweh was addressed to me asking, "Jeremiah, what to you see?" "I see a branch of the watchful tree," I answered.
Then Yahweh said, "Well seen! I too watch over My Word to see it fulfilled" (Jer. 1:11-12). In this text there is a word game between the Hebrew words shaqed, a/mond tree, and shoqed, I watch.
Also, the image of the almond tree, the first tree to bloom, reminds us of the watchful eye of God, that watches over His word to set it to practice.
The last reference to the almond is in Jeremiah 1:11. "The word of the Lord came to me: 'What do you see, Jeremiah?' 'I see the branch of an almond tree', I replied." The Hebrew word for almond sounds similar to that for watchful.