Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Botanical name: Prunus amygdalus
Sanskrit: Vatadah, Vatamah
Hindi: Badam
English: Almond
Malayalam: Badam, Badamkotta
The Badam is a deciduous tree, growing 4–10 metres (13–33 ft) in height, with a trunk of up to 30 centimetres (12 in) in diameter. The young twigs are green at first, becoming purplish where exposed to sunlight, then grey in their second year. The leaves are 3–5 inches long, with a serrated margin and a 2.5 cm (1 in) petiole. The flowers are white to pale pink, 3–5 cm (1–2 in) diameter with five petals, produced singly or in pairs and appearing before the leaves in early spring.
Badam begin bearing an economic crop in the third year after planting. Trees reach full bearing five to six years after planting. The fruit matures in the autumn, 7–8 months after flowering The almond fruit measures 3.5–6 cm (1–2 in) long. In botanical terms it is not a nut, but a drupe. The outer covering or exocarp, fleshy in other members of Prunus such as the plum and cherry, is instead a thick leathery grey-green coat (with a downy exterior), called the hull. Inside the hull is a reticulated hard woody shell (like the outside of a peach pit) called the endocarp. Inside the shell is the edible seed, commonly called a nut. Generally, one seed is present, but occasionally there are two.
The Badam is sweet, thermogenic, emollient, aphrodisiac, laxative, diuretic, lithontriptic, nutritious and nervine tonic. It is useful in cephalalgia, vitiated conditions, burning sensation, dysopia, cough, obstruction of liver and spleen, skin diseases, inflammation, renal and vesical calculi and general debility. The oil is sweet, cooling, antispasmodic and sedative. It is useful in cough, wounds, ulcers, burning sensation, cracked skin and amentia.
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