Apricot kernels have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat afflictions such as colds and coughs. Almonds have a similar flavor, but are not believed to have the same medicinal value. Apricot kernel and almond are not the same at all. Unfortunately, the historial wrong Chinese translation of almond leads importers to translate apricot kernel as almond. All almonds under this category are Chinese apricot kernels, not the same as California or Italian almonds (which are "fat peach kernels") even though they are called southern or northern almond.
There are two quite different types of Chinese apricot kernels in name - southern apricot kernel (sweet) and northern apricot kernel (bitter). The sweet southern almond is more popularly used in food, while the bitter northern is more in Chinese medicine.