|MadSci Network: Botany|
Apricot pits or seeds contain cyanogenic (often spelled cyanogenetic) glycosides which release cyanide when digested. Therefore, you could conceivably be poisoned by eating too many apricot seeds. The "American Medical Association Handbook for Poisonous and Injurious Plants" (1985, AMA: Chicago) notes that people have been poisoned by eating apricot seeds. Livestock are also commonly poisoned because hundreds of plant species contain cyanogenic glycosides including sorghum species, white clover, vetch, hydrangea, arrow grass, corn, flax, lima beans, leaves and pits of Prunus species (cherries, apricots, peaches) and apple seeds. The cyanogenic glycoside in apricot is amygdalin and is the active ingredient in the bogus cancer drug laetrile. References Are apricot seeds poisonous? Extracting HCN from Seeds Questions and Answers About Laetrile/Amygdalin
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