MadSci Network: Botany

Re: Do apricot pits contain trace amounts of poison?

Date: Thu Apr 11 20:14:26 2002
Posted By: David Hershey, Faculty, Botany, NA
Area of science: Botany
ID: 1018490066.Bt

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. 


Are apricot seeds poisonous?

Extracting HCN from Seeds

Questions and Answers About Laetrile/Amygdalin

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