Thursday, August 9, 2012

APRICOT (Prunus armeniaca L.)

APRICOT (Prunus armeniaca L.) ++
Synonyms — Amygdalus armeniaca (L.) Dumort., Armeniaca vulgaris Lam., P. armeniaca var.
vulgaris Zabel.
Activities (Apricot) — Antidote (f; CRC); Antispasmodic (f; CRC); Antithyroid (1; AKT); Antitumor
(f; APA); Antitussive (f; CRC); Aphrodisiac (f; CRC); Cyanogenic (f; CRC); Demulcent (f;
CRC); Emollient (f; CRC); Expectorant (f; CRC); Pectoral (f; CRC); Poison (1; CRC); Sedative
(f; CRC); Tonic (f; CRC); Vermifuge (f; CRC); Vulnerary (f; CRC).
Indications (Apricot) — Anemia (f; CRC); Asthma (f; APA; CRC); Bleeding (f; CRC); Bronchosis
(2; APA; CRC); Cancer (1; APA; CAN; JLH); Catarrh (f; CRC); Childbirth (f; CRC); Cold (f;
CRC); Congestion (f; APA); Conjunctivosis (f; CRC); Constipation (f; APA; CRC); Cough (f; APA;
CRC); Cramp (f; CRC); Fever (f; CRC); Heart (f; CRC); Infertility (f; CRC); Inflammation (f;
CRC); Insomnia (f; CRC); Itch (f; APA); Laryngosis (f; CRC); Nervousness (f; CRC); Rheumatism
(f; CRC); Snakebite (f; APA); Sore (f; APA); Sore Throat (f; CRC); Swelling (f; CRC; JLH); Thirst
(f; CRC); Toothache (f; APA); Trichomoniasis (2; APA); Tumor (f; APA; CRC; JLH); Ulcer (f;
JLH); Vaginosis (2; APA); Vulvosis (2; APA); Worm (f; CRC).
Dosages (Apricot) — Do not use (APA). Not covered (PHR).
Contraindications, Interactions, and Side Effects (Apricot) — Class 3 (AHP). Also known
as bitter almond. One of the products apricot seed components break down into in the human
body is highly toxic prussic acid. Fifty to 60 kernels of apricot seed can kill adults; 7–10 can
be fatal in children. My CRC handbook says that a “double kernel is said to be enough to kill
a man” (CRC). I think that is overkill. Headache and nausea occurred in some patients being
treated for chronic bronchosis with a paste of apricot seed and sugar. Possible adverse interaction
when taken with Astragalus, skullcap, or kudzu root (TMA, 1996). Kernels may cause contact
dermatosis. Cyanogenetic glycosides in the seed can cause cyanide poisoning (CAN). Because
of cyanide toxicity, apricots use in pregnancy and lactation is to be avoided. Avoid in pregnancy;
ingestion of cyanogenic substances may be teratogenic. Oral doses of 50 mg HCN (+~ 30 g
kernels = 50–60 kernels with ca 2000 ppm HCN). More than 20 deaths have been reported
from laetrile and apricot kernel ingestion (CAN). Symptoms of acute intoxication include
convulsions, dizziness, drowsiness, dyspnea, headache, hypotension, nausea, paralysis, coma,
and then death. Death may occur from 1 to 15 minutes after ingestion. Antidotes for cyanide
poisoning include aminophenol, cobalt edetate, hydroxocobalamin, nitrite, and thiosulphate.
Symptoms of chronic intoxication (from HCN, cyanogenic foods, or drugs such as laetrile)
include ataxia, blindness, cretinism, goiter, hypertonia, increased blood thiocyanate, lesions of
the optic nerve, mental retardation, and thyroid cancer. Demyelinating lesions and other neuromyopathies
may occur secondary to chronic cyanide exposure, including long-term laetrile
therapy. Agranulocytosis has also been attributed to long-term laetrile therapy. Laetrile, spelled
with capital L, signifies a synthetic patented in 1961 but never sold in the U.S. Spelled with a
small l, laetrile is, for lay purposes, synonymous with amygdalin. After making this distinction,
APA spells it with small l, except of course, at the beginning of a sentence, when they say,
“Laetrile consists of 6 percent cyanide (prussic or hydrocyanic acid), a highly poisonous
substance that can kill by depriving the brain of oxygen.” Then they unleash a hyperbolic error,
I presume, “the laetrile content of apricot pits varies from as much as 8 percent in some apricot
varieties to twenty times that amount in wild varieties.” Krebs marketed laetrile with a small l
as vitamin B-17 (AHA).
Clinical (Apricot) — A retrospective analysis of laetrile in patients with cancer showed slight
activity. A subsequent clinical trial concluded that laetrile was ineffective in cancer treatment.
Claims for laetrile were based on three different theories: (1) Claimed that cancerous cells
contained copious beta-glucosidases, which release HCN from laetrile via hydrolysis. Normal

cells were reportedly unaffected because they contained low concentrations of beta-glucosidases
and high concentrations of rhodanese, which converts HCN to the less toxic thiocyanate. Later,
however, it was shown that both cancerous and normal cells contain only trace amounts of betaglucosidases,
and similar amounts of rhodanese. Also, it was thought that amygdalin was not
absorbed intact from the gastrointestinal tract (CAN); (2) Proposed that after ingestion, amygdalin
was hydrolyzed to mandelonitrile, transported intact to the liver and converted to a beta-glucuronide
complex, which was then carried to the cancerous cells, hydrolyzed by beta-glucuronidases
to release mandelonitrile, and then HCN. This was believed an untenable theory; (3) Called
laetrile vitamin B-17, and with that, cancer is a result of B-17-deficiency. It postulated that
chronic administration of laetrile would prevent cancer. No evidence was adduced to substantiate
this hypothesis. Furthermore, it was even claimed that patients taking laetrile reduced their life
expectancy, both through of lack of proper medical care and chronic cyanide poisoning. In order
to reduce potential risks to the general public, amygdalin was made a prescription-only medicine
in 1984 (CAN).

Related Posts


  1. There is a very broad range of apricot kernels available that encompass the entire spectrum of amygdalin content - from very little, to quite a lot. The bitterness of an apricot kernel is indicative of its amygdalin content. Both sweet and bitter varieties contain quantities of amygdalin. However, people don’t realize the significant range of amygdalin content of the apricot kernels being sold as “bitter” varieties.

    45 apricot kernels of one variety are all that is required for a daily dose of 1,500 mg of amygdalin. This is a dose that falls within a therapeutic range. In another variety of “bitter” apricot kernels, 200 kernels would have to be consumed in order to achieve similar quantities. However, the people using this variety are still adhering to common dosage guidelines, which means, at best, they’re likely only receiving 80-100 mg of amygdalin, and that’s at 45 apricot kernels per day.

    The variety of bitter apricot kernel is critical to their efficacy. The wrong variety will simply not work.

    I talk about this in more detail on my own blog at

    My mission is to promote apricot kernels correctly. There is so much misinformation online regarding apricot kernels, a large percentage of users aren't giving themselves the best chance they have. I want to clear up some of these myths and misconceptions and attempt to level out the terrain. Apricot kernels absolutely deserve respect in the realm of alternative therapies, but the propagation of misinformation will continue to mar their reputation and their efficacy.