Cherry seeds contain cyanide, as do the seeds of apricots, peach, plums bitter almonds and the seeds of other pit or pome fruits (pear, apple).
Cyanide is generated by breaking down amygdalin present in cherry seeds. Its function is clear, together with the bone, it protects the seed, thus preventing predators from eating them.
In this way, stone fruit trees have, on the one hand, edible fruits to favor their consumption and expansion, but on the other hand, they protect the seeds physically with the stone and chemically with amygdalin (it breaks down into cyanide and benzaldehyde, providing an unpleasant and unpleasant taste). potentially lethal).
It is important to prevent the consumption of cherry seeds. These seeds are found inside the cherry pit and contain amygdalin, which our digestive system breaks down into hydrogen cyanide.
How much cyanide is in a cherry seed?
The amount of cyanide that a cherry seed contains can vary according to its size, variety…
According to the data from different sources that we have analyzed, the amygdalin present in a cherry pits is of the order of 3 %. However, only a part breaks down into cyanide (approximately 0.17% of the bone mass).
Taking into account that the cherry pit weighs around 0.5 grams or 500 milligrams:
We can estimate that the cyanide content of a cherry seed or stone is 0.85 mg.
Lethal amount of cyanide
Tolerance to cyanide can vary greatly from person to person, however, it is estimated that the lethal amount of cyanide is 50 milligrams in adults. Other sources estimate the lethal dose at 1 milligram per kg of body mass. Being children and pets more prone to poisoning.
It is important to take into account the consumption of cyanide, in addition to being fatal, it can also produce headaches, dizziness or vomiting at lower doses.
How many cherry pits are deadly?
According to the data used in our calculations, the cyanide content of a cherry pit or seed is 0.85 mg. Taking this into account, 1 gram of cherry is equivalent to 1.7 mg of hydrogen cyanide.
According to this relationship, 30 grams of cherry pits would be equivalent to 51 mg of cyanide and could be fatal.
Bearing in mind that the approximate weight of a cherry pit is 0.5 grams.
With this information, we can say that for an adult, consuming 60 cherry pits is potentially “ deadly ”. Although this amount of cherry seeds could be less or more according to each person’s tolerance to cyanide.
This calculation would be for the case of seeds easily assimilated by the organism (chewed).
What happens if I eat a cherry pit ?
We should not worry if we have inadvertently swallowed or consumed a cherry stone. The seed will remain practically intact inside the bone and hardly having been able to release said toxic substances. Even so, we must avoid repeated consumption of cherry seeds or pits, since as we have seen, hydrogen cyanide can be lethal.
Are cherries poisonous?
Cherries are not poisonous, it must be made clear that the danger is consuming the pits or seeds of cherries.
The properties of cherries thanks to their high content of antioxidants, anthocyanins and vitamins are very healthy.
Therefore, we can say that the consumption of cherries will be healthy and beneficial for us.
Symptoms of Cyanide Poisoning
Symptoms of mild poisoning are: dizziness, headache, vomiting, confusion>and anxiety.
A higher dose of cyanide can lead to difficulty breathing, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and >renal failure. Doses approaching the lethal amount can cause coma, convulsions and death from respiratory arrest.
Cherry pits properties
Some publications on alternative medicine talk about the fact that the amygdalin present in cherry seeds or pits could have interesting anticancer properties. Unfortunately, this promising information has led to several people around the world being poisoned by consuming seeds in potentially lethal amounts. Keep in mind that several studies have ruled out the possibility that amygdalin could help fight cancer.
The reason why orthomedicine related amygdalin to cancer cure is probably due to the low incidence of this disease among the Hunza population ( Pakistan). This population feeds on an interesting variety of fruits such as cherries, grapes, apples, peaches and pears as well as walnuts, apricot seeds and flax.
Cyanide blocks the arrival of oxygen to the cell and produces its suffocation by preventing cellular respiration, this being the cause of its lethality. According to this theory, cyanide asphyxiates mainly cancer cells.
Another of the interesting properties of cherry pits is to store heat, which is why they are used to make thermal bags and anti-stress cushions.
Could the toxic seed of the cherry be a powerful anti-carcinogen? Do the seeds of cherry stones have miraculous properties?Unfortunately, the current answer to these questions is no.
However, we can be sure that studies will continue to appear that demonstrate new properties of the cherry and its benefits for health.
You already know how much cyanide is in cherry pits and its potential lethality, surely more publications on our website will be interesting for you:
We have translated the information on our website from Spanish to English. Please note that some words may have had their meaning altered during translation.