- Apricot Seed Planting – How To Start An Apricot Tree From A Pit
- Can You Plant an Apricot Seed?
- How to Start an Apricot Tree from a Pit
- Apricot Seed Planting
- Should You Try and Grow an Apricot Tree from Seed?
- Germination stages. ( A ) An apricot seed with shell; ( B ) an apricot seed isolated from shell; ( C ) a whole embryo isolated from shell and testa; ( D ) the separation of cotyledons from embryo; ( E ) embryos without cotyledons cultured on Murashige and Skoog medium.
- Will Eating Apricot Seeds Kill You? Know the Truth!
- How Apricots Can Poison You
Apricot Seed Planting – How To Start An Apricot Tree From A Pit
Ever finish eating a succulent apricot, ready to toss the pit away, and think, hmm, this is a seed. Do you wonder, “Can you plant an apricot seed?” If so, how do I go about planting apricot pits? Find out in this article and give it a go.
Can You Plant an Apricot Seed?
Query no more. Yes, growing apricots from seed is possible, cheap, and fun. So, how to start an apricot tree from a pit? Growing apricots from seed is an easy project and, in fact, pits from a variety of fruit can be used to grow trees.
Cross pollination between varieties begets uncertain results, so most fruit trees are not grown from seeds. Instead, cuttings or buds of the most favorable specimens are grafted onto rootstock to produce trees that are near carbon copies of the parent trees. These grafted trees are then sold to you for a pretty penny.
In the case of not only apricots, but peaches and nectarines, the hard almond-like seeds generally tend to carry on the most desirable traits of the parents. You are still taking a chance, but regardless, the growing part is lots of fun even if the resulting fruit
is less than stellar.
How to Start an Apricot Tree from a Pit
To begin your apricot seed planting, choose a luscious mid- to late-season type of apricot, ideally one that was grown from seed itself. Eat the fruit; actually eat a few to up the chances of germination and save your pits. Scrub any flesh off and lay them out on newspaper for three hours or so to dry.
Now you need to get the seed out of the pit. Use a hammer gingerly on the side of the pit to crack it. You can also use a nutcracker or vise. The idea is to get the seed out of the pit without crushing it. If you are in doubt that any of these methods will work for you, as a last resort, you can just plant the entire pit but germination will take longer.
Once you have retrieved the seeds, allow them to dry on the newspaper for a few more hours. You can now store them in a cover jar or zip-top plastic bag in refrigerator to stratify the seeds for 60 days. Whether to stratify of not depends on where you obtained the fruit. If purchased from a grocery store, the fruit has already been cold stored, so it is less likely to need to stratify; but if you bought them from a farmers market or plucked them directly from a tree, it is necessary to stratify the seeds.
If you are not going to stratify the seeds, wrap them in a clean, damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag in a window. Keep an eye on it. Water as needed to keep it moist and change the paper towel if it begins to mildew.
Apricot Seed Planting
Planting time for apricot seeds from pits is signaled once you see some roots emerge. Pot the sprouting seeds. Put one seed per 4-inch pot filled with potting soil with the root end down.
Keep the growing apricots from seed in a sunny window, under grow lights or in a greenhouse until they get bigger and it is time to transplant them out into the garden.
With luck and patience, you will be rewarded with sweet, juicy apricots from your own tree in three to five years.
By Erin Marissa Russell
If you’re ready to grow an apricot tree, either from an apricot pit or from an established sapling, and you need to know the steps you should take to plant and care for the tree, this is the guide for you. There are few things in life tastier than a fresh apricot (or the treats you can bake with fresh apricots), unless it’s a homegrown apricot fresh from your own tree, bitten into while it’s still warm from the sun.
It’s easy to see why apricot trees top the wish lists of so many gardeners. Keep on reading to learn exactly the steps you should follow to plant your pit, seed, or sapling and watch it grow into a lush, productive adult apricot tree.
About Apricot Trees
Apricots are a Mediterranean stone fruit with fuzzy, velvet-like skin in a rosy peach shade with juicy, tender flesh inside. The trees produce fruit 120 days after blossoms appear. An apricot tree in bloom is a striking sight, with rosy pink buds against wood in a shade of brown so deep it’s almost black. The buds open into delicate white blossoms with golden centers.
Growing Conditions for Apricot Trees
Apricots thrive in cool weather, so in the United States, the trees perform their best up north but are suitable in the west as well. (Specifically, apricot trees are hardy in USDA growing zones five through eight.) They do best in locations with warm, sunny springs and summers where they can be provided plenty of hydration. Your apricot tree needs between 700 and 1,000 hours with temperatures dipping below 45 degrees Fahrenheit to put out fruit each year. (These are called “chill hours.”)
Because they bloom at the end of February through the beginning of March, they can fall prey to damage from late frosts. Choosing the hardiest variety available to you offers some protection against this climate hazard.
Your apricot trees will need full sun and a minimum of four to nine feet of well-draining soil to develop the strong roots required for a bountiful harvest. Choosing the place where you’ll plant your apricot tree may seem like a quick decision you’ll make before the real work begins, but in fact, the location has tons to do with how successful your tree will be in the long run.
Be sure to select a spot that has plenty of room for your tree to stretch out its roots and branches—and you’ll need to take into account the size and spread of an adult tree, not just the growth you can foresee for the next few seasons. Planting your new tree too close to others can cause competition for resources and nutrients, and we don’t mean the healthy kind of competition.
Concrete walkways, pipes under the surface of the ground, or power lines spanning the sky too near your planting spot can be just as troublesome as other trees encroaching, so don’t forget to take those into account. Also, just because you aren’t personally aware of any below-ground obstacles doesn’t mean they aren’t there. The last thing you want to do is disrupt vital utilities in your home or for one of your neighbors when you start to dig, so take a moment in the planning phase to call 811 and ensure the spot where you’ll be planting your apricot tree is safe and free of underground obstructions.
Not only will it save you time and trouble when you take this precaution, the quick call may even save you money—there can be fines associated with disrupting these underground utilities if you fail to call 811. For more details and your region’s contact instructions, you can visit the Common Ground Alliance damage prevention website and select the state where you live on the map.
To give your apricots the best possible shot at success, you’ll want to do everything you can to draw in pollinators like birds and bees or other flying insects. First, do your utmost to use organic insecticides and other treatments instead of relying on chemicals, as the harsher stuff can discourage pollinators from flying by your garden or be detrimental to their population, resulting in fewer fruits on your apricot tree.
You can also bribe pollinators to hang out near your trees by making sure that your garden features blooming plants year-round—native plants when possible. Refer to ecoregional planting guides from the nonprofit Pollinator Partnership to learn exactly which plants you should include in your garden to entice the pollinators that live in your area.
How to Plant Apricot Trees from Pits
When you plant your tree from a stone, the pit in the center of a ripe apricot, expect a three- to four-year wait before your seedling becomes a tree that can bear its own fruit. Kick things off by soaking the stone you’ll use in water for a full 24 hours. Once soaking is done, nestle the stone into moist peat, damp sand, or wet paper towels. Enclose the seed and damp material in a Ziploc bag, and refrigerate it for at least a month. Move on to the planting steps listed below for saplings once the month has elapsed.
How to Plant Apricot Trees from Saplings
Most saplings a gardener purchases will need two years of care before they’ve matured enough to start producing apricots. In the location you’ve selected, dig a deep hole and add lots of decomposed organic material mixed with high quality garden soil.
If your apricot sapling came equipped with its own peat pot, leave the pot around the tree when you plant it. You can cut slits into the container to give the sapling’s roots a head start at branching out, but take care not to slice into the roots when you add these slits. If your tree came enclosed in a bag, remove the bag before planting.
Care of Apricot Trees
Your apricot trees will need fertilizer in late winter, in the spring, and while they’re fruiting during the summer months to do their best. With the first irrigation in spring, water in one or two pounds of urea, then give young trees a quarter of the first treatment amount each month during the summer. Alternatively, you can opt for the convenience of fruit tree fertilizer stakes.
Then, before rains begin in the fall, prune the tree to remove branches that have died or are suffering from disease. Also prune to create some space in areas where the tree has grown too thick and compact so that sunlight can reach the leaves and fruit and air can circulate around the branches. Keep in mind that apricot fruits grow on the second year of growth. That means you’ll need to be careful when pruning (especially in your first year with your tree) to leave plenty of the previous year’s branches intact so that your tree has what it needs to bear fruit. Make sure to handle the year’s pruning before the new growing season begins the next spring.
During its first year of growth, your apricot tree will benefit from the support of staking to prevent wind damage.
Although a tree that’s drooping with thickly clustered fruit looks healthy and productive to the untrained eye, the truth is that fruit crammed too closely together is bound to rot quicker than it has to. That means that if you want to get the longest life out of your apricots (and prevent them from rotting practically as soon as they ripen), you’ll need to thin out some of the fruit on the tree so the remaining ones can benefit from air circulating around them, not to mention make the most of the tree’s resources.
At the beginning of the spring season, when the fruit on the branches is between three quarters of an inch to an inch around, twist off some of the apricots (don’t pull down or use too much force) so that the remaining pieces have two to four inches of space around each of them to ripen without being stifled by their neighbors. If your apricot tree is too tall for you to safely thin out the fruit, you can use a grabber or bamboo pole cushioned with thick tape to help you reach the pieces you’re removing. Simply tap the bottom of the fruits you’d like to remove with the pole and let them fall to the ground.
How to Propagate Apricot Trees
The most foolproof way to propagate new apricot trees from your existing specimens is to take a cutting. Propagation by cutting is best handled in the fall while leaves still cling to the tree or while it is dormant in winter. Take your cuttings as soon before you’ll plant as you possibly can, and keep the new cuttings moist so they stay healthy and strong until you can get them in the ground.
Use pruning clips to slice through a section of tree on the bias, creating a new cutting between six and nine inches long and as big around as a standard pencil. Select cuttings that include at least three or four leaf axils or buds. If the bottom half of the new cutting has leaves, strip to remove them, but allow leaves on the top half of the cutting to remain attached. You can refer to the color and texture of these leaves when you need to check the health of your newly propagated apricot cuttings.
If you won’t be planting immediately, wrap the bottom portion of the cuttings in moist paper towels, then enclose them in a resealable plastic bag. Store cuttings in partial shade or, if your cuttings are bare of foliage, you can opt for full sun instead. When it’s time to plant, moisten the open end of the cutting and dip it into rooting hormone powder. Then bury the branch several inches deep in a pot full of fresh, damp sand or peat. Consistently water the newly propagated apricot trees until they begin to put out new growth in the spring,
Garden Pests and Diseases of Apricot Trees
In the section that discussed growing conditions, we mentioned the possibility of apricot trees being damaged by early frosts. The climate isn’t the only hazard that can threaten your apricot trees, however. Your trees can also fall victim to diseases or pests. Here are a few of the most common maladies apricots struggle with and what you can do to prevent them harming your trees. As usual, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so be familiar with the challenges apricot trees are susceptible to so you can head them off before they rear their ugly heads.
- Bacterial canker: This organism takes advantage of stone fruit trees that are weakened due to stress, coming down hardest on cherry, peach, and apricot trees. Trees with bacterial canker show their symptoms in the spring as infected blossoms open and the twigs they’re growing on begin to die off. Flowers and leaves may appear late or fail to appear at all in affected areas. Some afflicted trees may show sap that oozes or appears in water-soaked spots along with a sour smell, increased water spouts, or dark purple leaf spots that turn necrotic. The best way to prevent bacterial canker from taking hold is to avoid the most common sources of stress in these trees, which include damage from freezing or sunscald, soil that’s too light and sandy or drains poorly, the ring nematode Mesocriconema xenoplax, improper pruning, and damage from collision with gardening equipment.
- Powdery mildew: The fungi behind powdery mildew are the cause of a common struggle for gardeners in warm, dry areas. Look for the disease’s hallmark gray or white areas that look like talcum powder—these are deposits of fungal spores. This quickly spreading fungus can survive over the winter on fallen branches or twigs before redistributing when they’re uncovered in spring. To counteract apricot trees’ weakness for powdery mildew, avoid applying nitrogen to your garden in late summer, clear away fallen plant debris and prune trees carefully, and apply a fungicide at the first sign of trouble. Our article on how to identify, prevent, and treat powdery mildew has more detailed information.
- Root rot, also called root fungus: Trees can suffer from phythphthora root rot as a result of the roots staying too wet for too long. Visually, leaves look like they do when stressed by drought (wilting and losing color), and they may die when warmer weather arrives. The tree’s bark might display darkening around the soil line or, underneath the surface, a reddish-brown hue. Root fungus may be spread via water, compromised gardening tools, or infected soil. To treat, add drainage, raise plants when possible, cease overwatering, and remove potential sources of infection.
- Aphids: Most gardeners have encountered aphids a time or two before. They’re tiny soft-bodied insects in a variety of colors that suck the sap from plants. The bugs themselves are visible on the undersides of the leaves of afflicted plants, and the leaves of plants infested by aphids demonstrate distorted shape or may fall off the plant. Our article on controlling aphids offers 20 different methods of fighting them off.
- Peach twig borers: Peach twig borers infest apricots, nectarines, peaches, and plums. Larva hatch from eggs, spend time wrapped in a cocoon, then emerge as adult moths that are gray with black and white scales. The first symptom of a peach twig borer problem is often observed in spring, when new growth begins to wilt from the damage they do. Larva can be sniffed out due to the small piles of sawdust and wood chips stacked above where they feed, or they may instead feed on the apricots themselves. The adults tunnel through the tree’s new growth, eating leaves and buds along the way. Keep an eye on new shoots in April and the beginning of May, watching carefully for signs of this pest so you can stamp them out before they get out of control. Open shoots that show signs of wilting to look for the borers hiding inside. Peach twig borers can be fought by treating with insecticide just before flowers bloom and again when petals fall, catching them with pheromone traps, or by deploying the tiny Pentalitomastix pyralis wasp that parasitizes them.
If birds are pillaging the apricots on your tree before you get to taste them, pest netting can be an effective countermeasure. If the netting doesn’t do the trick, you can turn to these 12 humane ways to keep birds at bay in your garden.
Whether you choose to purchase young apricot trees and nurture them to maturity or you opt for the mega-affordable (though slightly more time-intensive) route of starting your apricot trees from the pit of an apricot, the rewards of a beautiful tree in your garden and your own private supply of this juicy, rosy stone fruit are well worth the time you’ll put into caring for your apricot tree. That said, there’s no reason to lose precious time with trial and error—and armed with the information from this guide, you won’t need to worry about wasting your time reinventing the wheel.
Want to learn more about growing apricot trees?
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension covers Bacterial Canker of Stone Fruits
The Gardener’s Network covers How to Grow Apricot Trees
Garden Guides covers How to Take Apricot Tree Cuttings
Gardening Channel covers Tips for Planting Fruit Trees
Gardening Know How covers Growing Apricot Trees
Gardening Know How covers Apricot Tree Pests
Gardening Know How covers Growing Apricot from Pit
Gardening Know How covers Harvesting Apricots
Gardening Know How covers Thinning Apricot Trees
Harvest to Table covers Apricots
SFGate Homeguides covers Growing Zone for Apricots
SFGate Homeguides covers Insects Invade Apricot Trees
Houzz covers How to Propagate Apricot Trees
Hunker covers How to Grow Apricot Trees from Pits
Missouri Botanical Garden covers Phytophthora Root Rot of Trees and Shrubs
Nature & Garden covers Apricot Tree
Permaculture Research Institute covers Different Methods for Propagating Fruit Trees from Cuttings
Plant Village covers Apricots
Royal Horticultural Society covers Apricots
The Sacramento Bee covers Why Won’t Apricot Tree Bear Fruit
Stark Bros Nurseries covers Growing Apricot Trees
Stark Bros Nurseries covers How to Grow Apricot Trees
Texas Gardener covers Apricots
The Spruce Eats covers Apricot Selection and Storage
Washington State University covers Orchard Pest Management
Tree Removal covers How & When to Prune an Apricot Tree
A question came in about growing apricots from pits, and because it would be a fun project to do with children, let’s learn more. (The question is on the Seed of the Week: Apricots post.)
First of all, can you grow an apricot tree from a pit or seed? The answer is yes, it is possible.
Another issue is whether the fruit will be any good. When you grow seeds from plants that have not had controlled pollination, or where you don’t know much about the source (such as a fruit you bought at the store), you are taking a chance. You will not be able to predict what the fruit quality will be until your tree is big enough to produce fruit. The good news is that peaches, nectarines and apricots show less variability in fruit quality than some other fruit trees do.
What you will need:
- reasonably fresh apricot pits
- hammer, vise or nut cracker to open the pit
- plastic close-top bag
- paper towels
- water source
Later you will need potting soil and a pot.
To grow a plant more quickly, you will need to get the almond-like seed out of the pit (the hard outer covering) without crushing it. If you are good with a hammer, you can set the pit on its side and with a single stroke the pit should break open. If you are not used to using a hammer, try a nut cracker or vise instead. Using pits that are clean and dry is easiest. As a last resort, you can germinate a seed in the pit, it will simply take longer.
Once you have the seeds out, wrap them in a clean, moist paper towel. The best way to prepare the paper towel is to wet it thoroughly and then wring it out until it is like a moist sponge. Try to keep everything as clean as possible, so you don’t get a lot of mold growing. Place the paper towel with the seeds in it in a plastic bag and set them in a window.
Check regularly for changes. Water as needed to keep moist. Change the paper towels if things start to look moldy. Once the roots start to emerge, transfer the seeds to a pot full of potting soil and water regularly. After a few months you can replant outside, depending on the planting season in your climate. Contact your local fruit tree growers organizations or Cooperative Extension for growing tips in your area.
Stratification or not?
Some people recommend giving apricot seeds a period of cold temperatures (less than 40°F) for over 60 days prior to germination. Subjecting seeds to cold is called stratification. There seems to be some disagreement about whether apricots really require cold to germinate or not. It is possible that the fruit you buy has been held at cold enough temperatures already. To hedge your bets, save a few seeds, wrap them in moist paper towels as described above and store them in a fridge. If the ones in the bags don’t germinate within a few weeks to a month or so, try again with the ones you have chilled after 60 days. Sometimes it just comes down to luck with getting the conditions right.
The person in this video does not mention chilling and yet she seems to have been successful. She does suck the air out of the bag, perhaps to keep down mold?
Aren’t those plants inspiring?
If you grow some apricots, peaches or nectarines from seeds, we’d love to hear what works for you.
Should You Try and Grow an Apricot Tree from Seed?
Why Growing Apricot Trees from Seed Does Not Work
Fruit trees are heterozygotes , and this means they do not grow out the same as their parent tree when started from seed. Almost all varieties of fruit trees are grown by grafting cuttings from mature trees onto root-stock. These cuttings are called scions, and they grow-up to have the same genetics as the tree they were cut from.
If you plant a seed from an apricot, apple, cherry, peach, or plum tree, it may sprout and grow. But it will also very likely be quite different than its parent. The same is true for human beings, as well.
Starting fruit trees like apricots from seeds is a gamble, and only very rarely does a worthwhile tree with edible fruit appear. However, on occasion, an apricot tree grown from seed will produce a new and useful variety of apricot.
A woman named Mrs. Smith in Australia had the good fortune of finding an apple tree with exceptionally good fruit growing from a seed she had dropped in her garden. It is from scions taken from this original stock which all Granny Smith apples are now produced.
If you want to plant apricot trees and harvest tasty fruit, the safest option is starting with a sapling from a nursery.
Some Reasons to Grow Apricots from Seed
However, you may want to grow your own apricot root-stock and graft a cutting onto it from a known variety. To do this, you will need to:
- Take an apricot seed from a ripe fruit and clean it thoroughly.
- Place the seed in a jar with a loosely fitting lid and put it in the refrigerator for at least 60 days.
- Then, plant the seed about 2 inches (5cm) deep in a pot or in the garden and cover it with wire mesh to keep squirrels or other animals from digging it up.
- Care for your apricot seed and water it regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soggy until it sprouts.
Your apricot tree grown from seed may become a nice landscape plant, but it is unlikely to be the same as the apricot it came from.
On the other hand, you may be lucky like Mrs. Smith and produce a new and delicious variety of apricot which people will continue growing and enjoying for years to come.
Germination stages. ( A ) An apricot seed with shell; ( B ) an apricot seed isolated from shell; ( C ) a whole embryo isolated from shell and testa; ( D ) the separation of cotyledons from embryo; ( E ) embryos without cotyledons cultured on Murashige and Skoog medium.
Çalışmada Armking, Bigtop, Caldesi nektarin (Prunus persica var. nectarine Maxim.) ve Methley japon eriği (Prunus salicina) çeşitlerinde embriyo kültürü çalışmaları gerçekleştirilmiştir. In vitro şartlarda izole edilen embriyolar BAP (0.5 – 1 – 1.5 mg/l) ve GA3 (0.1 mg/l)’ün farklı konsantrasyon ve kombinasyonlarını içeren MS besin ortamlarında kültüre alınmıştır. Çimlenme oranları, sürgün uzunluğu, kök uzunluğu, kardeşlenme oranları ve rozet bitki oluşumu çeşitler bazında belirlenerek ortamların ve genotipin etkileri incelenmiştir. En yüksek çimlenme oranları; Armking çeşidinde kontrol ve 1.5 mg/l BAP + 0.1 mg/l GA3 ortamında %100, Caldesi ve Methley çeşidinde 1.5 mg/l BAP + 0.1 mg/l GA3 ortamında sırasıyla %100, %86, Bigtop çeşitinde ise besin ortamlarının tamamında %100 oranında çimlenme sağlanmıştır. Armking ve Caldesi çeşitlerinde görülen yoğun bakteriyel kontaminasyondan dolayı bu çeşitlerde sadece çimlenme oranları belirlenmiştir. Bigtop ve Methley çeşitleri sürgün uzunluğu bakımından incelendiğinde, hem sürgün ve kök uzunluğu hem de kardeşlenme oranı bakımından, sırasıyla 1.47 cm, 2.15 cm ve 2.95 adet ile Methley çeşidinden en yüksek sonuçlar elde edilmiştir. Bigtop çeşidinde 0.5 mg/l BAP + 0.1 mg/l GA3, Methley çeşidinde ise 1 mg/l BAP + 0.1 mg/l GA3 ve 1.5 mg/l BAP + 0.1 mg/l GA3 içeren ortamlarda rozet bitki oluşumu gözlemlenmiştir. In this research embryo culture studies were performed in Armking, Bigtop, Caldesi nectarine varieties (Prunus persica var. nectarine Maxim.) and Methley japanese plum (Prunus salicina) variety. Embryos were isolated in-vitro conditions and were cultured in MS medium which containing different concentrations and combinations of BAP (0.5 to 1 – 1.5 mg/l) and GA3 (0.1 mg/l). Two weeks after germination, germination rates, shoot and root length, tillering and rosette plant rates were determined on the basis of different medium and genotypes. The highest germination rates were identified in Armking variety with control and 1.5 mg / l BAP + 0.1 mg / l GA3 medium 100%, Caldesi and Methley varieties with 1.5 mg / l BAP + 0.1 mg / l GA3 medium respectively 100%, 86% and in Bigtop variety 100% germination were seen at all of the hormon concentrations. Intensive bacterial contamination were seen in Armking and Caldesi varieties for that reason only germination rates were determined in these varieties. When analyzed Methley and Bigtop varieties in terms of shoot and root length as tillering rate, the highest result were obtained in Methley variety respectively 1,47 cm, 2,15 cm and 2,95. Rosette plant formation was observed in Bigtop variety with 0.5 mg / l BAP + 0.1 mg / l GA3 medium and in Methley variety with 1 mg / l BAP + 0.1 mg / l GA3 and 1.5 mg / l BAP + 0.1 mg / l GA3 medium.
Will Eating Apricot Seeds Kill You? Know the Truth!
Eating apricots is one of the healthiest options to keep healthy, you may agree. It has long been associated with its ability to cure various ailments. Apricots, scientifically known as Prunus armeniaca, are closely related to the plum family. Its consumption is known to have benefits that include curing indigestion, constipation, anemia, helps further improve your heart health, prevents the deterioration of eye sight and works towards reducing cholesterol levels. Apricot oil is known for treating skin disorders and asthma. It is also believed that the apricot seeds or kernels kill cancer cells. However, there is a raging debate on whether eating apricot seeds can be fatal or not. Read on as we try to get some answers related to apricot seeds.
Whether apricot seeds cure cancer or not is debatable Apricot Seeds Theory 1: They Cure Cancer
It is believed that apricot seeds kill cancer cells because they contain a component called laetrile, which is an apparent killer of cancer cells and is not toxic when consumed. The seeds also consist of Amygdalin or vitamin B17 which is found in highest concentration and is considered one of the most essential enzymes found in apricot kernel. It is also considered as the key ingredient to overcome cancer. Amygdalin or laetrile come in concurrence with the protective enzymes in healthy cells and the enzymes in cancer cells is thus able to destruct the cancer cells without menacing healthy cells. However, there is a completely different angle to this theory, which says that amygdalin has cyanide which is extremely dangerous for human health.
Apricot Seeds Theory 2: Consuming Them Can Kill You!
Apricot kernels have an active enzyme which is known as amygdalin, also known as vitamin B17 as it is a nitriloside and its structure resembles that of B complex, therefore it is conveniently named as vitamin B17 to label and market it as a healthy substance. It is found in around 1200 edible plants in the nature. The concentrated form of amygdalin is known as laetrile which is obtained by extracting it from the kernels. Amygdalin has two components including cyanide and benzaldehyde. As you consume the apricot kernel, this enzyme is converted into cyanide which is poisonous and can lead to some serious harm. This can cause symptoms including nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, liver damage, bluish discoloration of the skin due to lack of oxygen, extremely low blood pressure, fever, damaged nerves, mental confusion and in some extreme conditions, it can cause death.
Considering laetrile as a concentrated form of amygdalin, it is still known as non-toxic component as compared to amygdalin. However, moderation is the key. Eating it in a limit may help in some ways, but this does not make it a cure for cancer.
From the Experts: Are Apricot Seeds Really Dangerous?
When we connected with our expert Nutritionist, Dr. Rupali Dutta, she explained, “Apricot seed contains a toxic chemical called amygdalin which has cyanide in it that may cause serious harm to health. Also, it hasn’t been scientifically proven by AFSP, European Food Safety Authority or any other trusted food safety authority who qualifies apricot seeds as curers for cancer. I recommend people to be careful of what they are consuming for such serious ailments like cancer. Even if you are consuming it, be very sure of the dosage and see if you are prone to its toxicity. Always refer to a doctor before taking a decision.”
On the contrary, according to the book, Healing Foods by DK Publishing, The seed inside the stone of apricot is edible. Along with its anticancer properties, the author claims, apricot seeds help remove toxins and strengthens the body’s defenses against disease. The kernels also contain vitamin B17 (laetrile), shown in laboratory studies to kill cancer cells.
According to Nutritionist and Dietitian Mehar Rajput from FITPASS, “Apricots contains laetrile which are components believed to cure cancer. However, seeds also contain cyanide which is extremely hazardous for your body. There is no specific treatment for cancer, therefore do not blindly consume apricot seeds without referring to your doctor.”
Eating apricot in moderation is the key to remain healthy
CommentsIt is imperative to understand that without consulting a doctor, even consuming natural foods for ailments like cancer can be extremely harmful. Just because it is ‘natural’, it clearly does not mean it is safe for your health. Therefore, it is recommended to refer to your doctor before consuming such fruits or vegetables before taking a dietary decision.
Debates have long raged among medical professionals and patients about the effectiveness of vitamins and natural supplements. There is sketchy evidence at best for many of these natural cures—and some are downright dangerous. A recently documented medical case highlights these hazards of self-treatment, documenting an otherwise healthy man who poisoned himself by eating apricot kernels.
The case started when a 67-year-old retired Australian man who came to a hospital for routine surgery baffled his doctors with the low blood oxygen levels, reports Lara Pearce for HuffPost Australia. He was in remission for prostate cancer and otherwise seemed to be healthy. The man told his doctors that he even biked 50 miles a week.
After conducting a battery of tests, doctors were stunned to find high levels of cyanide in the man’s blood, reports Andrew Masterson for Cosmos. Yes cyanide, the poison that can kill a person in minutes if taken in high-enough doses. Luckily for the patient, the poison was present in “moderate” amounts: 1.6 milligrams of cyanide per liter of the man’s blood. This is below the 2.5 milligrams per liter mark that can put a person into a permanent coma, Masterson reports.
The man was not trying to slowly poison himself, it turns out, it was rather the opposite—he had been eating apricot kernels and kernel supplements for the past five years in a bid to help keep his prostate cancer in remission, reports Alessandra Potenza for The Verge. The seeds inside apricots that resemble almonds have been trumpeted as a miraculous natural cure for cancers. The toxicity of the cynaide supposedly kills off the cancer cells. But that is not the case, reports Potenza. The poison is just as toxic to healthy cells as it is to cancerous ones. The case was published this week in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
The apricot kernels themselves don’t have cyanide in them, but upon digestion the body converts a compound called laetrile into the poison. And despite the claims of some natural health practitioners, no existing studies have been found that meet scientific standards for proving that laetrile actually helps combat cancer, reports Rae Johnston for Gizmodo Australia.
“Physicians should be aware that self-prescription with complementary medicines can result in potentially harmful toxicities, and may be more common currently understood,” the doctors write in their study. They urge medical professionals to ask their patients about all supplements and other remedies they may be consuming.
The man at the center of this case was allowed to leave the hospital. But despite all of the evidence presented to him, he has decided to continue on self-treating with apricot kernels, reports Potenza.
How Apricots Can Poison You
Apricots are chock full of stuff that is good for your skin, bones, and brain, but it’s also possible to get too much of a good thing. For example, take the people self-administering megadoses of apricot kernels in order to kill cancer cells, a hypothesis which remains unconfirmed at best—or “worthless,” depending on who you ask. Not a great idea.
It turns out that apricot seeds can be toxic, even deadly, to humans. Apricot seeds contain a chemical called amygdalin, which your body chemically converts into cyanide. According to a recent case report by the British Medical Journal, a 67-year-old man developed cyanide poisoning from consuming too much apricot seed extract.
“The man explained that he had been taking two teaspoons of home-made apricot kernel extract every day for the past five years in addition to three tablets of Novodalin—a herbal fruit kernel supplement,” a related press release revealed. This brought the unnamed man’s cyanide levels to a whopping 25 times above the “acceptable” levels.
READ MORE: Caramel Apples Are Poison on a Stick
To be fair to the firm, hairy fruit, the man in question was also self-administering 17.32 milligrams of cyanide every day, in addition to his already pretty hardcore apricot seed intake. Still, apricot man, who reportedly has cancer, seemed undeterred by the fact that he literally poisoned himself. “The doctors made the man aware of their concerns about his fruit kernel diet, but he nevertheless opted to continue with it,” the press release concludes.
Despite the bad rap it’s gotten because of sneaky, murderous spouses over the years, cyanide is not inherently poisonous, and, as with most chemicals, dosage is everything. In fact, cyanide is in your table salt, almonds, and spinach, but if you’re a scorned lover it’s going to take a lot more than upping the amount of spinach in your partner’s smoothie to get rid of them.
In 2010, a study entitled “Cyanide poisoning caused by ingestion of apricot seeds” looked at 13 cases of children who had suffered from intoxication caused by apricot seeds. Symptoms included from hypotension, coma, convulsions, and four of the subjects had to be hooked up to mechanical ventilation. All of the poisoned children in these cases had to undergo a “gastric lavage” and almost half of them received a cyanide antidote treatment. All because they ingested too many apricot seeds.
So what is an acceptable dose of apricot seed? “This is the dilemma posed by our case report,” lead author Dr. Alex Konstantatos told MUNCHIES. “Cyanide levels have only been previously consistently measured in one situation and that is after a lethal dose to confirm cause of death. There are two case reports other than ours that measured a special pigment in the red blood cells after near lethal apricot kernel poisoning but this pigment only reflects that the antidote against cyanide is working.”
In other words, besides the fact that apricot seeds can be dangerous, little is known about what a non-deadly dose is. “In reality, we have very little idea of the ramifications of chronic sub-lethal doses of cyanide. We need to measure cyanide more often in people who regularly take ake and follow these people over time to see if there are dangers associated with sublethal levels of cyanide. The current recommendations are not so prescriptive except for one UK recommendation to take extract from less than two apricot kernels per day and I am not certain this recommendation is based on accurate scientific data.”
But this most recent case only adds to a solid body of medical evidence suggesting that apricots are not to be fucked with.