Science, Tech, Math › Science Is Eating Apple Seeds or Cherry Pits Safe? Here are testimonials from people who ate them telling how they felt Share Flipboard Email Print PhotoAlto/Eric Audras, Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated January 06, 2019 Eating apple seeds, peach seeds, or cherry pits is controversial. Some people believe the seeds and pits are toxic because they contain a cyanide-producing chemical, while others believe the seeds are therapeutic. Have you eaten apple seeds or cherry pits? Did you experience any effect from eating them? Here are some readers' experiences: Have Had Apple seeds and Cherry Pits As a child I was told it was good for me to consume the whole apple, including the seeds. As a result, I often did so. Whenever I got my hands on a peach, nectarine, plum, or apricot, I would suck and chew on the pit until it finally split in two and I would relish the floral and nutty-tasting center. Delicious! Nobody ever warned me and I was never hurt because of it. The cherry pits I swallowed were accidental. Fast forward to adulthood and I was shooting the breeze with a toxicologist who told me the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" actually only applied if the person consumed the entire apple, including the seeds. The small amount of cyanide in the seeds was supposed to create a hostile environment for pathogens, thus keeping the doctor away. Of course, you were only supposed to do this once a day. As a child I didn't limit myself to one a day when these fruits were in season. Just passing through Johnny Appleseed Ate Them ...and I will eat them, too. Just turned 69 yesterday, and apple seeds got me here. They taste good and I have never had a problem. I have never eaten them without the rest of the apple but I wouldn't be afraid to if I had cancer. Apple Lyn More Than an Apple Most are confused, but you would need to eat more than a cupful of apple seeds in a day to get poisoned, and you can slowly adapt to them and not get poisoned as easily. Cherry pits are only poisonous in the inside of the pits. Help Perspective I have eaten many cherry seeds for therapeutic reasons, as suggested in a book by the 12th century nun Hildegard of Bingen. I had a mild headache once or twice but usually nothing. In regard to them being poisonous, let's put this into perspective: There are hundreds of naturally occurring poisons in foods we eat every day. Caffeine is a poison, caffeic acid is a carcinogen. Broccoli, turkey, peanut butter, and many other plant and animal foods contain poisons and carcinogens. The dose makes the poison. Dave More Afraid of Mammograms I read in a book about a gentleman who was imprisoned for dispensing to people peach/apricot pits (the inside kernel). He had cancer himself and ate many, many apple seeds to treat himself. He had great success and so did the people he treated. I also am concerned about the amount of radiation in mammograms. and the repeat mammograms that are so often done because they are "difficult" to read. Radiation can cause cancer and here we have breasts pressed hard, but that is another subject. I have refused to have my third mammogram in seven months due to them saying they are "unsure" of the reading. Just something to consider. I have eaten apple seeds, a few here and there. They do have a slight almond taste. I am still alive, yes. but I thought it would be interesting to tell of the man (I won't release his name) who ate many of them, like 45 apples worth. His mom got the apples out of the garbage and made a pie, and he was still alive after. Jakki Apple Seeds I have eaten a few apple seeds in smoothies made using whole apples. In my opinion, they tasted pretty nasty, but I didn't suffer any ill effects. It takes somewhere between a half cup and a cup of seeds to poison you; your body can detoxify small doses. I don't think I would eat cherry pits or peach seeds, which contain much higher levels of the chemicals. Cooking the seeds inactivates the toxins, so they can be used in recipes without harm. gemdragon Cherry Pits I suddenly got a craving for cherry pits and apple seeds. I had breast and chemo cancer last year. Maybe there is something going on. I had no knowledge of them containing cyanide until I read info here. Chemo is the worst poison imaginable. I'll never do it again, but I'll listen to my body. DideeB Cherry Pits I once swallowed one, only one, cherry pit. But I did eat almost an entire bag of cherries, too, the same day, without the pits. The next day I was sick and vomiting. It was gross. However, once it was all out, I was fine and went back to eating cherries. Nylon Apricot Seed I ate an apricot seed just once and it gave me an instantaneous splitting headache. Never again will I eat apricot seeds. Angharad Dosage Is Key If you take small amounts of seeds over time, you build up a tolerance. If you have never eaten seeds of cherry or apple before and suddenly eat a whole bag of them, you could get quite Ill. So don't just think because people have done it for years it's OK to jump right in. Like anything that can be healthy, overdosing suddenly is not good. The body learns to adjust and needs time and practice to do so. Eli Cherry Stones I am a teenager and I love cherries. I always eat all the stones—unless, of course, we are having a stone-spitting contest. I an doing well and I eat like a whole bag when we buy them. No side effects whatsoever. Shay The Pits I am 56 years old and have been eating the seeds of cherries, apples, pears , watermelon, etc. I have never experienced any side effects from doing this.So who are you going to believe, the people or the doctors who are on the side of the pharmaceutical companies? I think I will take my chances and continue to do as I have always done. Rita Time Will Tell I started eating apple seeds earlier this year and I've noticed that they give me a lot of gas but that's the only side effect for me. Mzansi Apple Seeds If you eat the apple seeds, you might prevent, or even cure, cancer, and that would put the pharmaceutical companies out of business. Do not believe everything you hear and read, especially from them or the government. They taste like sweet almonds. They are loaded with vitamin B17, which you cannot find anymore. Do you know why you cannot find vitamin B17? Because it cures most forms of cancer and other diseases. It would put the pharmaceuticals out of business. Jo There's a Reason Those Pits Are Spit Out I knew that swallowing cherry pits could be fatal, but I figured that if that was the case, then how was it they were still being sold, if not for the pits not containing all that much poison? And in that respect, I was right. But, a few days ago I caught a cold, and I thought that juice would remedy it. The only juice I could get, though, was from cherries—whole cherries. Long story short, I must've eaten 15 to 30 of the little pits, and, call it the cold or not, but I felt very feverish in the stomach for a while afterward. Paolo Exaggerated Warnings Cherry and apple seeds do have cyanide in them, but not enough to cause harm. A full-grown adult male would have to eat at least a cup or more of seeds in a single sitting to notice any problems. A cup of seeds eaten throughout the day, however, will show no effects at all. Lisa 5 Apple Seeds a Day Keep the Doctors Away I chew and swallow the seeds from one to two apples per day (four to 12 seeds total) with no negative symptoms, but I've noticed that possible precancerous areas on my 54-year-old sunned arm have sloughed off dead skin and are appearing normal. Hmm. The cyanide is supposedly only released in the presence of a chemical that cancer cells contain. Nature is wiser than man. Dana-x Idiots You seed-eaters are weirdos. Those aren't meant to be eaten; that's why they're encased in a hard shell and/or a core. Brandi Apple Seeds and Cherry Pits Aren't Poisonous Out of laziness throughout my life, rather than spitting out the cherry pit, I just swallowed it. I am 57 now and healthy as a horse. Gayla Apricot Seeds It cures cancer. There's lots of vitamin B17 in the seeds of apricots. I ate apple seeds all my life and I'm 60 years old. Linus Yes, I Eat Apples Sometimes I eat the seeds and spit out the apple. Red fuji Apple Seeds? No Problemo I grind through the whole apple like a garbage disposal. The only part I don't eat is the twig that sticks out the top. I am still alive; I'll keep you posted when i die. Red fuji Cherry Brandy, the Wrong Way Drinking homemade cherry brandy, in which whole cherries, including pips, were soaked in brandy and sugar for two years, was a mistake. After two weeks of approximately one-third of a glass at bedtime each night, I developed acute headaches and high blood pressure. A strong overtone of almond flavor in the liqueur finally rang my alarm bells. Next year I'll remove the pips before making the liqueur. Dissily Mordentroge Mr. Positive Yes, I eat apple seeds. No, I have never had negative reactions. Jan van de Linde Apple Seeds I love apples. I always have eaten some seeds since I was a child. I love chewing on them after the apple. They tasted delicious and gingery. I'm over 30 and still alive and completely healthy. I've never felt any of the mentioned side effects thereafter. If they were really poisonous, I would think you would probably have to eat more seeds than you could probably get a hold of to feel an effect or actually die from it. heathers_rose Very Sick As a Child From Cherry Pits When I was a young girl, around the age of a Brownie but not yet a Girl Scout, my family bought a big bag of cherries. That night my mom, dad, brother, and I sat around the television and ate them all. Middle of the night I vomited cherries until the early dawn and continued to vomit well after my stomach was clear, dry heaving with a very, very high fever. My mother took me to the emergency room or doctor, I don't remember exactly, and I could not walk the loooong walkway into the hospital. I kept falling down because I had no use of my legs. She did not believe me, so I suffered and dragged myself into the building. It was horrible. All I remember next was suffering very hard in my bed, unable to move or get up, and my mom coming in and checking my fingernails every once in a while. I was so sick I think I was literally dying and I asked her if I was going to die, and of course she said no, but I still wonder maybe. Anyway, I recovered. Make sure your kids never swallow those pits. R. Sargent Apple Seeds I bite the apple seed, remove the shell and eat the inside. I usually eat about an apple a day and have my whole life without any problem. I love the seeds and have been told mixed opinions about whether or not they're harmful. Hannabel Peach Seed I just opened the inside of a peach pit, and there was an almond-like nut. I decided to try it and it tasted pretty good. I heard it's poisonous, but i doubt it. John Doe Cherry Pit I ate a cherry pit and I was scared at first. I started reading things on here. and if it has to do with just vomiting then I'm OK, but my stomach really hurt, so I never will eat one again, even if they taste good. idk Cherry Pits As a child I grew up on a farm eating a lot of cherries with pits instead of dessert or a meal, one or even two pounds. I love cherries as well as apples and never had any issues or got sick from it. I grew up that way and even now I'm eating the pits. Azra Watermelon and Apple I have eaten watermelon and apple seeds all my life. They're delicious and are actually healthy. I asked my doctor when I started reading about it being unhealthy. As a nail biter I was trying to quit and I just chewed on seeds instead of on nails. Alice Power Food With Selective Toxicity Therapeutic toxins? Pit contents may create an intolerant environment for life-destroying, malevolent attackers such as cancer and its pathogens (viruses, bacteria, prions, fungi, or protozoa) naturally to protect the seed while it grows to its fruition. But for a very sick person, eating the seed might hurt or kill him or her trying to kill the disease. But for a healthy person, non-radiated seeds may help protect health. I have always eaten pits long before I knew it was considered poison, as we had little food growing up and waste was out of the question. I always trust myself enough to not eat something that will kill me. Actually, what isn't poison if you eat too much of it? Just don't overdo it, or do it if you are really sick, as anything that can bust a tree out of a tiny hardwood shell must be powerful. I have high respect and am intrigued to no end at the power of a seed or pit. Denise Just the Inside of the Pit When I was 5 I was hungry and I used a stone to crack open the cherry pits I found on the ground after the birds ate them. I was hungry often. I ate lots of them, so many I went into a coma and my kidneys were bleeding. It almost killed me. Liz More About Eating Apple Seeds or Cherry Pits While I didn't have space to post all the responses to this question here, I have published other replies on my blog. You're welcome to read those responses and to post your own experience.