The posts created within this blog are my opinions or those of other proponents of apricot kernels and their use therapeutically. Though I endeavor to write nothing that isn't factual, I am not a scientist nor am I doctor. My writings are based on many years of experience, observation and research, and the conclusions drawn are my own. I want to stress the importance of having the advice and guidance of a practiced and experienced healthcare professional. You should only take my writings into consideration in the course of arriving at your own conclusions following extensive research. Research is essential in a proactive approach to well-being. You should feel well-informed and empowered before making any decisions about your health.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Apricot Kernels - Myths and Misconceptions

The following are a number of common myths and misconceptions involving apricot kernels and or amygdalin. Some of these misconceptions probably serve the apricot kernel cause well, but they've always troubled me and I feel it's necessary to correct them. The propagation of these misconceptions has the potential to cause someone harm.

Misconception: Apricot kernels contain arsenic.

Truth: Apricot kernels do not contain arsenic. This myth is the result of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Some apricot kernels are rich in a bound molecule called, 'Amygdalin'. This molecule contains one part dietary cyanide, which we believe to be essential to our total well-being. Our bodies naturally convert cyanide to another substance called, 'Thiocyanate'. Sickle cell anemia is a thiocyanate deficiency disease. Cyanide must therefore be a biologically rational dietary expectation. Our bodies have evolved to anticipate considerable quantities of cyanide within our diets.

Myth: Apricot kernel skins are poisonous.

Truth: This is a myth that has been going around for many, many years. Not sure where it started, but it possibly began with a misinformed chef or recipe. This is a case of broken telephone. The "poison" the skin is meant to contain is the cyanide the flesh of the kernel itself contains.

Myth: Apricot kernel oil contains B17 (amygdalin).

Truth: Whilst there may exist trace quantities of amygdalin within apricot kernel oil, amygdalin is actually bound to the flesh of apricot kernels. Amygdalin is commercially extracted from apricot kernels after the oil has been removed. This is why the oil lacks the characteristic bitterness and flavour of the seed itself.

Myth: Apricot kernels pose a major health risk. It's likely one would be poisoned if they were to consume apricot kernels.

Truth: Apricot kernels do contain cyanide, which is naturally found in many foods common to our diets. The ingestion of irrational quantities of any of these foods will result in a level of amygdalin the body is unable to safely metabolize. All foods contain substances that are potentially harmful in excessive quantities. If apricot kernels are used sensibly and within accordance of the quantities established for safe consumption, they pose no threat. Too much of anything can cause problems. In contrast to the highly toxic treatments being used in conventional medicine, apricot kernels are relatively safe.

Myth: The active component of apricot kernels, amygdalin (vitamin B17), has been proven ineffective in the treatment or prevention of cancer.

Truth: Apricot kernels suffer from pariah syndrome. They've been outcast and overlooked as a result of being confused with studies involving Laetrile. The efficacy of amygdalin has been proven many times, but these scientists and medical professionals were vilified and discounted. It has been openly recognized by once well-respected scientists around the globe and continues to be used successfully by several international clinics. This information has been ignored, if not suppressed, and the reputations of those who acknowledge its potential have been attacked and smeared in an effort to silence or belittle their conclusions. This has been well-documented and a search with our good friends, Google, will yield no shortage of interesting reading material. Scientific evidence aside, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. In my opinion, anecdotal evidence can have greater significance than scientific data, which seems very often biased in favor of an agenda.

I am unaware of any studies that involve the use of apricot kernels as the sole source of amygdalin. In my opinion, a suitable apricot kernel is adequate for the therapeutic benefit of amygdalin. The unfavorable studies that exist involve Laetrile, derived from apricot kernels. Whole nutritional substances work on different levels, the inherent constituents working together synergistically. This is why a Laetrile treatment protocol must always include apricot kernels.

Myth: Non-organic apricot kernels contain pesticides and are therefore inferior.

Truth: This myth was started by a seller of organic apricot kernels - likely to justify the extraordinary price discrepancy and create a perception of superiority. An apricot kernel can be very poor quality whether it is organic or not. Amygdalin content and freshness are the defining characteristics of a quality apricot kernel and nothing more. The hard shell of an apricot kernel is exceptionally dense and thick, which protects the kernel 100% from chemical sprays and treatments. Additionally, it resides within the center of the fruit. Rancid oil, on the other hand, be it organic rancid oil or conventional rancid oil, is a much greater concern than trace pesticides. Rancid oils are carcinogenic, so be sure to choose a fresh source of apricot kernels, organic or otherwise. Imported nuts and seeds are likely to be rancid or well on their way.

Myth: Apricot kernels are highly susceptible to aflatoxins.

Truth: The concern regarding aflatoxins is nothing more than a fear campaign started by an opportunistic supplier of apricot kernels in Australia. This mass-producer is an exporter of apricot kernels to the confectionery industry in the U.S.. Apricot kernels are used in the manufacture of marzipan and persipan. U.S. import laws require incoming commodities to be tested for aflatoxin. This exporter saw an opportunity to scare people away from purchasing other apricot kernels on the market. This myth has rippled across the internet and created yet another misconception to be unjustifiably concerned about. 

Myth: The amygdalin molecule is liberated only in the presence of cancerous tissue.

Truth: This myth incorporates a couple misconceptions. The amygdalin molecule is unlocked by an enzyme called beta-glucosidase. The first misconception is that this enzyme is found exclusively within cancerous tissue. Beta-glucosidase is found throughout the body, within healthy and cancerous tissue. Furthermore - apricot kernels themselves contain a beta-glucosidase in the form of amygdalase. With this inherent catalyst, the amygdalin molecule is actually liberated within the mouth through chewing in the presence of saliva. The bitterness you taste is, in fact, cyanide. The marzipan-like flavor is one of the other three liberated constituents, 'benzaldehyde'. The third constituent is glucose. Benzaldehyde is the food chemical that gives marzipan its familiar flavor and is the very reason apricot kernels are now used in its production. Marzipan was once manufactured using bitter almonds, which are no longer commercially available. Bitter almonds are almost chemically identical to bitter apricot kernels.

Unfortunately, it looks as though this misconception was started by Philip Binzel.

When Laetrile comes in contact with the enzyme beta-glucosidase, the Laetrile is broken down to form two molecules of glucose, one molecule of benzaldehyde and one molecule of hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Within the body, the cancer cell-and only the cancer cell-contains that enzyme. The key word here is that the HCN must be FORMED. It is not floating around freely in the Laetrile and then released. It must be manufactured. The enzyme beta-glucosidase, and only that enzyme, is capable of manufacturing the HCN from Laetrile. If there are no cancer cells in the body, there is no beta-glucosidase. If there is no beta-glucosidase, no HCN will be formed from the Laetrile.

Philip Binzel was referring specifically to Laetrile when he made this statement, but many have taken it to include apricot kernels. Though we know this statement about beta-glucosidase is wrong, it is correct that the molecule isn't liberated until it comes into contact with one of a number of similar enzymes. I'd like to add that, though Binzel was incorrect regarding this enzyme, his contribution in the metabolic therapy cause remains valuable. However, we must stop this misconception from continuing to propagate, as it ultimately damages the cause.  People continue to use this misunderstanding of amygdalin metabolism in their promotions of metabolic therapy.

This misconception has the potential to cause harm where apricot kernels are concerned. Read my post about safe dosage and be sure to use apricot kernels responsibly.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Apricot Kernels - Which Should Be Used?

This is an important question and one that should be considered carefully and seriously. If you choose the wrong apricot kernel, you're simply not going to benefit from them as you will an appropriate kernel, if at all. Consider this - you have a monster of a headache. An adult Tylenol or some other, suitable analgesic will quell your headache effectively. You have two choices at hand - one is a children's formula, the other is adult strength. The children's formula will have little to no impact. Which one will you choose to ease your suffering?

In the common literature available on the subject, apricot kernels are referred to in a very general way, as though all kernels are equal. You might be familiar with the distinctions of bitter apricot kernels versus sweet apricot kernels, but most people assume that one "bitter" kernel is as suitable as the next. The assumption has been made that they are all essentially the same regardless of their origins, their variety, their exposure to oxygen, their growing regions, growing climates, processing methods, etc.. All of these factors impact heavily on amygdalin content. When we read about the therapeutic qualities of apricot kernels, we're reading about an amygdalin-rich specimen. Anything less is not going to do the trick. I believe the source of apricot kernels can often explain one person's failure and another's success.

Though one apricot kernel may be considered bitter in nature, it may well have very little amygdalin. This is true of many apricot kernels being sold today. Generally speaking, apricot kernels that possess no bitterness are considered to be 'sweet' apricot kernels. They do still contain amygdalin, but in such small concentrations that the bitterness is overpowered by the sweeter flavors inherent to the variety. However, of the bitter varieties available, amygdalin concentrations vary greatly. The term, "bitter", is very much relative and subjective. Levels of amygdalin in bitter apricot kernels range from just above that of sweet almonds (approximately 1,400mg/kg) all the way up to levels close to bitter almonds, at roughly 68,000mg of amygdalin per kilo, or close to 7,000mg per 100 grams. Many of the vendors selling apricot kernels online are essentially selling 'sweet' apricot kernels. They may have a bitterness, but it is negligible. In order for them to have a therapeutic impact, one would have to consume very large quantities, which becomes detrimental for other reasons, such as fat content.

The bitter, the better - this is an apricot kernel saying some of you might be familiar with. The bitterness of an apricot kernel is generally indicative of amygdalin content. When buying apricot kernels, I recommend you purchase from, at least, two different sources initially. Ask the retailer if you can return the product if unhappy. Choose the one most bitter. If apricots are grown in your country, you're far better off finding a home-grown, suitably bitter variety. Apricot kernels imported in bulk will not be fresh, nor will they be unaffected by methods of processing. Import regulations for virtually all countries require seeds to be nonviable to prevent propagation and the spread of foreign diseases. The seed embryos can be destroyed in a manner of ways, from chemical to radiation. Once dead, the kernel is in a state of decomposition. You don't want these kernels, regardless of the marketing spin. You can, however, import them yourself in personal quantities from a country selling locally grown, fresh kernels. This may come at a higher price, but you'll be better off.


Sellers of imported kernels, such as those from India, Pakistan, China, and Turkey, are purchasing these at very low prices - as low as $1.00 per kilo, capitalizing on cheap labor and then selling them at massive profit margins. You should be aware of the differences. You do not want these kernels if you can access fresh, amygdalin-rich kernels from reputable vendors either locally, or from a country with standards. After apricot stones have been cracked, the shell must be separated from the kernels. The most common, cost-effective and efficient means to accomplish this is through floatation in a strong brine solution. Because amygdalin is water soluble, this very effectively reduces amygdalin levels. The longer the kernels are floated, the greater the reduction in amygdalin. The presence of salt in the floatation solution seems to greatly enhance the leaching of amygdalin. Many of these sellers are attempting to capitalize on the Hunza literature by referring to their kernels as "Hunza" or "Hunza region" kernels. These apricots are often irrigated with polluted water and processed with little to no standards. Apricots don't know where they're grown. They flourish where conditions are ideal. Freshness and cultivar dictate a kernel's amygdalin content.

Don't be lured by the promise of organic status. Organic status has no bearing on natural amygdalin levels. If the most bitter kernel available to you happens to be organic, terrific. However, some sellers of "organic" kernels suggest that their non-organic counterparts contain unusual concentrations of pesticide residue. This is baseless marketing spin. Don't concern yourself with the organic status of apricot kernels. Save this requirement for your food. With apricot kernels, we simply want the freshest product with the most amygdalin - if that product happens to be organic, terrific. Notice the price difference between "Organic" and non-Organic kernels. Same process - different price. Someone's making some money!

The best apricot kernels available are going to be those grown in the country of the retailer, provided that a truly bitter variety is available. They should be processed frequently, as opposed to annually, and they should be sorted by hand to ensure the absence of contaminants, infested seed and mold. Very importantly - they should not have been floated. Most imported apricot seed will have been separated from the shell fragments through floatation. This is a question your retailer will have to ask their supplier. If this is the case, you already know there is a diminished amygdalin content. Additionally, when seed gets wet after it has already dried, the rewetting serves to deactivate the seed's inherent enzyme-inhibitors. Once this happens and the seed doesn't continue the germination process, the embryo dies. Once dead, the seed enters a state of decomposition.

Choose your apricot kernels carefully. Once you've found one, establish your suitable dosage gradually and safely.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Apricot Kernels - Safe Dosage - A Practical Guide

How many kernels should we eat? How many kernels are safe to eat?

These are tricky questions that aren't always covered in a thorough way. There's a great deal of misinformation out there from both sides of the fence. Some sources are simply misinformed. Comments such as,

"Vitamin B17 which is naturally found in many foods like strawberries, cashews and apricot kernels is harmless. After all... it's Only Natural!".

This is an ignorant and irresponsible statement that has, no doubt, resulted in harm. There are countless natural substances that are potentially dangerous. Amygdalin is no exception, which is why we need to use it safely and with respect. Exercise caution with websites that make similar claims. The above website, for instance, appears to be credible through quantity of content. However, none of this content is original. Virtually every page on this popular website has been copied and pasted from other sources, as is often the case. The danger of this practice is that it propagates poor quality information and lends to the illusion of credibility. The hidden agenda is to drive traffic to its sales site - selling the very products it pretends to advocate without bias.

It is entirely possible to overwhelm our natural capacities to process amygdalin safely. Many people finding apricot kernels for the first time are likely to have an eager and ambitious approach to their use. Comments, such as the one above, may lend a hand in an overly-ambitious experiment that results in an undesirable scenario. Likewise, a one-size-fits-all dosage recommendation may also result in a negative experience for many of its followers. I'm going to draw some attention to critical considerations that are rarely addressed.

First of all - as with all things ingested, it's very important we monitor how our bodies react to new substances and quantities. As is the case with most substances we ingest, consumption should be measured and balanced. If the body tells us, through adverse reaction, that we've given it too much of something, it's only sensible to make an adjustment to the quantity. Be in tune with your body and listen to what it has to say.

With that in mind, let's talk about quantities for consumption.

It's important to be aware that each of us has a different capacity to process any substance. Think of alcohol for example - some people seem capable of consuming large volumes before intoxication becomes apparent, where others can be instantly and obviously affected after just one standard drink. This is also true of amygdalin. There's no "one size fits all" dosage.

Read my post on which kernels to use. Assuming we're using an amygdalin-rich apricot kernel, the rough guide many people adhere to is simply - not more than 5-6 kernels per hour. This will keep us out of serious harm's way. For a very few, side-effects may still be experienced even at this level. They will be minor and they will pass. If you are one of these individuals, experiment with that quantity, reducing it to a level that is tolerated. Increase after a few days one kernel at a time. For most, our bodies are well equipped to deal with these quantities without incident. By keeping to this rough guide, one can consume a considerable number of kernels over the course of the waking day. However - there will come a point where you'll find it more practical to consume closer to your maximum capacity a few times per day, or, perhaps, once in the morning and once at night with smaller quantities staggered throughout the day.

Our tolerance for amygdalin increases as the body comes to expect it in increasing quantities. It's important to start at small quantities, building up gradually over the days and weeks to follow. Maximum capacities will vary based on individual circumstances. I've been consuming apricot kernels for many years and I can eat quite a number of the most bitter kernels available without incident. This same number would cause another individual to feel very unwell indeed. Slow and steady. You'll get there.

The objective with amygdalin is to have as much within the system as we can comfortably tolerate without the experience of side-effects or adverse reactions. The trick is to build up to this quantity and to do this very gradually, over days and weeks. There is a threshold we must be mindful of. When we reach a quantity where we start to experience mild side-effects, such as dizziness or headache, this is the body telling us to put the brakes on - at least for the time-being. We want to find a suitable quantity we can consume before we reach these side-effects. By increasing quantities very gradually, one kernel at a time, one session at a time, we'll never over-do it to such a degree that we put ourselves in danger. The body response will always alert us to potential problems well before an issue of serious concern arises.

These quantities will be different for everyone, regardless of your gender, height or weight. Finding the balance is the key.

Though apricot kernels aren't very pleasant tasting, it's important to establish these safe quantities through chewing, as opposed to grinding then swallowing. Many people choose to grind their kernels and mix them with a liquid or some other more palatable substance. However, it's important to be mindful that this creates a very different experience for the body. When apricot kernels are chewed, side-effects can be experienced very soon after, as the amygdalin molecule's constituents are liberated in the mouth. They then very quickly enter the blood supply.

It is a myth and misconception that the molecule is liberated only at the site of cancer. Contrary to popular belief, apricot kernels themselves contain an enzyme capable of unlocking the amygdalin molecule. This enzyme is called, 'Amygdalase', which is a beta-glucosidase. When the kernel is crushed, as with chewing, and mixed with a liquid, such as saliva, the catalyst enzyme is brought into contact with the amygdalin molecule and the liberation takes place. The bitterness you taste is hydrocyanic acid, the marzipan flavor is benzaldehyde.

Ground apricot kernels don't undergo the same reaction. By grinding the kernels, they are essentially being broken down into thousands of miniature kernels. They haven't actually been crushed, nor mixed with a water containing-liquid, such as saliva. If they're mixed with juice or into a smoothie, they remain thousands of tiny kernels as they quickly pass through our mouths and into the digestive system. It isn't until they reach the intestines that the liberation occurs. Without first establishing safe consumption quantities through chewing, the risk exists that one might consume a quantity that exceeds their natural capacity to process amygdalin safely.

It is also very, very important not to mix ground or crushed apricot kernels into some sort of amygdalin concoction. For instance, I have heard of some individuals experimenting with the production of apricot kernel milk, which is made just like almond milk. What happens in these scenarios is, amygdalin liberates within the liquid itself without the counterbalance of the neutralizing systems encountered within the body. It is possible that the liberated components of amygdalin may increase in concentration the longer the liquid stands. Not a good idea. Be rational with your consumption of apricot kernels. You're forgiven for being eager and ambitious, but patience and restraint must be exercised.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Apricot Kernels - Cancer

Think of apricot kernels as a natural, chemotherapeutic agent. The chemotherapy drugs that are used conventionally are exceptionally toxic and designed to poison cells. The trouble with these drugs, however, is that they destroy both healthy and unhealthy cells. The hope with this method of treatment is that the drugs destroy the cancer before they destroy the body irreparably. One of the problems with these artificial chemicals is that our bodies have no biological expectation for them. There is simply no biological rationale for their presence within our bodies, so their effect is one of pure destruction without the natural counter-balance that exists for biologically anticipated substances, such as those found within apricot kernels.

Apricot kernels contain a well-known poison - cyanide. Found naturally within these cancer killing seeds, cyanide is the poison being used to destroy malignant cells. The word 'cyanide' tends to conjure images of a deadly toxin for most people. The reason for this is that, through television, film and literature, we're all aware that it can be lethal in an adequate dose. We've seen it slipped into many a drink or used by secret agents to commit instant suicide when captured by the enemy. The reality is, most people probably didn't realize that there were non-lethal doses of cyanide. An even greater number of people wouldn't be aware that they're consuming it daily in the foods we eat without a moment of concern.

Cyanide is a natural, dietary expectation, which means our bodies have a natural frame of reference for its metabolism. When cyanide enters our bodies within the foods we consume, we know what to do with it. Natural mechanisms kick in to process it, make use of it, and excrete it without incident. Cyanide is made use of through its transformation into another substance called, 'thiocyanate'. Thiocyanate performs a number of biological roles within the body. Sickle Cell Anemia is, in fact, a thiocyanate deficiency disease.

From Wikipedia


Biological chemistry of thiocyanate in medicine

Thiocyanate[3] is known to be an important part in the biosynthesis of hypothiocyanite by a lactoperoxidase.[4][5][6] Thus the complete absence of thiocyanate[7] or reducted thiocyanate[8] in the human body, (e.g., cystic fibrosis) is damaging to the human host defense system.[9][10]
Thiocyanate is a metabolite of sodium nitroprusside [amongst other cyanic compounds], after rhodanese catalyses its reaction with thiosulfate.

The dose makes the poison.
This principle of toxicology very much applies to cyanide. It is possible, of course, to overwhelm our bodies with too great a quantity of cyanide, as it is with virtually every natural substance in existence, including oxygen and water. However, the side-effects experienced with apricot kernels are generally quite mild and don't even begin to approach the severity of those associated with conventional chemotherapeutic drugs. We often read in the anti-amygdalin literature that numerous study participants "suffered from cyanide toxicity". And they call us quacks? At the very least, this observation could only be described as melodramatic. I can assure you... if these mild reactions can be defined as "suffering", these observers have yet to experience suffering. A visit to the cancer wings will demonstrate some real suffering resulting from adverse reactions to conventional treatments.

We don't fully understand the mechanisms through which apricot kernels and cyanide work against cancer. There are a number of proposed mechanisms, but it seems none of these have been accepted by science as a whole. It is clear that a popular theory of action is very much false, and this has long been known as false. That is, that cancer cells, and only cancer cells, contain the one and only enzyme capable of unlocking the amygdalin molecule, which supposedly happened at the site of cancer and only at the site of cancer. This is pure silliness and we need to move beyond this stale and dis-proven theory. It is not the mechanism of apricot kernels, nor is it the mechanism of Laetrile or pure amygdalin. It continues to be propagated across the internet, which ultimately only serves to worsen the reputation of the apricot kernel, amygdalin and its constituent parts, and the proponents who earnestly want to uncover the secrets of their apparent effects.

The true mechanism may involve a lacking presence of rhodanese in sufficient quantities at the site of cancer to neutralize the cyanide before it has the opportunity to poison the cells. Rhodanese is the mitochondrial enzyme we possess with the sole purpose of converting dietary cyanide to thiocyanate. It seems, whilst this enzyme is abundant in healthy tissue, it is somewhat deficient in malignant tissue. There are a number of inherent components to apricot kernels that likely work synergistically. One possible mechanism may involve cyanide in combination with benzaldehyde. Benzaldehyde has proven anti-tumor properties in its own right. Some believe that the benzaldehyde is the critical factor and not the cyanide - where others believe the two work in tandem.

Benzaldehyde undergoes a transformation catalyzed by cyanide ions. The result is benzoin, which has a long history of medical use. Benzoin is largely comprised of benzoic acid, which has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. Many believe there is a strong link between cancer and microbial and fungal activity.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Apricot Kernels - The Benefits

The benefits of apricot kernels can be numerous. Of course, a number of these benefits are anecdotal, which tends to be the case with whole, natural foods. "Evidence-based" medicine tends to look at individual compounds and constituents rather than the whole, or the synergistic mechanisms of the whole's individual parts collectively.


Though it's clear we don't fully understand the mechanisms of action, there can really be little doubt that apricot kernels have a destructive influence on various cancers. Literally thousands of people report it and continue to do so. If they weren't experiencing benefit, this entire subject would fizzle out into oblivion. Though science has yet to look at this thoroughly, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming and we needn't be reliant upon science to give us permission to be proactive. The studies that have been done involve Laetrile and amygdalin specifically. These are, indeed, derived from apricot kernels, but biological expectations are based on whole foods and all of their components. Even though presented as such, the studies are far from conclusive. We need to look at apricot kernels in their whole form as a separate entity.

Pain Relief

Apricot kernels have a natural analgesic (pain killing) effect. This is owing to the presence of benzaldehyde, one of amygdalin's constituent parts. Benzaldehyde is scientifically acknowledged to be an effective analgesic that is relatively non-toxic and that is metabolized and excreted by the body swiftly. When we chew apricot kernels, amygdalin's constituents are liberated immediately, contrary to popular belief. This is why one can experience benefit from this natural pain killer very soon after consumption.

Blood Pressure (Lowering of)

Apricot kernels can lower blood pressure very effectively. Though this might be considered a benefit by some, this can be an issue for those who would like to use apricot kernels but already have a low blood pressure. For these individuals, it might be necessary to use something to counter this effect - perhaps licorice root or something similar. Be sure to consult a naturopath or medical practitioner.

Lung Health

Apricot kernels have been used for hundreds of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). They are typically used to treat lung conditions, such as coughing and asthma. They are considered an effective expectorant (for expelling phlegm). They are also used to promote bowel movement and intestinal health.


Apricot kernels have proven antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties. This is found to be especially true against Candida albicans, which has strong cancer associations - perhaps another possible mechanism of action.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apricot Kernels - All About

Definition of Apricot Kernel

An apricot kernel is the nut-like object found within the hard, outer shell of the apricot seed or stone.

Definition of Apricot Seed

The term apricot seed refers to the whole pit found at the core of the fruit. The seed comprises a dense, hard outer shell that serves to protect a softer, fleshy kernel within from which the plant ultimately grows. The term apricot seeds is often used in reference to apricot kernels, though apricot seeds are technically whole apricot stones. The word apricot seed can be both singular and plural. The term apricot seed may refer to a collective or one, as in:  

We will process 400 tonnes of apricot seed this year.


If you plant this apricot seed, its kernel will sprout and a tree will grow.

More about apricot kernels

Apricot kernels are closely related to the almond, which is also part of the rose family. They have a nutritional profile similar to that of almonds. Apricot kernels are often bitter in flavor due to varying concentrations of a cyanogenic glycoside called, 'Amygdalin'. There are hundreds of different cultivars of apricot kernels grown all over the world, each possessing different quantities of amygdalin. Those that contain very little amygdalin taste similar to almonds. Those that contain large concentrations are generally thought of as unpalatable due to their extreme bitterness. This bitterness, or lack of, is indicative of amygdalin content. Apricot kernels of these varieties are believed, by many, to have therapeutic value against various cancers due to their high concentrations of amygdalin. This concept is widely considered very controversial. The apricot itself is believed to have originated in China, where it's been used in both culinary and therapeutic capacities for centuries. Scientific studies from as recently as 2005 have demonstrated potential efficacy. Scientists in Korea found that treating human prostate cancer cells with amygdalin induced programmed cell death in vitro. They concluded, "amygdalin may offer a valuable option for the treatment of prostate cancers".

Although bitter apricot kernels are most famously known for their use in alternative cancer therapies or natural cancer treatments, many people are unaware of their other common uses. The common Italian liqueur, Amaretto, is made from bitter apricot kernels. In fact, the Italian word amaretto can mean, 'a little bitter' or 'macaroon'. Many people would be familiar with a famous Italian treat known as amaretti biscuits. These are, indeed, little macaroons also made from bitter apricot kernels.

The most famous flavor incorporating apricot kernels today is marzipan. Though marzipan was once traditionally made with bitter almonds, they have become very difficult to procure. They are often now replaced by bitter apricot kernels. When made with bitter apricot kernels, the technical term for this paste is, 'persipan', though it is often referred to as, "marzipan". Both bitter almonds and bitter apricot kernels contain amygdalin. Amygdalin can be processed down into its constituent parts to form hydrocyanic acid, benzaldehyde and glucose. The benzaldehyde component of the amygdalin molecule is sold commercially as "almond extract". This extract is often used in place of either bitter almonds or bitter apricot kernels to provide a traditional marzipan flavoring to various recipes that require it.

Apricot kernel oil is another popular use for apricot kernels.