Written by Amber Charles, MSPH, RDN on April 14, 2021 — medically reviewed by Adrienne Seitz, MS, RD, LDN, Nutrition

Cherries space a delicious summertime fruit.

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Members the the Prunus genus, they’re a type of drupe or rock fruit — a fruit who seed is fastened by a hard, stony endocarp or pit (1).

While you’re meant to spit the end the pits once eating cherries, you might sometimes gulp down a couple of on accident. Since the pits of these fruits are purported to have toxic properties, some civilization are concerned around their safety.

This article explains whether cherry pits space dangerous if friend accidentally eat a few.


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Cherries have a small, hardened pit the surrounds your seed, also called a kernel. The kernels the cherry pits and also other rock fruits contain the chemical amygdalin (2).

Amygdalin is a cyanogenic glycoside — a chemical that your human body converts into the toxic compound hydrogen cyanide (2, 3).

Hydrogen cyanide interferes through oxygen transport, possibly damaging vital organs prefer your brain, heart, and also lungs (4).

This is the reason why cherry pits room dangerous come eat. However, the degree of the potential harm depends top top the quantity of cyanide you’re exposed to.

Summary

Cherry pits contain amygdalin, a compound that your body converts into hydrogen cyanide, make their intake potentially dangerous.


How lot cyanide execute cherry pits contain?

When the cherry pit is chewed or bruised, the plant’s enzymes come into contact with the amygdalin within the pit, resulting in the development of hydrogen cyanide (2, 5).

Cyanide toxicity in the person body may take place from 0.2–1.6 mg per pound (0.5–3.5 mg per kg) of human body weight. The is the tantamount of 30–240 mg of cyanide for a person who weighs 150 pounds (68 kg) (2, 6).

A red cherry pit is approximated to have 3.9 mg the amygdalin per gram that fruit, if the black cherry has a slightly lower concentration at 2.7 mg every gram. Meanwhile, the Morello cherry pit harbors one astonishing 65 mg per gram (2).

These rock fruits can develop the indistinguishable of 0.01–1.1 mg the cyanide in your body, depending upon the quantity consumed. Eating just 3–4 pits of the Morello cherry or 7–9 pits of red or black cherries may result in cyanide toxicity (2).

Summary

Chewing cherry pits release a chemical dubbed amygdalin, which her body converts into cyanide. Depending on the type, cherries may contain 3.9–65 mg of amygdalin per gram of fruit.


It’s not a cause for issue if friend or your son accidentally swallows simply one or 2 cherry pits.

Swallowing whole cherry pits doesn’t cause toxicity but may pose a choking hazard for young children and lead to colon obstruction (7, 8).

Yet, chewing and also swallowing much more than a few pits might be dangerous, specifically for children.

Intoxication or poisoning native the sloop down of pits native cherries, apricots, and also peaches has actually been reported amongst children. Symptoms of acute toxicity incorporate headache, nausea, seizures, convulsions, and an obstacle breathing (2, 6, 9, 10, 11).

If you suspect your child has actually chewed and eaten numerous pits, store an eye on them for adverse symptoms. If symptom occur, contact 911 or speak to poison manage at 1-800-222-1222.

Children must be teach to spit the end the pits to protect against all linked risks.

Summary

Ingesting entirety cherry pits is unlikely to be toxic. However, if you chew the pits, hydrogen cyanide is produced. Coincidentally chewing and also swallowing numerous pits may result in symptoms prefer headaches, seizures, and an obstacle breathing.


Compounds through antioxidant and also anti-inflammatory properties have actually been identified and also extracted from the kernels that cherry pits, though research study on your safety and efficacy is recurring (12, 13).

Antioxidants room substances the may safeguard your human body from condition by avoiding cell damage (14).

Cherry fruit and its extracts have been presented to minimize uric acid levels and also proposed as a treatment for gout, despite the involvement of the cherry pits themselves is unsure (15).

In addition, cherry pits have actually several cook uses, consisting of extracting compounds indigenous the kernels to form liqueur. Recipes don’t use the pit themselves however rather attract flavor indigenous the continuing to be fruit clinging come the pits (16).

Check out these recipes for cherry pit syrup and cherry pit whipped cream because that some exciting ideas.

See more: ' Loveliest Of Trees The Cherry Now ' (1896), A Short Analysis Of A

Summary

Despite cherry pits gift inedible, there may be safe ways to usage them for culinary purposes.