Overview

Apricot kernel is the seed found inside the apricot pit. It contains a chemical called amygdalin, which the body turns into cyanide. It can be toxic.

Amygdalin from apricot kernel and a semi-synthetic form of amygdalin known as laetrile were once marketed to fight cancer, but research has shown that they don't help. Laetrile and amygdalin are not approved by the US FDA for any use. Amygdalin is converted into cyanide in the stomach.

People use apricot kernel for treating cancer, but there is no good scientific evidence to support this use. It is also unsafe when consumed in larger amounts. Purified apricot kernel extract or oil are sometimes used in topical products and to flavor liquors.

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