Written through 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, castle a kind of drupe or stone fruit — a fruit who seed is enclosed by a hard, stony endocarp or pit (1).

While you’re expected to spit out the pits once eating cherries, you may sometimes gulp down a couple of on accident. Because the pits of these fruits room purported to have actually toxic properties, some civilization are concerned about their safety.

This post explains even if it is cherry pits space dangerous if you accidentally eat a few.


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

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

Hydrogen cyanide interferes through oxygen transport, potentially damaging essential organs choose your brain, heart, and also lungs (4).

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

Summary

Cherry pits save on computer amygdalin, a compound that your body converts right into hydrogen cyanide, make their consumption potentially dangerous.


How lot cyanide carry out cherry pits contain?

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

Cyanide toxicity in the person body may occur from 0.2–1.6 mg per pound (0.5–3.5 mg every kg) of human body weight. That is the indistinguishable of 30–240 mg that cyanide because that a human who weighs 150 pounds (68 kg) (2, 6).

A red cherry pit is estimated to have actually 3.9 mg of amygdalin per gram of fruit, while the black cherry has actually a slightly reduced concentration in ~ 2.7 mg every gram. Meanwhile, the Morello cherry pit harbors an astonishing 65 mg per gram (2).

These stone fruits can produce the identical of 0.01–1.1 mg of cyanide in your body, depending upon the amount consumed. Eating just 3–4 pits the the Morello cherry or 7–9 pits of red or black cherries may lead to cyanide toxicity (2).

Summary

Chewing cherry pits release a chemical referred to as amygdalin, which your body converts into cyanide. Relying on the type, cherries may contain 3.9–65 mg of amygdalin every gram that fruit.


It’s not a cause for concern if you or your child accidentally swallows simply one or two cherry pits.

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

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

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

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

Children need to be taught to spit the end the pits to avoid all linked risks.

Summary

Ingesting totality cherry pits is unlikely to it is in toxic. However, if friend chew the pits, hydrogen cyanide is produced. Coincidentally chewing and swallowing number of pits may bring about symptoms like headaches, seizures, and difficulty breathing.


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

Antioxidants room substances the may safeguard your human body from an illness by preventing cell damage (14).

Cherry fruit and also its extracts have been presented to alleviate uric mountain levels and also proposed together a treatment for gout, though the authorized of the cherry pits us is unclear (15).

In addition, cherry pits have several cooking uses, including extracting compounds indigenous the kernels to form liqueur. Recipes don’t use the pit themselves however rather draw flavor indigenous the continuing to be fruit clinging to the pits (16).

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

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Summary

Despite cherry pits being inedible, there might be safe means to usage them because that culinary purposes.