Certain Almonds are Highly Poisonous

Daven Hiskey 15
Now You KnowYou should know almonds come in two varieties, sweet and bitter, and the latter is highly poisonous when raw.

Bitter almonds contain glycoside amygdalin. When eaten, glycoside amygdalin will turn into prussic acid, a.k.a. hydrogen cyanide, which incidentally was the key ingredient to Zyklon B, the pesticide used in the Nazi gas chambers.

So if you’re walking out in the woods and spot and almond tree, don’t just naturally assume it’s safe to eat the almonds.  It doesn’t take much hydrogen cyanide to kill you. Specifically, it only takes about 100-200 mg of cyanide, when eaten, to kill you within minutes (about .68 mg per pound of body weight).  For reference, each raw bitter almond will produce about 4-9 mg of hydrogen cyanide.    So a few handfuls of raw bitter almonds are enough to kill you quite swiftly and lesser amounts may cause you other serious health issues such as kidney failure.

Interestingly, people who can smell cyanide (about 40% of humans can detect an odor when smelling cyanide, for others it’s odorless) say that it smells a bit like almonds.

Processed bitter almonds though can safely be eaten as all the hydrogen cyanide is leached out during the heating process. Due to their toxicity before being processed, in the United States it is illegal to sell bitter almonds that are unrefined.

Apple seeds are just as poisonous as bitter almonds.  Go here to find out more about this and why cyanide is poisonous, in terms of what’s going on in your body after you ingest it: Apple Seeds Contain Cyanide

Expand for References

Share the
Knowledge!
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmail
Print Friendly
Enjoy this article? If so, get our FREE wildly popular Daily Knowledge and Weekly Wrap newsletters:

Subscribe Me To:  | 
Check Out Our New Book!»

15 Comments »

  1. David June 20, 2013 at 6:20 am - Reply

    Do your research..! No one has died from eating a few handfuls of raw bitter almonds. The hydrogen cyanide is only release on contact with cancer cells but neutralised by an enzyme on healthy cells. So in effect it can “cure” cancer or at least in less severe cases. The US banned the sale of the almonds for the same reason it has banned raw milk (mostly economical).

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven Hiskey June 20, 2013 at 8:04 am - Reply

      @David: references?

  2. David Richard September 12, 2013 at 9:05 am - Reply

    I think the author Daven Hiskey is right, however i would just like to elaborate few things regarding bitter almonds and apricot kernels.
    1. Bitter almonds as well as bitter apricot kernels do contain cyanogenic chemicals as explained by the author, consumption of larger amount of such seeds can be dangerous. However they are so bitter that no one usually consumes them in those quantities. However if you want to see the proof, just feed two bitter almonds to a chicken and see.
    2. On the internet and western social media, there is usually confusion as regards the apricot kernels, like almonds most of them are sweet, only few plants produce bitter ones. Sweet ones are perfectly safe for human consumption. I am not saying this on some hearsay but based on my own experience. We consume dozens of apricot seeds daily for extended long periods without any ill effects. And a number of communities in Himalayan region consume them regularly. The overwhelming concept that apricot kernels are almost always bitter or toxic is false.
    3. The use of bitter almonds and bitter apricot kernels for treating cancer has not been scientifically established, its one of the hoaxes only.

  3. zarko September 23, 2013 at 1:02 am - Reply

    i eat every day about 30 35 bitter almonds,i dont feel anything wrong ,i have eathen them along with apircot kernels in huge doses since my childhood ,where i live the place i called almond,because there a lots of almonds trees,bitter an sweat,i didnt hear anyone to get poison from bitter almonds

  4. Teresa December 2, 2013 at 7:20 am - Reply

    The only ones who promote that bitter apricot kernel are poisonous are those who invest in making money off people with cancer, like the pharmecuetical companies, the bought out FDA and the health industry that promotes using chemotherapy which only has a success rate of 3% and cost $$$$ Thoussands of dollars but demonizes a natural seed that contains B17, kills cancer but cost only $10.00 a bag.

    They make more money off of us when we are sick then when we are well, that’s why you rarely see “PREVENTIVE MEDICINE” coming out of our health care centers. BITTER ALMONDS IS A PREVENTIVE NATURAL MEDICINE.

    Do your research!
    The cyanide in the apricot is so minimal, it would take hundreds of seeds to poison ones body.

    BUT CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE is poisonous too if you take too much! Swallow a handful of oxycodine and see what happens…you probably will die.

  5. Lyn January 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    This article is completely incorrect and deliberately misleading. Bitter almonds have been eaten without any harm by humans for about 9000 years or more.

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven Hiskey January 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm - Reply

      @Lyn: Up until very recently mercury was used as a cure-all and we humans surrounded ourselves by items containing lead. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t harm in these things. Bitter almonds can be prepared in such a way that they are fine to eat. But if you make a practice of eating handfuls of raw ones, you will die from it eventually.

      • cotf September 24, 2014 at 8:45 am - Reply

        Baloney.

        Your statements are false, until you provide documented evidence of them.

        • Daven Hiskey
          Daven Hiskey September 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm - Reply

          @cotf: Sausage. Your statements about my statements are false, until you provide documented evidence of the invalidity of my statements. ;-)

  6. mary September 27, 2014 at 6:52 am - Reply

    this article is correct . one reference for it:
    Shargg TA, Albertson TE, Fisher CJ Jr. Cyanide poisoning after bitter almond ingestion. West J Med 1982; 136(1):65-69.

Leave A Response »