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Apricot kernels are an ancient natural remedy that is both valued and controversial. In this comprehensive article, we shed light on the discovery, their forms of use, dosages and their healing effect on various diseases. We also look at the ideal times to take them, risk groups and possible side effects.

The discovery of apricot kernels

The use of apricot kernels in medicine can be traced back to ancient China. In traditional Chinese medicine, they were used to treat respiratory diseases and as an anti-inflammatory agent. They have attracted modern attention due to their ingredients, in particular amygdalin, which is being researched in alternative medicine as a possible anti-cancer agent.

Application and dosage

They can be eaten in various ways:

  • Raw: Eaten directly after thorough washing.
  • Ground: As a powder in smoothies or muesli.
  • Oil: Extracted kernel oil is used for culinary or cosmetic purposes.


Apricot kernels should be dosed carefully as they can release hydrocyanic acid, which is toxic in high doses. A common recommendation is that adults should not consume more than 1-2 bitter kernels and up to 10 sweet kernels per day. However, as these figures can vary, it is advisable to consult a specialist before consumption.

Apricot kernels: healing effect

Apricot kernels are traditionally used to treat the following diseases:

  • Cancer: amygdalin is thought to have an anti-cancer effect, although scientific support is limited.
  • Coughs and bronchitis: They have an antitussive and anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Digestive problems: Apricot kernel oil can aid digestion.

Effect on the body

Apricot kernels contain amygdalin, which is converted into cyanide in the body, which in small amounts can help fight diseased cells. However, it is important to maintain a balance, as too much cyanide is toxic.

Apricot kernels: recommended intake times

There is no ideal time to take them. However, it is often recommended to take them in the morning or in small doses throughout the day.


Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children as well as people with chronic illnesses are advised not to take apricot kernels unless under medical supervision.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

To support the effect, the following dietary supplements and medicinal plants can also be taken:

  • Vitamin C: Supports the body’s detoxification capacity.
  • Selenium: Important antioxidant to protect the body’s cells.
  • Milk thistle: Promotes liver health and supports detoxification.

Apricot kernels: Foods with a high amygdalin content

Other foods that contain amygdalin include

  • Bitter almonds
  • Wild cherry pits
  • Peach pits

Apricot kernels: Possible adverse effects and overdose

Side effects

Excessive consumption can lead to symptoms such as nausea, headaches, dizziness and even cyanide poisoning.


An overdose can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include shortness of breath, palpitations and cramps.


In naturopathy, apricot kernels are often used as an extract or in homeopathic doses to make their effects safer.

Apricot kernels: safe use and state of research

Despite traditional use and anecdotal reports, the scientific basis for the safety and efficacy is limited. Further research, particularly on amygdalin, is needed to confirm the medicinal claims and develop clear guidelines for safe use.

Research initiatives

Some studies have investigated the possible anti-cancer properties of amygdalin, but with mixed results. While laboratory studies have shown some positive effects, clinical studies in humans have failed to adequately demonstrate safety and efficacy. Researchers emphasize the need for further extensive studies to confirm these results and develop possible therapeutic protocols.

Apricot kernels: advice and medical supervision

Due to the potential risks, expert advice is essential. Individuals wishing to use apricot kernels or products containing amygdalin should only do so under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner experienced in natural and alternative therapies.

Recommendations for intake

  • Initial dosage: Start with a very low dose and observe your body’s reaction.
  • Gradual increase: If no adverse reactions occur, the dose can be slowly increased, but never beyond the maximum recommended dose.
  • Regular check-ups: Regular medical check-ups are important to monitor health and detect side effects early.

Apricot kernels: summary of dangers and precautions

  • Toxicity: Amygdalin can convert to cyanide in the body, which can be fatal in high doses.
  • Symptoms of overdose: Warning signs include difficulty breathing, confusion, dizziness and, in cases of severe poisoning, unconsciousness.
  • Risk groups: Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should generally refrain from taking it.


Apricot kernels and amygdalin harbor both interesting therapeutic possibilities and serious risks. Their use as a remedy should not be taken lightly, but only after careful consideration and under medical supervision. Research needs to be further intensified to provide clear and safe guidelines for its use. Users must be aware of the potential dangers and strictly adhere to the recommended safety guidelines to avoid harm to health. This remains an area where caution and sound medical knowledge are crucial.

Published on: 22. April 2024


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