How Many Cherry Seeds Can Kill You

Cherry seeds, so innocent looking yet possibly life threatening. Typically, they are discarded or casually eaten without a second thought due to their minuscule size. But we would like to present you with details on the lethal potential they possess and provide examples of how ingestion of cherry seeds can kill you. The seemingly benign Cherry is quite dangerous, yet few people are aware of this fact, and many do not know what cherries really look like, which is why we hope to enlighten upon them, and the seeds once hidden inside of them.


Cherry Seeds Contain Cyanide, A Molecule That Can Kill You.

Cyanide is a poison that occurs naturally in plants and animals. It interferes with the body’s ability to use oxygen, which can cause death.

Cherry seeds contain amygdalin, a molecule that breaks down into hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when metabolized in the body. The seeds are harmless if swallowed whole; it’s only when they’re chewed or crushed that they release the deadly toxin.

Ingesting even a small number of cherry seeds can be enough to cause serious illness or death. According to an article published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, swallowing just two or three kernels can be lethal for adults, while children may die after eating as few as five or six kernels.

  • In other words, don’t eat them!

Cyanides are molecules that consist of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen atoms (CN). They’re extremely poisonous and can easily be absorbed through the skin or inhaled as vapour. When swallowed, they disrupt the body’s ability to use oxygen by inhibiting cytochrome oxidase enzymes in our red blood cells. This leads to hypoxia (insufficient oxygen supply), which can cause cardiac arrest within minutes if left untreated.

 How Many Seeds Would You Need to Eat To Be In Danger?

It’s a good question, and one that has been asked by many people. How many cherry seeds are poisonous? The answer is: not very many at all.

Cherry seeds can be toxic, but they’re not deadly unless you eat a lot of them. Most people don’t have to worry about eating too many cherry seeds. If you’re concerned, here’s what you need to know:

  • Cherry seeds are toxic because they contain hydrogen cyanide gas, which can kill if enough is inhaled or eaten. But the amount of hydrogen cyanide released by cherry seedlings depends on the type of cherry tree and how much light it gets during its first year after germination. Some cherry trees release more cyanide than others, and some produce less than others when grown under different conditions.
  • Cherry seeds also contain amygdalin (or laetrile), a compound that breaks down into hydrogen cyanide when chewed or digested in the digestive system. This means that chewing on raw cherry pits does not poison you — it just releases hydrogen cyanide gas into your mouth.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the minimum dose needed to cause death is 200 milligrams of HCN per kilogram of body weight, or 0.2 mg/kg. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kilograms), then at most you could ingest 50 mg of HCN without dying. That means you’d have to eat at least 10 cherry seeds — or about one-third of a seed per pound — before reaching your limit.

 How much cyanide is in a cherry pie?

Cherry pits contain cyanide, a highly toxic substance. Cyanide is also found in almonds, apricot and peach pits, bitter melon seeds and other seeds from tropical fruits.

  • How much cyanide is in a cherry pie?

A typical cherry pit contains about 80 milligrams of cyanide. That’s enough to kill a 150-pound adult in about two ounces of seeds or about half a cup of ground seed meal. A child would need less than half that amount to become ill or die from eating cherry seeds.

  • How do I know if my child has eaten cherry seeds?

Symptoms of cyanine poisoning include nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can begin within minutes after eating the seeds and can progress to coma and death within hours if not treated immediately.

The exact amount of cyanide in a cherry seed varies by variety and by the size of the seed. Most cherries, including Bing cherries and Rainier cherries, are so-called “concentrated” varieties. That means they have been bred over time to be more flavorful than their wild ancestors, but they also have smaller seeds that contain less cyanogenic glycoside (the chemical compound found in cherry pits). The same is true for sweet almonds, which are also very high in cyanide — about 100 milligrams per almond or about 0.2 percent by weight.

 What Are the Symptoms of Cyanide Poisoning?

The amount of cyanide in cherry seeds is enough to kill a person.

Cyanide is a highly toxic chemical that can cause death through suffocation or cardiac arrest. It is found in many plants and seeds, including cherries, almonds, and apple seeds. The toxicity of these plants depends on the concentration of cyanide they contain, as well as its form (organic or inorganic).

  • What are the symptoms of cyanide poisoning?

The symptoms of cyanide poisoning depend on how much poison you have inhaled or ingested. In fact, small amounts can cause severe headaches and vomiting while larger amounts can lead to coma, seizures, and death. The following are some signs and symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain and cramps
  • Weakness


Cherry seeds are toxic because the seeds contain amygdalin, and the branch of science that studies poisons is called toxicology. Amygdalin a sugar that releases hydrocyanic acid, or cyanide, when metabolized in the body. If you eat enough cherry seeds, the body can’t keep up with detoxifying all of it, so it’s absorbed and stored in your tissues.


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