Written by Amber Charles, MSPH, RDN on April 14, 2021 — median reviewed through Adrienne Seitz, MS, RD, LDN

Cherries space a delicious summertime fruit.

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Members the the Prunus genus, lock a type of drupe or rock fruit — a fruit whose seed is fastened by a hard, stony endocarp or pit (1).

While you’re intended to spit the end the pits once eating cherries, you might sometimes swallow a few on accident. Because the pits of this fruits space purported to have toxic properties, some civilization are concerned around their safety.

This article explains even if it is cherry pits are dangerous if you accidentally eat a few.


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Cherries have a small, hardened pit the surrounds your seed, also called a kernel. The kernels that cherry pits and other stone fruits contain the chemistry amygdalin (2).

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

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

This is the factor why cherry pits are dangerous to eat. However, the degree of the potential damage depends upon the amount of cyanide you’re exposed to.

Summary

Cherry pits save amygdalin, a compound the your human body converts into hydrogen cyanide, making their usage potentially dangerous.


How much cyanide execute cherry pits contain?

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

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

A red cherry pit is approximated to have 3.9 mg the amygdalin every gram the fruit, when the black cherry has a slightly reduced concentration in ~ 2.7 mg every gram. Meanwhile, the Morello cherry pit harbors one astonishing 65 mg every gram (2).

These stone fruits can develop the indistinguishable of 0.01–1.1 mg of cyanide in her body, depending upon the lot consumed. Eating simply 3–4 pits the the Morello cherry or 7–9 pits the red or black cherries may lead to cyanide toxicity (2).

Summary

Chewing cherry pits releases a chemical dubbed amygdalin, which your body converts into cyanide. Relying on the type, cherries may contain 3.9–65 mg the amygdalin per gram that fruit.


It’s not a cause for worry if girlfriend or your son accidentally swallows simply one or two cherry pits.

Swallowing whole cherry pits doesn’t cause toxicity however may attitude a choking risk for young children and also lead to colon obstruction (7, 8).

Yet, chewing and also swallowing much more than a couple of pits may be dangerous, especially for children.

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

If you doubt your child has actually chewed and also eaten number of pits, keep an eye top top them for adverse symptoms. If symptoms occur, call 911 or speak to poison regulate at 1-800-222-1222.

Children must be taught to spit the end the pits to prevent all connected risks.

Summary

Ingesting entirety cherry pits is unlikely to be toxic. However, if girlfriend chew the pits, hydrogen cyanide is produced. By chance chewing and swallowing several pits may lead to symptoms prefer headaches, seizures, and difficulty breathing.


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

Antioxidants space substances that may safeguard your human body from an illness by avoiding cell damages (14).

Cherry fruit and also its extracts have actually been shown to minimize uric acid levels and also proposed together a treatment for gout, despite the involvement of the cherry pits themselves is unsure (15).

In addition, cherry pits have actually several culinary uses, consisting of extracting compounds from the kernels to type liqueur. Recipes don’t usage the pit themselves yet rather draw flavor from the remaining fruit clinging come the pits (16).

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

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Summary

Despite cherry pits being inedible, there might be safe ways to use them for culinary purposes.