Written by Amber Charles, MSPH, RDN ~ above April 14, 2021 — medically reviewed by Adrienne Seitz, MS, RD, LDN, Nutrition

Cherries room a delicious summertime fruit.

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Members that the Prunus genus, castle a kind of drupe or stone fruit — a fruit whose seed is enclosed by a hard, stony endocarp or pit (1).

While you’re meant to spit out the pits once eating cherries, you might sometimes sloop down a few on accident. Due to the fact that the pits of these fruits space purported to have toxic properties, some people are concerned around their safety.

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

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Cherries have a small, hardened pit that surrounds your seed, also called a kernel. The kernels the cherry pits and other rock fruits contain the chemistry 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 with oxygen transport, perhaps damaging necessary organs favor your brain, heart, and also lungs (4).

This is the factor why cherry pits space dangerous to eat. However, the degree of the potential injury depends upon the amount of cyanide she exposed to.


Cherry pits contain amygdalin, a compound that your body converts right into hydrogen cyanide, do their consumption potentially dangerous.

How much cyanide execute cherry pits contain?

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

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

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

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


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

It’s no a cause for concern if you or your son accidentally swallows simply one or 2 cherry pits.

Swallowing entirety 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 swallowing an ext than a few pits may be dangerous, especially for children.

Intoxication or poisoning indigenous the sloop down of pits indigenous cherries, apricots, and peaches has been reported amongst children. Symptom of acute toxicity encompass headache, nausea, seizures, convulsions, and difficulty breathing (2, 6, 9, 10, 11).

If you doubt your child has chewed and eaten several pits, save an eye top top them because that adverse symptoms. If symptom occur, call 911 or speak to poison control at 1-800-222-1222.

Children have to be teach to spit the end the pits to avoid all connected risks.


Ingesting entirety cherry pits is i can not qualify to be toxic. However, if girlfriend chew the pits, hydrogen cyanide is produced. Accidentally chewing and also swallowing number of pits may result in symptoms like headaches, seizures, and challenge breathing.

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

Antioxidants space substances that may safeguard your body from disease by avoiding cell damage (14).

Cherry fruit and also its extracts have been presented to alleviate uric acid levels and also proposed together a treatment for gout, despite the joining of the cherry pits themselves is unclear (15).

In addition, cherry pits have actually several cook uses, consisting of extracting compounds native the kernels to form liqueur. Recipes don’t use the pit themselves but rather draw flavor native the staying fruit clinging to the pits (16).

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

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Despite cherry pits gift inedible, there may be safe methods to usage them for culinary purposes.