Written through Amber Charles, MSPH, RDN top top April 14, 2021 — medically reviewed through Adrienne Seitz, MS, RD, LDN, Nutrition

Cherries room a delicious summertime fruit.

You are watching: Is it dangerous to swallow a cherry pit

Members the the Prunus genus, they’re a kind of drupe or rock fruit — a fruit who seed is enclosed by a hard, stony endocarp or pit (1).

While you’re meant to spit the end the pits as soon as eating cherries, you might sometimes swallow a few on accident. Due to the fact that the pits of this fruits are purported to have actually toxic properties, some human being are concerned about their safety.

This write-up explains whether cherry pits space dangerous if friend accidentally eat a few.

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Cherries have a small, hardened pit that surrounds your seed, likewise called a kernel. The kernels that cherry pits and also other rock fruits save on computer 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 v oxygen transport, possibly damaging crucial organs favor your brain, heart, and lungs (4).

This is the reason why cherry pits are dangerous to eat. However, the extent of the potential damage depends ~ above the lot of cyanide she exposed to.


Cherry pits contain amygdalin, a compound the your human body converts into hydrogen cyanide, do their intake potentially dangerous.

How lot cyanide carry out cherry pits contain?

When the cherry pit is chewed or bruised, the plant’s enzyme come into contact with the amygdalin within the pit, leading to the formation of hydrogen cyanide (2, 5).

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

A red cherry pit is estimated to have actually 3.9 mg the amygdalin every gram that fruit, if the black color cherry has actually a slightly reduced concentration at 2.7 mg per gram. Meanwhile, the Morello cherry pit harbors an astonishing 65 mg per gram (2).

These rock fruits can create the identical of 0.01–1.1 mg that cyanide in her body, depending on the amount consumed. Eating simply 3–4 pits of the Morello cherry or 7–9 pits of red or black cherries may cause cyanide toxicity (2).


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

It’s no a reason for issue if friend or your kid accidentally swallows just one or 2 cherry pits.

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

Yet, chewing and swallowing much more than a couple of pits might be dangerous, specifically for children.

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

If you doubt your child has actually chewed and also eaten numerous pits, save an eye ~ above them for adverse symptoms. If symptoms occur, contact 911 or contact poison manage at 1-800-222-1222.

Children have to be teach to spit out the pits to protect against all associated risks.


Ingesting whole cherry pits is unlikely to it is in toxic. However, if you chew the pits, hydrogen cyanide is produced. By chance chewing and swallowing numerous pits may cause symptoms like headaches, seizures, and an obstacle breathing.

Compounds v antioxidant and also anti-inflammatory properties have been identified and extracted native the kernels the cherry pits, though research study on your safety and efficacy is recurring (12, 13).

Antioxidants are substances the may protect your human body from disease by avoiding cell damage (14).

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

In addition, cherry pits have actually several cooking uses, consisting of extracting compounds native the kernels to form liqueur. Recipes don’t usage the pit themselves but rather attract flavor from the continuing to be fruit clinging to the pits (16).

Check the end these recipes for cherry pit syrup and cherry pit whipped cream for some interesting ideas.

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Despite cherry pits being inedible, there may be safe means to usage them because that culinary purposes.