ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Apricot Kernel Oil Benefits, Uses, and Properties

Updated on August 4, 2014
Source

The apricot, or Prunus armeniaca, is a small, sweet-tasting fruit that has been grown commercially in Europe and Asia for many centuries. Apricots can be enjoyed on their own, in desserts, or even savory dishes.

What you may not know about apricots is that the oil from their pits, called kernels, also has a range of excellent health benefits. Apricot kernel oil, which is rich in vitamin B17, can be commonly found in health stores and is easy to incorporate into your regular diet.

Nutritional benefits

As you probably already know, doctors recommend choosing foods rich in unsaturated fats over those with saturated fats, since these "bad" fats are associated with an increased cancer risk and heart disease. Fortunately, apricot kernel oil is an excellent source of unsaturated fats, such as oleic and linoleic acids. Other oils high in unsaturated fats include:

  • avocado oil
  • canola oil
  • olive oil
  • sunflower oil
  • soybean oil
  • flaxseed oil
  • fish oil
  • walnut oil

There are two types of "good" unsaturated fats: polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Both are better than traditional saturated fats, such as butter and animal fats, because they provide omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids, which can help improve heart health and decrease cholesterol levels. As an added bonus, apricot oil also contains plenty of vitamins A, C, and E, which are excellent for skin and hair health.

Source

Controversy over apricot kernels

Food-grade apricot kernel oil is safe to consume and has numerous health benefits. But there's still plenty of controversy over apricot kernels. The truth is that the kernels themselves contain a chemical compound called amygdalin. When ingested, certain enzymes in your body convert the amygdalin to hydrogen cyanide, which can actually lead to fatal cyanide poisoning.

Despite the health risks, apricot kernels have been used in alternative medicine for many decades, specifically as a cancer cure. Many alternative medicine experts claim that the kernels can help shrink tumors, reduce the physical effects of chemotherapy and radiation, and help boost vitamin levels and the immune system.

Conventional doctors, however, claim that kernels as a cancer medication are not effective. Although many studies have been done on apricot kernels as a treatment, most notably at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the 1970s, there's still no official documentation confirming it actually works. In fact, over the past decade, the controversy surrounding apricot kernels has only increased. Laetrile, which shares many molecular similarities with amygdalin, has actually been banned on the commercial market in the United States, and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved either substance as an effective treatment of disease.

Apricot kernels or seeds
Apricot kernels or seeds | Source

Uses of apricot kernel oil

Despite the controversy over apricot kernels, many people still regularly incorporate apricot kernel oil, or the seeds themselves, into their diet. The greatest danger appears to stem from eating the raw bitter kernels in large amounts. Some health organizations, such as the British Food Standards Agency, have released bulletins advising the public not to consume more than a handful or so of kernels a day.

Cold-pressed apricot kernel oil, however, has many conventional uses and is widely accepted as a safe oil for both cooking and body care. Here are five common uses of apricot kernel oil in the home or kitchen:

High-temperature frying

Apricot oil is a healthy alternative to using butter in the frying pan. Like sunflower oil and avocado oil, apricot kernel oil is suitable for high-temperature frying due to its high smoke point. It also has a light and nutty taste that does not overpower the natural flavor of other food. Of course, like any high-temperature cooking oil, apricot oil should be used with caution since excess heat from the pan can easily burn your hands.

Salad dressings

Apricot kernel oil is a highly refined oil which easily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients. The oil can be used as a stand-alone salad dressing, or mixed with other flavors, such as mustard or vinegar, to create a delicious condiment for veggies or meats.

Hair care

If you have exceptionally dry hair, then apricot kernel oil can be a life-saver. Using a small amount of oil on your tips adds shine and helps cure split ends. It can also be used on the roots of the hair to soothe the scalp and promote hair growth. Feel free to use apricot kernel oil alone, or in combination with your regular shampoo or conditioner.

Aromatherapy

Apricot kernel oil is also commonly used in aromatherapy since it is a great "carrier oil," meaning it helps blend other oils together. It can also be mixed with other essential oils, such as lavender or sandalwood, to create a do-it-yourself massage oil.

Skin care

Lastly, apricot oil is often found in beauty products since it easily absorbs into skin and won't leave it feeling overly sticky. Using apricot kernel oil for at-home skin care is easy: simply squeeze a small amount into your palm and then apply it anywhere that feels dry or scaly. A dime-sized amount of oil is a great way to re-moisturize and soften skin after showering or bathing. Apricot oil is also often used in commercial face lotions because of its anti-aging properties. In addition, it's proven to reduce bumps and red marks on the skin and can be used to treat sunburn, razor burn, eczema and psoriasis.

You can easily make your own skin care products using apricot kernel oil, like in the video below.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      ana 2 years ago

      the Apricot oil is good for making natural creams. it hydrates the skin and makes it look great.

    • profile image

      Dana 3 years ago

      Saying that apricot kernels contain hydrogen cyanide is only half true because it also contain a substance called benzaldehide which combined with the Hydrogen cyanide is harmless to most people but deadly to cancer cells. It also is coated with a glucose which is an attractant for an enzyme in the cancer & once the enzyme unlocks the package it releases the hydrogen cyanide & kills cancer cells.

    • profile image

      Dr Grace Gniazdowska 3 years ago

      Actually the FDA knows Apricot Kernels contain vitamin B17 which demolishes cancer cells and they are dead set on discrediting and mangling anything that is Natural, which heals us without their toxic drugs, because that means loss of profit for them and big pharma. Why do you think B17 disappeared decades ago from the B-complex, or even available b17 supplements? Very few (not even Dr's or nutritionist) know it even exists. I buy my vit b17 at apricot power website.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrqxAHIHXuU

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Oh my. I think for now I will just read about them and only eat the apricot itself. thanks for sharing. Angels are on the way ps

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)