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The Cancer-Fighting/Poisonous Apple Seed

Updated on April 20, 2016


Apples | Source

Apple Seed Overview

Apples are an interestingly popular fruit in the world, as evidenced by the 65 million metric tons produced in the year 2011. I didn't even realize we had enough apple trees in the world to sustain that kind of production, but apparently, we do.

What isn't popular about apples, however, is their seeds. If you've ever had an apple, and it's likely that you have had an apple at one point in your life, then you probably didn't eat the entire thing. I don't blame you for throwing away the core though, it has those nasty little seeds inside which are way too hard to chew and have a bitter taste when cracked opened. In fact, I don't know anyone that eats them intentionally.

But what do we really know about those seeds? Not much, that's for sure. They're seeds, they're dark, I don't eat them, and they turn into trees when you put them in the ground. Isn't that all we need to know?

Not necessarily.

Apple seeds can actually be dangerous in extreme cases, since they contain an element inside them which is hazardous to consume. However, some scientists believe there's enough evidence to conclude that this same dangerous substance can be used in the fight against cancer. Either way, it's not what most people think of when they bite into an apple. Let's take a look.


Lets get right down to the most interesting fact about apple seeds. Poison.

Yes, you read that correctly. There is a poisonous chemical that resides in the apple seed. But as interesting as that is, most people are completely unaware that apple seeds contain Cyanide, which can be fatal when a large enough quantity is consumed. So in theory, eating a large enough portion of apple seeds could kill you.

THEY SHOULD BE BANNED!! Ok, not really. The amount of apple seeds it would take to kill you varies greatly depending on various factors, such as the age, size and health of the individual consuming them, or the amount of cyanide in each seed. The number of seeds it would take is MUCH larger than a person would ever even consider consuming. Although it's hard to know for sure, it would likely have to be several hundred seeds, but it is still possible (in theory).

Even in cases where an individual has ingested an unusual number of apple seeds, they generally only experience a brief sickness that passes with time. This means that anyone reportedly killed by eating an excessive amount of apple seeds would go down in history as one of the least intelligent beings ever to walk the earth. Especially since the Cyanide is only released when you chew the Apple seeds, or break them down in some way. So swallowing an apple seed, aside from the possibility of choking on it, is harmless. Thus, inflicting damage to your own body by eating excessive apple seeds would practically need to be intentional.

Did You Know that Apple Seeds Have Cyanide?

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Fights Cancer?

Apple seeds contain a substance called amygdalin (This is where the cyanide discussed in the previous capsule comes from), which is the same ingredient taken from the pits of apricots in order to make a type of medicine intended for use in the fight against cancer known as Laetrille.

It would definitely be a breakthrough if Laetrille actually did what it's supposed to, considering how abundant apple seeds are. Sadly, however, Laetrille hasn't given any hard evidence that it's at all effective against cancer, and is even illegal in the U.S.. This is likely because the medicine has the potential to do more harm than good to the users. Or maybe it's because the government likes all the money we're throwing at them through cancer research? I personally don't think the latter is true , but that's another topic entirely.

Laetrille has yet to prove any actual benefits to its users, so the likelihood of it being a publicized cancer-fighting solution to cancer patients probably isn't going to happen.

The Obvious


If you've ever thought about growing an apple tree from the seeds in your latest meal, and decided to try it out, you were probably disappointed to find that apples weren't sprouting out of the ground in a matter of weeks.

Apple seeds actually don't turn into fruit-bearing apple trees for about three to five years (talk about a long term investment). But once the tree starts bearing fruit, it will continue to produce it for as much as FIFTY years or more. Having that in mind, the five years you waited won't seem like such a big deal after all.

Aside from being an excellent source of food for up to fifty years,, it's also a beautiful ornamental addition to any homeowner's yard. The blossoms on an apple tree give a gorgeous look to the tree, and will make your property the envy of the neighborhood.

Planting an Apple Seed

Since I don't technically own the property I live on, I can't plant my own apple tree. However, I definitely recommend it to anyone that is willing to wait for the tree to bear fruit. As I mentioned earlier, it provides fruit for up to 50 years, and who doesn't like free food?

It might sound like it would be an obvious process, but there's always a right and wrong way to plant apple seeds. If you're interested in growing one, you might want to check out this helpful Youtube Video.

Apple Tree
Apple Tree | Source
Apple Tree Blossom
Apple Tree Blossom | Source

For More Learning

So what have you learned?

To start off, we found out that apple seeds are toxic in enormous quantities, and have the potential (although it may be small) to kill you.

We later went on to find that apple seeds can supposedly be used to fight cancer, but haven't really given any positive results.

And lastly, the most obvious, you were reminded that apple seeds ultimately turn into an apple tree after several years.

Hopefully you got to learn something new about apple seeds from this hub.

Thanks for reading!

What Did You Learn?

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    • lmoyer92 profile imageAUTHOR

      Leon Moyer 

      4 years ago

      I have a hub on Bonsai trees too if you haven't already checked it out :)

    • Ann1Az2 profile image


      4 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Might at that - I have a friend who could teach me how to do the bonsai - she took classes in it.

    • lmoyer92 profile imageAUTHOR

      Leon Moyer 

      4 years ago

      Hahaha. I've never actually been to Texas. I've been in PA basically my whole life. I think planting one in a pot would be kind of interesting. You should look into making a bonsai apple tree. I hear it's difficult, but the results just look awesome.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image


      4 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I have my seeds in the refrigerator right now! I live in southeast Texas, so it's doubtful I will ever be able to plant an apple tree in the ground, but I might be able to keep a small one in a pot in the house. It's just too hot for them down here. I remember my grandfather having them in Iowa. My sister and I ate them till we turned green! lol

    • lmoyer92 profile imageAUTHOR

      Leon Moyer 

      4 years ago

      Thank you! :)

    • Ann1Az2 profile image


      4 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Excellent hub! I enjoyed the video also. Thanks for sharing - voted up.

    • lmoyer92 profile imageAUTHOR

      Leon Moyer 

      4 years ago

      That's odd, I could have sworn I posted a comment in reply to yours.. It went a little something like this -

      "Maybe apple butter is actually poisonous!... nah. Like I mentioned in the hub, a drastically large amount of seeds would need to be broken down and ingested in order to cause substantial harm."

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow I wonder about apple butter? It is full of apple seeds. I do use the seed in smoothies along with the peel cause I read it was good for you and I just always peeled my apples to eat so this is a good way to get peel for whatever good it does.

    • lmoyer92 profile imageAUTHOR

      Leon Moyer 

      4 years ago

      I never thought i'd see the day when I'd be thankful for GMO, haha. Ok, ok, they have some benefits. But there's a lot of negative publicity out there in regards to genetically modified foods

    • sehrm profile image


      4 years ago from Los Angeles

      I additionally read somewhere that organic apples and apples grown before mass marketing as a fruity fruit snack have higher levels of cyanide. So GMO is our friend in the case of accidentally consuming apple seeds.

    • lmoyer92 profile imageAUTHOR

      Leon Moyer 

      4 years ago

      Well, instead of giving you the answers to all those questions in a comment, I think I'll just have to write a hub about it ;D And thank you! I appreciate your comment, and I'm glad you enjoyed the hub! :)

    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      4 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Imoyer92, Very well written. I'd like to know more of, how apple seeds can fight cancer? Are seeds from green apples the same as red apples? What can an individual do to fight cancer with the seeds without being affected by the cyanide? How do you use the seeds to fight the disease? Tell us more. Cancer is a major disease. You've opened up a can of worms. You can write about 4-5 hubs on these questions alone. Get ready, you're going to get a lot of responses… Welcome aboard!


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