Plant Profiler

Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)

Prunus armeniaca
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Amar apricot kernels, Amar apricot seed kernels, amygdalin, amygdaloside, Amygdalus armeniaca, apricot lipid transfer protein, apricot kernel oil, armeniaca, Armeniaca vulgaris, bainiku-ekisu (Japanese), Barackmag syndrome, beta-carotene, Chinese almond, cyanide, cyanogenic glycosides, fiber, fruit acids, Hamawy apricot seed kernels, iron, Japanese apricot, Japanese apricot juice, Laetrile™, laevoratory, LPT, madelonitrile, niacin, pickled Japanese apricot, potassium, prunasin, Prunus armeniaca, Rosaceae (family), sugar, thiamine, ume (Japanese), ume-shu (Japanese), vitamin B17, vitamin C.

Mechanism of Action


  • Constituents: Apricot contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, thiamine, iron, fiber, potassium, niacin, fruit acids, and a variety of sugars.
  • Hamawy apricot seed kernels (sweet), Amar apricot seed kernels (bitter) and treated Amar apricot kernels (bitterness removed) have been evaluated biochemically. All kernels were found to be high in fat (42.2-50.91%), protein (23.74-25.70%) and fiber (15.08-18.02%). Phosphorus, calcium, and iron were determined in all experimental samples.3
  • Apricot lipid transfer protein (LTP), a major allergen, is a 91 amino acid protein like peach and almond LTP, with a sequence identity of 91% and 94%, respectively.4
  • Hyperoxia effects: In a hyperoxia-exposed cell model in AECIIs of premature rat, amygdalin promoted the proliferation of premature rat AECII exposed to air or hyperoxia.1,2 The most effective concentration of amygdalin was 200μmol/L.
  • Poisonous effects: The kernels of apricot pits are thought to be a common source of cyanogenic glycosides. Cyanogenic glycosides are predominantly found in the trees of the Prunus species. Amygdalin (D-mandelonitrile-beta-D-glucoside-6-beta-glucoside) is a cyanogenic compound which breaks down to hydrogen cyanide, glucose and benzaldehyde. It has not been found to be toxic until it is metabolized by the enzyme emulsin that is present in the kernels of these plants. Toxicity from amygdalin is related to the amount of plant or kernel ingested and the amount of cyanide that is released.


  • After intravenous Laetrile™, amygdalin has been shown to be excreted primarily unchanged with urinary recoveries as high as 100%. Peak plasma levels following a 6g intramuscular dose of Laetrile™ were 180μg/L.5
  • Prunasin, a metabolite of amygdalin, has a bioavailability of approximately 50%. Prunasin's volume of distribution and clearance are larger than those of amygdalin.6

  1. Chang, L. W., Zhu, H. P., Li, W. B., Liu, H. C., Zhang, Q. S., and Chen, H. B. [Protective effects of amygdalin on hyperoxia-exposed type II alveolar epithelial cells isolated from premature rat lungs in vitro]. Zhonghua Er Ke Za Zhi  2005;43(2):118-123. 15833168
  2. Zhu, H., Chang, L., Li, W., and Liu, H. Effect of amygdalin on the proliferation of hyperoxia-exposed type II alveolar epithelial cells isolated from premature rat. J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci 2004;24(3):223-225. 15315331
  3. Gabrial, G. N., El Nahry, F. I., Awadalla, M. Z., and Girgis, S. M. Unconventional protein sources: apricot seed kernels. Z Ernahrungswiss Suppl 1981;20(3):208-215. 6945764
  4. Conti, A., Fortunato, D., Ortolani, C., Giuffrida, M. G., Pravettoni, V., Napolitano, L., Farioli, L., Perono, Garoffo L., Trambaioli, C., and Pastorello, E. A. Determination of the primary structure of two lipid transfer proteins from apricot (Prunus armeniaca). J Chromatogr B Biomed Sci Appl  5-25-2001;756(1-2):123-129. 11419703
  5. Ames, M. M., Kovach, J. S., and Flora, K. P. Initial pharmacologic studies of amygdalin (laetrile) in man. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol  1978;22(1):175-185. 725316
  6. Rauws, A. G., Olling, M., and Timmerman, A. The pharmacokinetics of prunasin, a metabolite of amygdalin. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol  1982;19(8):851-856. 7182513

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