How Many Cherry Seeds Can Kill You?

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Swallowing a cherry seed or two may cause you alarm, but should it? How many cherry seeds can kill you? While the question may seem dramatic, the truth is that cherry seeds, as well as other components of cherries, have proven poisonous.

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Join us as we explore the many ways in which cherry seeds can be dangerous. Let’s also talk about ways to lower your chances of becoming poisoned by cherries. 

red cherries on black round plate

Are Any Cherries Poisonous?

Aside from innocent fruit-related questions such as how to wash blueberries or how to clean grapes comes other more troubling questions in regards to eating certain types of fruit.

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not cherries are poisonous, the answer might surprise you.

While there aren’t any cherries that are poisonous when eaten correctly, it is true that certain parts of cherries can be harmful if ingested.

Cherry seeds, twigs and leaves are all known to have negative effects on both people and animals. When consumed in large amounts, these cherry components can cause a variety of symptoms. 

These symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea
  • Gastritis
  • Headache
  • Seizure
  • Breathing Difficulties 
  • Death

Are Cherry Pits Poisonous to Human?

Cherry Pits Poison

Cherry pits are poisonous to humans and animals. The pit is the seed within the cherry that most people spit out. These pits contain cyanide which is what causes the negative side effects in your body when chewed or crushed.

 

Thankfully, eating a cherry pit or two is not likely to poison you. Whether or not you become poisoned depends on the type of cherry, how many pits you’ve eaten, your weight and your age. 

Children are particularly prone to becoming poisoned by cherry pits because of their lesser body weight. So it is important to instruct your child to spit out cherry pits when eating cherries. 

How Much Cyanide is in Cherry Pits

There are varying amounts of cyanide in cherry pits, depending on the type of cherry. Morello cherry pits have the most cyanide at 65 mg per pit, while black cherries have the least at 2.7 mg per pit. 

With the above information, it would make sense, then, that eating several Morello cherry pits could quickly spell trouble for you or someone you know. In fact, it is estimated that only a mere 6-7 Morello pits can put you at risk. In some cases, the quantity could be lower. 

red cherries

I Accidentally Chewed a Cherry Pit

If you accidentally swallow a cherry pit or two, there likely isn’t a cause for concern. But if you are chewing cherry pits, your health could be at risk.

It is important to note that cherry pits aren’t likely to cause you many issues if they aren’t chewed, crushed or bruised in some form. 

It is the pulverizing of cherry pits that actually release the cyanide chemical that produces negative effects on the body. Thus, swallowing unchewed cherry pits, while not recommended, is less likely to cause you as much harm as a crushed or chewed cherry pits would.

Toddler Swallowed Cherry Seed

If your toddler swallows one cherry seed, he or she will likely be okay. But if your toddler consumes more than one cherry seed, you may need to contact the Poison Control Center

The reason behind this recommendation is that your toddler is likely very small and thus is much more likely to be affected by cyanide poisoning. And while the seeds would technically need to be chewed before releasing this toxic chemical, it still is a good idea to have your toddler checked out.

Another thing to bear in mind is that small toddlers should not eat anything containing pits and seeds as these could pose significant choking hazards to your toddler. Avoid feeding your toddler anything that could potentially cause your toddler to choke, including cherry pits. 

What Happens If You Swallow a Cherry Pit While Pregnant

If you swallow a cherry pit while pregnant, you aren’t likely to suffer much and neither will your baby. 

In order for cherry pits to pose a significant health hazard, they would have to be chewed or consumed in excessive amounts. 

Still, it is advisable that you avoid eating cherry pits and see a doctor if you begin to experience headaches, diarrhea, nausea or upset stomach soon after consuming cherry pits. 

red round fruits in close up photography

Can Cherry Pits Kill You

If eaten in excess, cherry pits could potentially kill you, especially if the pits were crushed, chewed or bruised. 

How Many Cherry Pits Are Toxic to Humans

The amount of cherry pits it would take to intoxicate a human would depend on the type of cherry it came from, how many were eaten, and the weight of the individual. 

In general, it takes about 0.2 – 1.6 mg of cyanide per pound of body weight to affect a person. Thus, it will depend on the body weight of a person, with children being most at risk.

How Many Cherry Pits Are Toxic to Dogs

To determine how many cherry pits it would take to prove lethal for a dog, you’ll use much the same standard as you would for humans. 

Consider the size of your dog and how many pits he or she ate. Watch your dog closely for signs of poisoning including vomiting or diarrhea. Also, if your dog does not pass stool in the amount of time he or she normally does, you may want to see a veterinarian to rule out blockage. 

Cherry Pits Heart Attack

While cherry pits aren’t directly related to a heart attack, cherry pits – when ground or crushed – can cause your heart rate to increase. It can also cause difficulty breathing.

As such, if you begin to notice symptoms of increased heart rate shortly after consuming chewed or crushed pits, you will want to see a healthcare professional immediately. 

Crushed Cherry Pits

Remember, crushed cherry pits are a serious threat to human health. Whatever you do, never purposefully chew or crush cherry pits before ingesting them as doing so may prove deadly. 

Also, be sure to inform others, especially children, about the dangers associated with consuming crushed cherry pits.

How Many Cherry Seeds Can Kill You: Quantity Matters

To summarize, it isn’t the cherries themselves that prove poisonous, but rather, the pit on the inside of the cherry. When chewed or crushed, cherry pits release a harmful substance known as cyanide. This can have a negative impact on your health, especially when consumed in excess. 

If you or someone you know consumes crushed cherry pits, you’ll want to report to the hospital right away if signs of illness occur. 

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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