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Laetrile (Apricot Kernel) for Cancer  RSS feed

 
Dayna Williams
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Location: Zone 8, Western Oregon
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Has anyone seen the new documentary "Second Opinion: Laetrile at Sloan Kettering" about the huge Laetrile cover-up in the 1970's? The NYTimes did a fairly neutral review of it, and Dr. Mercola, who directed-and I assume, funded- it has been talking it up quite a bit on his own website.



Laetrile, also known as Vitamin B17 or amygdaline, is often associated with Apricot Kernels (the hulled seed), because they are one of the primary natural sources. I know the idea of B17 has been around a long time, but I wonder if this documentary might sway public/medical opinion enough that it will receive more objective consideration as a cancer preventative.

I actually stumbled across this information while reading "Three Cups of Tea," which describes in detail how Apricot Kernels are one of the main sources of fat/protein for many native people groups in the Baltoro Himalayan region of Pakistan. People there eat them like Americans eat peanuts, and apparently after social gatherings, someone has to stay after to sweep up the apricot shells! But when you google "Apricot Kernel," all that comes up are warnings about how dangerous they are because of their cyanide-containing compounds.

It seems that the apricot trees grown by the Balti people are one of the few plants that survive there, so their hardiness makes them seem like an awesome permaculture plant for difficult high-altitude areas.

Does anyone know more about Apricots as a permaculture food source or natural medicine?
 
John Saltveit
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B17, Laetrile and apricot pits are mentioned heavily in Ty Bollinger's book, Cancer:Step outside the box, which I highly recommend. The original research which "proved" laetrile ineffective, was a sham. The FDA/Big pharma set up an experiment to see if it healed cancer in 3 weeks! When it didn't, it "proved' that B17/laetrile was ineffective. This has been a tactic of BIg Pharma and the FDA for many years. Many researchers have been threatened with career ending or jail if they produced results to the contrary. Several have "mysteriously died". many have had to move their clinics to Mexico, where curing cancer inexpensively is allowed, and no doctors are thrown in jail for doing that!

Cancer is big business! More people make their living off of dying cancer patients than people are cured by the only legally permissible (ineffective but costly) treatments: Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Many, many doctors have reported that cancer doesn't kill the patients, the treatments do. What do the doctors and FDA officials do when they or their loved ones get cancer? They go to Germany, where they can get treatments that they won't let us get. They can afford it. They make us take expensive ineffective treatments and they are getting rich off of it.

The Hunza people of Pakistan who eat apricots and their pits frequently, don't die of cancer. No one dies of cancer there, literally. Many of the areas of the world have 25 times less cancer than we do. Not 25%, 25 times. This is not an accident. WHat the hospitals want is lots of cancer and lots of insanely expensive treatment that only they can patent, to ensure they make billions off of it. And they do.
John S
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Joseph Lofthouse
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Dayna Williams wrote:Does anyone know more about Apricots as a permaculture food source or natural medicine?


I am not qualified to address the medicinal properties of apricots. I eat the seeds of apples because I believe it is healthy to do so. I remember how intensely bitter they were when I first started eating them. Today they taste sweet.

That aside, I'll tell an anecdotal story about my father...

There is an apricot tree that has been growing on the hill above the farm where my daddy and I lived as children. As near as we can figure, the apricot got planted by my daddy or one of his friends when they were children. They used to climb up the hill, and take apricots with them to eat, and to throw at each other. One of those germinated and has thrived. When I was a child it was a small tree. Today it is a grove of apricots. It has survived for more than 50 years, in the desert, without irrigation, and without swales, on about 14" of rain per year. If I ever get around to planting fruit trees in the deep desert, apricots will be the first to go in.


A couple decades ago one of my neighbors went to Asia and retrieved hundreds of apricot seeds from their native land. I volunteer at the orchard where they are being grown. What an exciting project to me... To be working with such genetically diverse apricots.


 
John Saltveit
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Apricots are one of the best fruits to grow in a desert. They grow better there than in my very rainy spring climate.

Ty Bollinger suggests eating apple seeds, as they are high in some obscure nutrient that fights cancer. He cites others that use them similarly.
JohN S
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Rebecca Norman
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I'd like to clarify that bit about the apricot seeds of Baltistan, as I live near there.

Those apricot kernels that people eat like almonds in Baltistan and Ladakh (and probably Hunza) are not bitter, and do not have the cyanide precursor in them. There are two local varieties of apricot that have this quality, and you have to graft them onto seedling stock. One is called halman in Balti, and the other I think is called yaktse karpho (they are called phating/halman and raktse karpo in Ladakhi, and I've studied a little Balti, and visited the Balti village that is on this side of the border). Otherwise, seedling apricots here by and large DO have bitter seeds, and people DO NOT eat large amounts of those, knowing that they are toxic. However, some people do grind the bitter seeds and boil them for a few hours (in the open air!) until the cyanide precursor is gone, and then make a sort of peanut sauce; it's really yummy, except this year when my students tried to make it never lost its bitterness Last year and the year before we'd enjoyed it at New Years. Everyone here eats non-bitter apricot seeds, which are like almonds but better, a little amaretto flavored. Everyone also knows that if you get a couple of bitter ones it's okay, but you should never eat a whole handful of them.

Be careful saying that people in Hunza's low cancer rate is because of one thing or another. When I was little and yogurt was a kind of new exotic health fad in the US, I remember my mother saying that the people of Hunza or someplace ate lots of yogurt and all lived to 100. Whereas now that I have lived a bunch of years, I think there must be many many different things in the old traditional lifestyle, diet and environment, uncontaminated by all sort of stuff that we are exposed to from birth in modern society.
 
John Saltveit
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The Hunzas do have an amazing lifestyle, at least traditionally. They were featured in John Robbins' book Healthy at 95, which I highly recommend. They do many things to keep healthy.
John S
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Dayna Williams
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Location: Zone 8, Western Oregon
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Thank you, Rebecca! I had no idea there were different types of apricot kernels. Just another example of the hard-earned wisdom of traditional cultures that outsiders can be totally ignorant of! I agree that there are probably many, many factors that influence a society's low cancer rates, and lack of processed foods, low sugar consumption, and plentiful exercise are just as likely as apricot kernel consumption!
 
John Saltveit
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I remember in the 1970's when yogurt was a new exotic food. I think the place they said where people ate yogurt and lived to be 100 was Georgia, Abkhasia region, also featured in Healthy at 100, the John Robbins book. They also did lots of exercise, had caring intact families, worked in gardens a lot, told jokes all day, and were free of modern chemical toxins and processed foods. This idea was advertised by the yogurt companies, but it was actually shown to be a small factor. It worked well to make yogurt popular though.
John S
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I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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