CLL Support Association
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Apricot Kernels and White Tea

I was chatting to a bloke at a family funeral earlier this year and it emerged that he, too, has CLL.

As the conversation progressed, he mentioned that he takes a daily dose of powdered apricot kernels and drinks white tea.

His lymphocyte count was 19 when he was diagnosed 11 years ago and has been 30 for the past five. He goes to Haematology once a year.

Apricot kernels contain cyanide, so the dose has to be strictly monitored, and the sale of them has been banned in many countries (he gets his from Mexico).

Has anyone else come across this method of "treatment" and, more to the point, is anyone using apricot kernels to fight CLL?

Vic aka bootneck

17 Replies

I have heard of apricot kernels... it's a pretty controversial form of cancer treatment. They did do some clinical trials that said it wasn't effective, but as always with clinical trials people tend to find what they are looking for. Of course the medical estabishment says proponents of the treatment would argue that the trials were not well designed... who knows?

This article is interesting, but is rather pro and doesn't give the other side of the argument much air time.

Also, from what little I know about CLL, it's a very different kind of cancer. I don't have the medical knowledge to know whether the mechanism they propose would even apply to CLL.

The white tea is easier to understand. It's supposed to have the highest level of antioxidants of all the different types of tea and drinking a bit of tea is extremely unlikely to be harmful. But everything in moderation. Tea blocks absorption of minerals, especially iron, and your immune system needs iron!


Unfortunately people will be when vulnerable people desperate enough are preyed upon by the unscrupulous. Bootneck your avatar is very dark and so is the topic of apricot kernals and cancer.

I cannot find any evidence that this product has ever worked for cancer patients let alone CLL patients

Apparently the term vitamin B-17 was invented by the makers of laetrile a commercial product from apricot seeds. A way to make this poison seem more attractive?,.To con you into believing you that you were supplementing with vitamins not poisoning yourself. Although this has been tested a few times and been found to be ineffective. I don’t believe it has been tested in CLL?

From reading how many came up in a Google search that are advertising, suggests sadly there are many quack suppliers prepared to earn off vulnerable people by continuing to promote curative effects of these poisonous seeds.

Here are the facts read about the "The Rise and Fall of Laetrile"

From Quackwatch

And from Wikipedia:

“Amygdalin (from Greek: ?µ??da?? amygdále "almond"), C20H27NO11, is a glycoside initially isolated from the seeds of the tree Prunus dulcis, also known as bitter almonds, by Pierre-Jean Robiquet and Antoine Boutron-Charlard, in 1830[1] and subsequently investigated by Liebig and Wöhler in 1830. Several other related species in the genus of Prunus, including apricot (Prunus armeniaca) and black cherry (Prunus serotina),[2] also contain amygdalin.

Since the early 1950s, a modified form of amygdalin has been promoted under the names laetrile and "Vitamin B17" as a cancer cure. In reality, neither amygdalin nor any derivative such as laetrile is in any sense a vitamin.[3] Studies have found such compounds to be dangerously toxic as well as being clinically ineffective in the treatment of cancer. Taken by mouth they are potentially lethal because certain enzymes (in particular, glucosidases that occur in the gut and in various kinds of seeds, edible or inedible) act on them to produce cyanide.[4][5][6][7][8] The promotion of laetrile to treat cancer has been described in the medical literature as a canonical example of quackery,[9][10][11] and as "the slickest, most sophisticated, and certainly the most remunerative cancer quack promotion in medical history."[


I'm glad you posted the Quackwatch article. I always try to read both sides of a story, and momentarily forget that Quackwatch was probably the place to look for the other side of the story.

Calling it a vitamin is a joke. But the fact that it's toxic is hardly a count against it... most chemotherapy agents are massively toxic. Having said that, it should be treated as a totally unproven drug rather than a nutritional supplement.


It is not the toxicity but the fact that it is being masqueraded as a vitamin implying that it is harmless.

It’s the toxicity of proven chemotherapeutic agents that contributes to making them effective against cancer. This is not proven as an effective complimentary therapy let alone worth a consideration as an alternative.

Yes Quack watch sets out some of the history


"most chemotherapy agents are massively toxic."


As for having a "dark" avatar, you appear to take such things a trifle too seriously, Hairbear.

Are you some sort of "health professional"?

Lighten up a little.

There have innumerable catastophic events within the health service, so a smug approach is hardly appropriate.

Are you trying to deny the validity of alternative forms of medicine? For all the health service appears to be capable of is "watch and wait" and then pump you full of toxic stuff, which is supposed to make you feel a lot better.

We're all dying on here, some of us a little sooner than we would have wished.

Don't take me on, sonny.

My avatar?

Grow up!

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I'm glad you're not taking this quite so seriously bootneck... hairbear had me worried for a moment there. I wasn't advocating this as a treatment, just engaging in an interesting conversation.


Sorry if you think I was being too serious, Hope is an important part of living with CLL for me and many complementary forms do assist daily living. perhaps we should colour this conversation grey (not as dark) ( : perhaps I can leave it to others to inject a little more humour, because it certainly helps with daily living.

I was not trying to deny the validly of other forms of medicine, Complementary medicine is part of my own care accompanying conventional medical treatments. This old chestnut (sorry kernal) has been used before to promote debate, debate is healthy, I voiced the other side of the coin.

We are all adults and can choose our poison. It is only fair that we can weigh up the evidence. The information I provided is freely available you don't have to be a "health professional" to consider it. I am just a patient negotiating the plethora of false claims masquerading as real treatments out there. I consult with my own medics before considering any supplementation or medication they are ultimately the people who advise me. That is the only advise I can offer: Consult with your own medical professional before considering any supplements or treatments.

I have spent a year learning with Macmillan, completing their Cancer support, course and various other support workshops this has empowered me to be a better supporter and help others. Macmillan provides a lot of information that makes sense to me.

Macmillan provide an interesting section on Cancer and complementary therapies

It gives information about the complementary therapies most often used by people with cancer.

Another good source of complimentary information and support is provided by Penny Brohn cancer Care:

Macmillan's perspective on alternative medicines:

"Amygdalin (Laetrile®, Vitamin B17)

Amygdalin is a compound found in bitter almonds, and in peach and apricot stones. A synthetic form of it is marketed as Laetrile®. It is also sometimes called vitamin B17, although it isn’t actually a vitamin.

Laetrile has been marketed since the 1970s. Many websites that sell it claim it can slow or stop the growth of cancer. They sometimes also claim that Laetrile is able to selectively poison cancer cells without damaging normal cells and tissues. But there’s no evidence to support the theory this is based on. A review of studies looking at the outcomes for people with cancer taking Laetrile found no evidence that it can control or cure cancer."


Tell me to butt out if you want..... but who knew Apricots and Avatars could be so contraversial?????!!!!

Everyone needs to lighten up a bit here.....only my humble opinion, of course and what do I know? Not a lot, I hear you all say....

Come on guys; get a grip.....please..... LOL

sparkler x


Sure thing Sparkler, if we start arguing with each other who have we got left? I haven't a clue about apricot seeds or their possible toxic effects so I do welcome Hairbear's link to the science behind it. And I didn't see it as critical of complementary medicines, more a rejection of the undoubted quacks out there who'll trade on desperation.

I've heard recommendation and caution on almost everything since I was diagnosed with CLL. Exercise but don't be over stimulating the immune system, keep red meat down but beware of anaemia, get plenty of Vit D from sunshine but beware of skin's endless!

So I'm taking the Frank Sinatra approach on this one and doing it My Way! And when I'm 84, I'll re-post the effectiveness of Dairy Milk and vodka on CLL (here's hoping folks!).

Hey Vic, is that avatar 'Devon by night?' Lol......

Respect to all, we need each other!

Newdawn x


Can't believe the false hope that arises in the CLL Communinity continuously...after 14 years with this terminal cancer, I have heard them all, researched most...and my friends are still dying...from CLL or complications.

Start living and enjoying the lives you have left and stop looking for quick fixes, there are none yet... perhaps tomorrow? Lets all hope...


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There are a couple of things that seem to rattle my cage: feeling like it is something I did that gave me CLL (it's my fault syndrome, I didn't try hard enough not to get cancer); and there is something I am not doing to cure my cancer (which makes me want to try anything and everything that people say will cure it). Both feed guilt which causes stress which hinders getting well...

I research everything well-meaning folk offer as ways to 'fix' my problem (CLL) and then make up my own mind. Asking questions from those with more CLL experience than me on forums like this short cuts a lot of meandering on the internet. I like to read all sides of the discussion and work out what will work for my particular situation. It's not easy.

Basically I mean to be really kind to my body. Clean food, clean water, exercise, rest (sleep and relaxation). That way my body can handle the nasties my doctors want me to take to keep me alive until something better comes along.

Health isn't the only thing that drives my choices when it comes to what I ingest: ethical and conservation considerations come into play too. If I look after the planet the planet is better able to look after me. I don't think our bodies were designed to be treated with all these things we put into it every day - our food barely resembles food anymore and too few of us drink water, preferring to add a cocktail of ingredients! Our houses bombard us with a plethora of smells, many of them derived from petroleum or oil. I aim to clean up the stuff I'm putting into my body before adding other things, unless I'm totally convinced that at best they'll do some good and at worse they are benign and won't do any (cumulative) damage.

Years ago my mum used to put apricot kernels in the apricot jam as it was cooking. But she took them out when putting the jam into jars, but I guess the cyanide had probably leached out by then.


My Mum also put apricot kernels in her apricot jam and left them in. Delicious.

More to the point. My husband bought apricot kernels for me ... Can't remember where from and I had to take so many a day. They were really nasty and left a sour horrid taste in my mouth. I just could not swallow them. Did not realise they contained cyanide.

Did you know that apple pips are good to chew on as they have anti-cancer properties?


apple pips also contain cyanide, they taste the same as apricot kernels,


Hi Marisa

I have always eaten apple pips; always have done and see no point in stopping now.

And yes, they contain small amounts of Cyanide.

And your husband bought you apricot kernels?



Arsenic trioxide (ATO) seems to effect the BCR, mTOR pathway down stream, not certain what cyanide does in CLL, do you?



I only know what the guy at the funeral told me, and the little that I have gleaned from the website.

He said, and it is borne out by some of what I have read, that the cyanide destroys the cancer cells but that the healthy cells are able to survive. The body, it would appear, can cope with very small amounts of cyanide (hence no ill effects from the apple pips that I have always eaten).

It may be complete balderdash but, as others have mentioned, some people will go to extreme lengths if they think it will provide a miracle cure.

Me? I'll stick to the apple pips!


You may find this booklet interesting From Leukarmia and Lymphoma Research:

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

This 25 page booklet provides information about the most commonly used non-conventional treatments and discusses some of their potential benefits and hazards. Topics covered include:

• complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)

• whole systems of medicine

• homeopathy

• acupuncture

• mind-body interventions (including prayer)

• herbalism

• dietary changes and supplements

• physical therapies (including massage)

• energy therapies

• assessing claims for complementary and alternative therapies.


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