[NAFEX] Choke Cherries, cyanide, etc.
list at ginda.us
list at ginda.us
Thu Feb 26 23:06:31 EST 2004
Right. If you eat a lot at once, it will kill you. But if you eat a
little at a time, and are otherwise healthy and well fed, you can
metabolize it. (Like alcohol, I suppose, but more toxic.) I think I
once read an article about how cyanide can be a cumulative toxin in
people who are protein-deprived, but that's probably not a problem for
Lots of other animals and beasties can metabolize small quantities, too
- I wonder if fermentation reduces the cyanide levels? I know that
cooking in an open container does.
On Feb 26, 2004, at 1:11 PM, Bill Russell wrote:
> Right. Cyanide is not a cumulative toxin.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Lucky Pittman" <lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu>
> To: "longdistshtr" <longdistshtr at shtc.net>; "North American Fruit
> <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2004 6:36 AM
> Subject: [NAFEX] Choke Cherries, cyanide, etc.
>> At 10:25 PM 2/25/2004 -0500, Doc L wrote:
>>> They are pest trees here, kinda like Sweet Gums which Lucky Pittman
>> Indeed, I do. Would much prefer hawthorns, which I could use as
>> for pears & quinces.
>> I'm neither a chemist nor a toxicologist, but deal with the cyanide
>> in livestock on a regular basis. Cherry leaves are most toxic in the
>> wilted state - I've seen cows eat them fresh and green off the tree,
>> they'll vaccuum up the yellow senescent leaves that drop off from
>> time to
>> time throughout the season - with no ill effects. It may be that the
>> green leaves are toxic as well as the wilted ones, but that the
>> aren't usually able to access them in the large amounts that
>> death like when people inadvisedly pitch big piles of prunings over
>> fence to them or a storm comes through and blows trees over or splits
>> limbs off - at which time the cows/goats/sheep mob around 'em and
>> race to
>> see who can eat the most leaves. Japanese yew prunings do a very
>> job of killing cattle, as well, due to their high cyanogenic
>> Prunus spp. leaves contain cyanogenic glucosides and enzymes which
>> those glucosides, but in normal, undamaged leaves, they're contained
>> separate cells. When the leaves are damaged - freezing, wilting,
>> etc, this allows the chemical reaction to take place between the
>> and the cyanogenic glucosides, liberating cyanide, which can then be
>> up into the bloodstream, where it binds to hemoglobin in the
>> interfering with its capability to carry oxygen.
>> On the subject of cyanide in the seeds or a cherry leaf in my jam or
>> personally, I wouldn't have too much concern about it - wouldn't even
>> concerned with crushing seeds in the process of making jelly or
>> wine. HCN(hydrogen cyanide) is volatile, and any that might be
>> would probably dissipate harmlessly into the atmosphere during the
>> of canning, fermentation, or storage, for that matter.
>> I wouldn't want to sit down and eat a big bowl of cracked chokecherry
>> For more info on prussic acid poisoning, have a look at the following
>> extension bulletin:
>> Lucky Pittman
>> USDA Zone 6
>> Hopkinsville, KY
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