This anti-cancer molecule is one of the most controversial subjects in Medicine.  This drug is also called Amygdaline, Vitamin B 17 or Nitriloside. There are about 14 naturally occurring nitriloside distributed in over 1200 species of plants.  Apricots, sweet potatoes, lima beans, millet, lettuce prunes, apples cherries and plums are a rich source of Laetrile.

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This drug is considered to be more of an accessory food factor and it is found that primitive tribes in Pakistan, South Africa, South America and Australian aborigines consumed more than 250 to 3000 mg of nitrosilide every day and hence had low cancer rates, as compared to the rest of the civilized west and USA.

Why Laetrile became controversial?

 Laetrile is a three part molecule containing: sugar, cyanide and either benzaldehyde or acetone. So, it is literally true to say that Laetrile contains cyanide, which is a deadly poison. Under normal conditions, the chlorine in salt and cyanide are tightly bound and there is no danger of a sudden ‘leak out’.  So, Laetrile is actually safe and it kills the cancer cells because of the synergy of two key breakdown products, cyanide and benzaldehyde.

Laetrile is very safe:

Extensive tests have shown that Laetrile is extremely safe and relatively free of side effects.

Clinical experience with Laetrile:

Several studies done by Oncologists have revealed that Laetrile given in doses varying from 9 to 133 grams intravenously, for a variable period of 4 to 43 weeks, in inoperable cancer cases resulted in:

  • Dramatic relief of pain and discontinuance of narcotics
  • Control of stench emanating from the tumor.
  • Improved appetite.
  • Reduction in the swelling of the Lymph nodes.
  • Total remission of cancer in many cases.

The side effects of this therapy were transient episodes of low blood pressure, itching and a hot sensation in the affected area, all of which disappeared with the continuance of therapy.


 Despite the bad name it has received because of the “Great Cyanide Scare”, Laetrile is useful although controversial.  Its use is still restricted in many countries.