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Category: Natural chemicals


Involuntary and voluntary

Introduction and description

Bear with me on this explanation, the logic will be apparent.

Cyanide is actually the name for a group of chemicals. Inorganic cyanides, such as sodium cyanide, are highly toxic in the true meaning of the word toxin. There are some cyanides where it is believed that and I quote “Due to the high stability of their complexation with iron, ferrocyanides (Sodium ferrocyanide E535, Potassium ferrocyanide E536, and Calcium ferrocyanide E538 do not decompose to lethal levels in the human body and are used in the food industry as, e.g., an anticaking agent in table salt”. Those E numbers again.

And there are also organic cyanides, which are usually called nitriles. Hydrocyanic acid, also known as hydrogen cyanide, or HCN, is a highly volatile liquid and in nature, substances yielding cyanide are present in certain seeds. It is found in the seeds and in tiny – truly tiny quantities in members of the Prunus family – cherries, for example, contain trace amounts in the seed, apricot kernels according to Wikipedia ' contain between 2.05% and 2.40% hydrogen cyanide.' Apple seeds and peach seeds contain cyanide. According to Wikipedia, “cyanides are usually bound to sugar molecules in the form of cyanogenic glycosides and defend the plant against herbivores”. But this is faulty logic. Given the number of apples we eat, if that is the strategy it has failed. But we don't tend to eat the kernel or seeds because they are too hard. Other animals have no such compunctions. A little pig in an orchard will eat the lot.

Apricot kernels are used as a component in traditional Chinese medicine where they are known as Xing Ren. To quote the TCM explanation of their use: 

It is bitter in flavour, warm in nature and slightly toxic. It is tropistic to the lung, large intestine channels. Its bitterness can send down rebellious Qi to relieve cough and asthma; the warmness can disperse wind-cold in the lung channel. Its action is rather slow and uniform. It is applicable in compound prescriptions for treatment of cough and asthma caused by exopathogen and internal injury, cold and heat, deficiency and excess. It is especially effective in treatment of cough with abundant expectoration due to wind-cold invasion of lung. It is rich in oil, which acts on the large intestine channel to lubricate the bowel to relieve constipation, so it is indicated in constipation due to dryness of the bowels

In homeopathic medicine Cyanide is known as Kali Cyanatum. Quite obviously it is administered in tiny tiny doses – as all homeopathic medicines are. It goes without saying that it is deadly poisonous in higher doses. But cyanide is a true poison in the meaning of the word I have provided on this site. According to Boericke's Materia Medica, and Kent's repertory Kali Cyanatum is used for [and I quote]...

  • Sudden sinking sensation. Cancer of tongue and agonizing neuralgia
  • Sick headache; sciatica; epilepsy.
  • Severe neuralgia in temporal region, recurring daily at same hour
  • Pain in orbital and supramaxillary region, with screaming and loss of consciousness.
  • Ulcer of tongue, with indurated edges
  • Speech difficult
  • Power of speech lost but intelligence intact.
  • Cough prevents sleep; respiration weak; cannot take deep breath.

In the body Vitamin B12 is converted to the human physiological forms methylcobalamin and deoxy-adenosylcobalamin, leaving behind cyanide in minute concentrations.  

Now you may wonder why Nature should have developed a function that left cyanide in the body. I am a believer that the systems of the universe were designed as an integrated whole, the systems of the body and the systems of plants were no exception and if the Intelligences saw fit to put cyanide in edible plants whose fruit is delicious and one of the most important Vitamins for health, then there is a reason.

What likes cyanide? What will happily munch away on cyanide growing and prospering? The answer is bacteria.

Four strains of cyanide-degrading bacteria which were able to grow with cyanide as the sole carbon and nitrogen source were isolated …..They were short and rod-shaped under scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and were identified as Brevundimonas sp., Rhizobium sp., Dietzia natronolimnaea and Microbacterium sp., respectively. PMID: 24552727

Some of these bacteria are to be found in the Lung, the Intestines and other organs of many mammals and they are in some cases 'friendly bacteria'. They are being looked into as a means of controlling parasites and fungi in human beings. For example in malaria control

... Pantoea, Acinetobacter, Brevundimonas, Bacillus, Sphingomonas, Lysinibacillus and Rahnella..... encourage further investigations, to verify the potential role of the detected bacteria for the malaria control in Iran and neighboring countries.PMID: 22163022

and in fungi control in the lungs..........

Systemic dimorphic fungi include six phylogenetically related ascomycetes. These organisms grow in a mold form in the soil on most continents around the world. After the mold spores, which are the infectious particles, are inhaled into the lung of a susceptible mammalian host, they undergo a morphological change into a pathogenic yeast form. The ability to convert to the yeast form is essential for this class of fungal agents to be pathogenic and produce disease. ...PMID: 17628155

here bacteria from the ones mentioned above were used to halt progression of the yeast.

Furthermore in people very ill from cystic fibrosis it is clear an almighty battle is taking place between a whole series of friendly and unfriendly bacteria and fungi...........

Our analyses showed 24 isolates belong to taxa that have so far not (or only rarely) been reported from CF patients. These taxa include Acinetobacter sp., Bordetella hinzii, Burkholderia fungorum, Comamonas testosteroni, Chryseobacterium sp., Herbaspirillum sp., Moraxella osloensis, Pandoraea genomospecies 4, Ralstonia gilardii, Ralstonia mannitolilytica, Rhizobium radiobacter, and Xanthomonas sp. …..The recovery of these species suggests that the CF lung is an ecological niche capable of supporting the growth of a wide variety of bacteria rarely seen in clinical samples. Elucidation of the factors that account for the association between these unusual species and the respiratory tract of CF patients may provide important insights into the pathophysiology of CF infection. PMID: 12037065

We are not one, but are a community, a zoo of numerous sorts of organisms.  We are colonised by unwanted parasites and fungi, attacked and colonised by some horrendous viruses, but we are host to a quite large colony of friendly bacteria. 

We tend to think of our immune system as the principle means of our defence, but it may be that a range of friendly bacteria resident in our entire system may also contribute with bacteria fighting bacteria and bacteria fighting fungi and viruses. As yet I have not found any papers on viruses, but it may be that the same bacteria also fight viruses.

And in this we have the interesting symbiotic relationship of one or more friendly bacteria that appear to thrive on homeopathic doses of cyanide.

So cyanide has its uses, it is a true medicine in that it acts to treat the cause of illness and not mask the symptoms.

Instead of killing bacteria with antibiotics, perhaps we should be helping them with apple pips and amaretto and amaretti biscuits [see apricots]!

Cyanide is often found in plants as a Cyanogenic glycoside.  In this case, the aglycone contains a cyanide group. All of these plants have these glycosides stored in the vacuole, but, if the plant is attacked, they are released and become activated by enzymes in the cytoplasm. These remove the sugar part of the molecule and release hydrogen cyanide. Storing them in inactive forms in the vacuole prevents them from damaging the plant under normal conditions.

An example of these is amygdalin from almonds.   Dhurrin, linamarin, lotaustralin, and prunasin are also classified as cyanogenic glycosides.

In the rather naïve way that some researchers think, they decided they wanted to prove whether cyanogenic glycosides might have anti-cancer properties, and they tested it by putting the two in a petri dish together.  Needless to say nothing happened.  The anti-cancer properties are achieved via a long cause and effect chain.  As cyanide in tiny quantities feeds our gut flora, the gut flora protects us from pathogens better and pathogens are the cause of cancers. 

NOTE:  A drug has been produced based on Prunus seeds – principally apricot kernels. It is known as Vitamin B17, Laetril or Amygdalin. Amygdalin isolated from the fruit and used as a drug has the potential to be poisonous because the dose is too high, the enzymes that act on the drug produce cyanide in far too high a quantity, and cases of severe cyanide poisoning and blood in urine has resulted. The drug producers clearly do not understand the mechanism of how cyanide works.

The claims that laetrile or amygdalin have beneficial effects for cancer patients are not currently supported by sound clinical data. There is a considerable risk of serious adverse effects from cyanide poisoning after laetrile or amygdalin, especially after oral ingestion. The risk-benefit balance of laetrile or amygdalin as a treatment for cancer is therefore unambiguously negative.PMID: 22071824"

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