Friday, April 01, 2011

Folklore of Apricot

The apricot flower is symbolic of doubt in the “language of flower.” Also, the apricot has been used to symbolize female genitalia, similar to the peach and other stone fruits.

In ancient times, the Persian called apricot “seed of the sun.”

Chinese legends ascribed prophetic powers to the Confucius is said to have worked out his philosophy under an apricot tree.

In Hunza, a small kingdom on he Himalayas, the long life and the robust health of the people to be due to apricots.

Throughout the world apricot is considered to be among the most delectable of all fruits, with flowers, fruit and tree playing parts in various traditions of diverse human culture. Fruits are used in both fresh and dry form, canned or otherwise preserved as jam and marmalade or pulp.

Wines and distillates made from both cultivated and non-domesticated apricot are traditional beverages in parts of both Europe and Asia.

As with all stone fruits, apricot leaves, flowers, and especially seeds and bark contain toxic compounds that generate cyanide, which is of course toxic or lethal in large doses.

However, in the plant tissues, the cyanide concentration is low enough to be considered therapeutic, particularly for cancer (tumor) treatment has been used for this purpose since at least 25 BC.

Apricot oil was used against tumors and ulcers in England in the 1600s. Apricot seeds contain the highest amounts of these cyanide-generating compounds and the controversial cancer drug laetrile is derived from this source.

Treatment is based on the theory that the apricot pit extract breaks down to release cyanide but only when in contact with beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme active in tumor cells.

The cyanide is released preferentially at tumor sites, killing cancerous cells.

The apricot tree was called by the Romans ‘Armeniaca’, the tree of Armenia, where it originated. And the Latin also named the apricot ‘praecocia’. It was because it ripens at the beginning of summer before other fruits.
Folklore of Apricot

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