Spring has sprung here in south eastern Australia with a mixture of sun, rain and wind. Amongst the wind and the rain our apricot tree (planted last Spring) has burst into blossom. So, how lovely and how fitting to wake up this morning to find one of my beadwork pieces - Apricot Zest hairstick - (the hairstick in the top row, right hand corner) in an Etsy treasury called Luscious Apricot. It's a beautiful treasury curated by Moonspritstudios (http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6557114). If you get a chance do pop by and comment on it. It's always very affirming to be in a treasury curated by other Etsians. This is my lucky 7th such treasury. Anyway, with the lucky coincidence of apricots in my garden life and my Etsy life I started wondering about Apricots... and was surprised to find them, or at least their ground pits, at the heart of a controversy about living long lives and cancer.
It starts with the fact that the Hunza people (Kashmir, India) live rather long lives compared to the rest of us. They regularly make it to 90 years of age and some reach 120 years in age - what a lot of beading that would make possible in a life time. Apparently, the Hunza have a near zero cancer rate AND (here come the apricots) they sprinkle lots of ground apricot pits on salads. Apricot pits contain Amygdalin a substance thought to help fight cancer. But, they also contain cyanide, known for it's toxicity rather than it's curative powers. Apparently, clinical trials testing the apricot pit theory found according to Wikipedia that:
"None were cured or stabilized or had any improvement
of cancer-related symptoms. The median survival rate was about five
months. In survivors after seven months, tumor size had increased.
Several patients suffered from cyanide poisoning."
I found various sites promoting the cancer fighting benefits of apricot pits and many warning against them. One rather public promotor - a former arm wrestling world champion (Jason Vale) was imprisioned for his role in promoting them as a cancer cure in the USA. In talking about the court's verdict Commissioner McCLELLAN stated that "The FDA takes seriously its responsibility to protect patients from unproven products being peddled on the internet by modern day snake oil salesmen such as the defendant in this case. There is no scientific evidence that Laetrile offers anything but false hope to cance patients." (Quoted from a press release issued by the US. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York on July 22, 2003.) Much controversy followed the decision.
Who would have thought such a lucscious fruit capable of such controversy. When I beaded my hairstick it was the lovely zesty color of ripe apricots that inspired me, little did I know what lay at their heart. In other coincidence, the rose wood in the centre of my beaded hairstick comes from India where the tale first began! Neither did I know that there are over 50 varieties of apricots, that range from the size of marbles to that of baseballs. Their color ranges from white to dark purple.
For those of you who are beaders, you can see a very luscious photo of their wonderful colours by clicking on the natural cuisine link below. More inspiration for beading...
Thanks to Moonspirit studios for beginning my journey into the deep and dark world of apricot pits and finding purple and white amongst it.