Supplements and Herbs

Vitamin B17 (Laetrile/Amygdalin)

Some modern historical background

Copyright © 2015 Healing Cancer Naturally

The substance amygdalin (from the Greek word for almond, amygdále) was first isolated from bitter almonds (Prunus dulcis) by two French scientists, Robiquet and Boutron-Charlard in 1830, appearing in pharmacopoeias[*] by the year 1834.

The first "modern" reference to the use of a laetrile-like substance against cancer can be found in a 19th century medical journal[1]. Professor T. Inosemtzeff of Moscow Imperial University described two cases of cancer successfully treated with an emulsion of bitter almonds, one of which survived more than three years, the other for eleven years.

Ernst Theodore Krebs, Sr. (1877–1970) was an American physician who found that an extract produced from the kernels of apricots was able to shrink artificially induced cancer tumors in rats.

His son, biochemist Ernst Theodore Krebs Jr. (1911–1996) was inspired by a book published in 1911, The Enzyme Treatment of Cancer and Its Scientific Basis by Scottish embryologist Dr. John Beard (1858–1924), the "father" of the treatment of cancer with pancreatic enzymes[2].

While first pursuing the enzymatic approach, Krebs subsequently embraced the nutritional avenue also implied by Dr. Beard, and finally proposed (in 1952) that cancer (akin to scurvy, beriberi etc.) was at its basis caused by a simple nutritional (vitamin) deficit, in this case a deficit of amygdalin which he claimed was vitamin B17 (a claim not recognized by official sources who continue to describe amygdalin as a poisonous cyanogenic glycoside).

Krebs developed and patented a simpler, purified, semisynthetic form of amygdalin which he named laetrile[3], devoting the remainder of his life to research into laetrile's effect on cancer.[4]

Thankfully, when beginning in the 1950s a number of physicians began adopting laetrile as part of their cancer treatment armamentarium, it wasn't so much as a supposed standalone "silver bullet" but as part of a holistic approach taking account of the entire person, including their diet and emotional and spiritual health.

What followed was a decades-long intense fight of the medical powers that be (that to this date — at least in the US — will only allow chemotherapy, surgery and radiation to be used against what is considered a mere localized malignancy) to outlaw laetrile and silence its advocates. For intimate details and comprehensive coverage of this much-persecuted natural treatment, see excellent books such as G. Edward Griffin's World Without Cancer (featured below) and The Cancer Industry by Ralph Moss.

Note by Healing Cancer Naturally

Part of the above information is based on material formerly provided by which has been defunct for several years


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Laetrile Case Histories; The Richardson Cancer Clinic Experience (2005)

by John A. Richardson MD and Patricia Griffin

60+ medically documented case histories of (formerly) incurable cancer patients given at most a few months to live, including a follow-up 30 years after their original diagnosis (and death sentence). Powerful proof for the potential efficacy of vitamin B17 against cancer.

World Without CancerWorld Without Cancer

by G. Edward Griffin

“...excellent exposé of a... natural way to prevent and cure cancer through nutrition [Laetrile/Amygdalin], and the forces in government and in large pharmaceutical firms that are fighting to keep the secret from us.”

... and for the best, easiest, and least expensive ways knows to heal cancer

after studying the subject for some twenty years, click here.


* An official book describing medicines or other pharmacological substances, especially their use, preparation, and regulation. (definition taken from

1 Gazette Médicale de Paris, tome XIII, 13 September 1845. The ancient history of amygdalin therapy in the treatment of cancer can be found here.

2 Background to this frequently successful alternative cancer treatment approach can be read e. g. under Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Bladder Healed Part 2: The Use of Proteolytic (Pancreatic) Enzyme Treatment.

3 "Laetrile" is a contraction of l-mandelonitrile.

4 Compare Ernst Krebs on Vitamin B 17 (Laetrile/Amygdalin) for Cancer Treatment.

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