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Pine Nuts Caused Terrible Taste

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Q. I am searching for a remedy for "pine mouth syndrome." Two days ago my husband and I made pesto and munched some fresh pine nuts. It turns out they were from China. Now we each have a bitter metallic taste in our mouths that won't go away.
I did some research and came across information about the syndrome, but I could find no fixes for this miserable phenomenon. Can you help?

A. The nasty metallic taste that results from eating certain pine nuts has been dubbed "pine mouth syndrome." It was first described a decade ago (European Journal of Emergency Medicine, March, 2001). The taste disappears after several days, and time is the only "fix" we could find.

There are at least 20 species of pine trees that make seeds that are harvested for human consumption. The pine nuts used in the Italian pasta condiment called pesto traditionally come from the stone pine, Pinus pinea. Seeds from Asian pines are often less expensive; the seeds from one particular Chinese species, Chinese white pine or Pinus armandii, appear to be responsible for pine mouth syndrome (Journal of Toxicology, in press).

Most pine nuts available in the US come from China. The offending seeds are often smaller and rounder than other pine nuts. Although pine mouth is unpleasant, it is temporary and does not seem to be dangerous.

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I think pine nuts taste terrible no matter where they come from. I don't understand their appeal at all. A famous cookbook describes the taste as turpentine.

This happened to our family a couple of years ago. It was pretty awful and lasted about a week. Everything tasted off. It was a mystery at first but my son remembered reading something about pine nuts and taste so with the association made I was able to find some information on the web. The offending nuts were indeed the short stubby ones, not the more familiar longer ones.

I tried to talk to the bulk foods guy at Whole Foods and he looked at me like I had two heads. Now I see that they have started labeling the country of origin of their nuts. My current package says 'product of Turkey'.

Yet another reason to not buy any food products from China. Why would you?

Please tell your readers not all gin contains juniper berries. If they are using these "synthetic" gins, such as the cheap brands, for arthritis treatment, there are no juniper berries. Several websites list gin ingredients. I did a quick search and found that Beef Eater gin has juniper and many other herbs so I chose that one. It is made in London.

Sorry but I disagree, the pine nuts from Europe-Mediterranean area ARE NOT like the Chinese or Asian and DO NOT taste like turpentine. We eat them for many dishes... vegetables, meats, deserts etc...

The fact that there are 20 species of pine trees used explains why I sometimes love the taste of pine nuts and sometimes it is as the other poster said - they taste like turpentine.

I had pine mouth syndrome a few months ago and for me it was more than just unpleasant. Everything I put in my mouth had an overwhelmingly bad taste to it, even plain water tasted rancid. It lasted two full weeks. The only thing that helped me was very sour tasting foods like vinegar or lemon. I could eat a salad with a sour dressing, or if I sipped a teaspoon of vinegar first I could eat other foods for a few minutes before the horrid rancid taste came back.

I have noticed a similar metallic taste after eating chocolate individually wrapped mini candy bars such as Milky Way and Snickers, also from China.

Are Milky Way and Snickers now being made in China? Tell me it isn't so.

This happened to me a few years ago and I thought I was going crazy. After searching online, I found one thread in a blog that referred to this syndrome. I read up on it recently and they are not certain if it's a particular type of tree or if it's a particular season in the tree's growth where this happens. It's also unclear whether or not only some people are vulnerable to this -- because a family could eat the same pine nuts and it may only affect some of them. I have continued to eat pine nuts, but never from anywhere in Asia since that seemed to be where all the problem nuts originated. I haven't checked recently, but Sam's club and trader joe's both imported their pine nuts from Asia. The unpleasant sensation lasts from a week to ten days for the most part.

I bought some Fisher pine nuts last week which is not my common brand. I started feeling a little sick a day after eating my favorite dish of Quinoa with Pine nuts and wilted spinach. I developed this horrible metallic taste in my mouth and after four days of this taste ruining everything I ate.

I just went on line to look it up to see what terrible disease I may have. Had never heard of Pine Mouth Syndrome It is day 4 now. I am very disturbed by this.

I checked and the nuts are from China. This is the last time I get this brand. A little worried about having this happen again. May have to give up pine nuts all together.

I've had the "Pine mouth" thing twice now, but my wife has not, despite having eaten the same food each of the times. Seems that there are individual sensitivity differences. So it goes. This does take much of the flavor appreciation joy out of eating, .... maybe it is a diet strategy.
This time the nuts were small and from Trader Joes.

I know that pine nuts coming from China have a different 'taste' than the ones from the Mediterranean area ... It is possible that some people can't eat them.

My theory about some people experiencing pine mouth and some not is that some people are "supertasters," meaning that they can taste certain kinds of bitterness while others can't. This is tested with the chemical propylthiouracil (PROP), which some people can't taste at all, some can taste a bit, and to some it is powerfully bitter. My husband and I ate some kale last week with pine nuts and olives (pine nuts from Trader Joe's, sourced from "Russia or Korea.")

I have been overwhelmed the last few days with a bitter/metallic taste in my mouth and my husband has not experienced anything. I have a strong reaction to PROP and my husband has none. This may account for why some people in a family experience it and some not - but it sure doesn't help the awful experience of it!

I live in South Africa. I ate pine nuts for the first time on Sunday and have Pine Mouth as a result. I purchased the pine nuts at the Spar in a container marked Mediterranean Delicacies but nowhere on the container does it state where the pine nuts originate so I don't know if they are Chinese or not.

My daughter and I both have the bitter taste but my husband doesn't have it at all!
I agree with Les that it's possible that some people can't taste that bitter taste as well as others - if at all. My husband can drink the most vile tasting herbal remedies without even flinching so I take it he doesn't taste bitterness the way my daughter and I can.

I've had this for three days now and have now discovered that sucking on something sour seems to bring some relief. I'm sucking on these awful sour gums that the kids love so much and I normally hate! It doesn't take it away mind you because as soon as I eat something else the taste is back, but at least for a while I can avoid that unpleasant taste. I'm so hoping it doesn't last beyond a week because it's not fun!

I must say that day three is much less intense than day one - unless I'm just getting used to it.

I have this bitterness in my mouth this morning. Except I did not have pine nuts. However I did have pistachios. I wonder if that also can cause the pine nut situation? I can not drink the orange juice or coffee. The taste is so bitter and metallic only when I tried to drink. I have not had breakfast yet. I there any way to mitigate this? And do you know anyone who had other nuts and have this happen?

I had pine mouth a year ago and have avoided all pine nuts since then, even though they were one of my favorite treats.

The pine nuts I got it from we're from Trader Joes. I suddenly have pine mouth again and have searched for the source, but haven't been able to find pine nuts as an ingredient in anything I have eaten in the last several days. I have eaten walnuts from Trader Joes, however. The package does not show where they were grown.

Has anyone else gotten pine mouth from a different nut?

I had this condition about a year ago when I ate a cookie from Christie Cookies. It lasted about 6 weeks and I actually thought it would never go away. I couldn't eat anything or drink alcohol without it being intensely bitter. Last Friday I made pasta and added pine nuts from Trader Joe's. The next day I started to get that bitter taste again.

Finally went online and found a couple of sites that explained Pine Mouth. My husband ate the same dish and had no issues. I am so happy to find what it is related to and how to avoid it. It bothers me that companies are importing nuts from China that are known to cause this, but brought in because they are cheap.

I feel for everyone who has written on this blog. This is a horrible thing to have, I'm just glad that it's temporary albeit not temporary enough!

Trader Joes...stop buying crap from China!!

Developed this metallic, burning sensation in my mouth and lips. So I I googled it and found all these comments about pine nuts. I had just eaten pistachio nuts. So problem solved I think. So relieved. But can't understand why it hasn't happened when I ate them previously a few years ago.

thank you guys for the posts, it's such a relief to know where this bitterness in my mouth is coming from! I tried everything possible and it does not go away. I cannot enjoy any food. Best thing is to add a lot of spices to your food eventually it will hinder the bitterness.

My girlfriend bought like a pound last week and we went through the whole bag. she is fine tho.

Try mouth wash and adding baking soda to your toothpaste, it's the only thing I found to be effective but the effect does not last long.

I have pine nut mouth syndrome after eating only a few pine nuts I roasted before adding to pesto I was making. No one else ate the pesto or pine nuts. My husband bought the pine nuts, that were the smaller, short ones, from Harris Teeter grocery store. I am on day 2, which is much worse than yesterday. I am okay with peppermint flavors (i.e. toothpaste, mouthwash, gum) and also vinegar dressings. Coffee is awful, as well as sweet. I hope this goes away soon.

Hi all, Im from New Zealand so it looks like this phenomena is reaching wide and far. If I hadn't read so many comments in different blogs etc I would have thought I was coming down with some horrible disease. I rarely eat pine nuts because they are so expensive, so was happy to find a cheaper brand - in NZ it is not yet law to have country of origin on packet!!!!!! - and sure enough three days later I was really quite sick with nausea, bitter taste and generally feeling unwell. To me this is a big concern especially as many people might be affected but because of the time delay will not realise what its from. I read somewhere that it could also be due to the chemicals used to shell the nuts - what a worry! I feel like we're being poisoned. I will be trying to eat all locally grown produce.

I had some pine nuts 4 days ago. The first day after I felt as if my tongue was swollen on one side, then the next day and up until now I have had this terrible bitter taste, and when I researched it found to be pine mouth. I have eaten pine nuts before and loved them but ate more this time. That will teach me to be greedy.

I hope this taste goes away soon as it is xmas in 2 weeks, and I want to enjoy my xmas dinner. Thank you all for your input.

Thank goodness for information like this! I made a batch of stew for a sick friend and almost threw the whole thing out, since it tasted so terrible. I started doing internet research and found the source of the bitter-metallic taste when eating or drinking. I had eaten pine nuts purchased from Sam's Club and they were from China. These did not taste good, so I returned them. About three days after eating them, the problem started. Needless to say it was frightening before I found answers. It has started to dissipate and I hope it will be gone by Christmas.

I also thought there was something wrong - quite sick, weird bitter taste to everything - was quite relieved to discover pine mouth! Still happening one week in ... So hopefully it goes soon. Eating bitter things is ok - they taste normal - but sweet things taste horrible. Kind of the reverse of that 'miracle berry' that makes everything taste sweet.

I'm not sure I understand how eating some nuts can alter your taste buds for 2 weeks.... Freaky! I felt horribly unwell the first day, before I noticed the bitterness ... Last time I'll be eating pine nuts! Oh, I'm in Australia, and I no longer have the wrapper so I'm afraid I cannot confirm the origin of the nuts.

what berry are you talking about? I never heard of it can someone tell me? Thanks.

I, too, am experiencing a bitter taste in my mouth after I eat anything. The first few bites can be OK, but then the bitterness kicks in. At first I suspected some raw almonds (from Trader Joe's), but after reading the posts on pine nuts, I realized that I had used some Trader Joe's pine nuts the day before.

Given the number of people who say they got their pine nuts fro Trader Joe's, maybe Trader Joe's should look into it?

I ate pine nuts that I bought from Walmart, I think, from China. The bag includes this warning: Caution: In rare instances, people may experience a sensitivity reaction from pine nuts, termed "pine mouth" which is characterized by a metalic taste that resolves without treatment."

I have eaten from this exact bag previously, without incident, but this time it got me. I'm so unhappy. This is NOT the diet plan I had in mind!

I started developing a bitter taste when I ate or drank anything 2 days ago. At first I thought I might be pregnant(!) until I started looking online and yes indeed, I had some pine nuts on a salad as part of an aircraft meal 3 days ago! As I ate them I remember thinking I'd forgotten how nice pine nuts on a salad were and to buy some but definitely not now.

I can't eat or drink anything except water, even now on waking I can taste this awful bitterness and drinking and eating just exacerbates it. The way I would describe it is like taking a mouthful of hair laquer. It really is quite awful. Yesterday I barely ate anything and felt weak and dizzy by the evening. I really hope this disappears soon I miss my morning cuppa. On the plus side, I may finally be able to get rid of those extra unwanted pounds!!

A few days ago I had portion of pine nuts from the supermarket, the "international foods" shelf. I didn't bother to check the provenience of the seeds since I found them very tasty. The next day however I was in shock. Everything I tasted was bitter. I thought to myself there is no way all my food is suddenly bad :))

I didn't know what is wrong with me and I wanted to contact my doctor. However I did some internet research first. The phenomena is quite frequent whether the authorities acknowledged it or not. The bitterness won't stick with you forever, only 2 weeks. I recommend that you find this experience amusing and avoid the nuts in the future :)

For me it's been 5 days already, 9 more to go (oh boy!).

Both my husband and I ate pine nuts from a popular chain grocery this last Sunday. On Tuesday we both began to experience the horrible bitter taste and nothing tastes good. I also developed muscle cramping, dizziness, and confusion.

At the moment I am subsisting on Mint tea which is the only thing that doesn't taste bad. This and other sites have proved to be very helpful in diagnosing the problem.

Since little seems to be happening regarding research and the distributers are being recalcitrant about removing these products from the market I think it is imperative that we all contact the store(s) we got the nuts from and the FDA and make as much noise as possible. Yes, it is helpful to find out what you have via the internet but if we don't say anything nothing will happen. Good Luck all!

I have found that 24 hours after eating the small rounder pine nuts I have developed the bitter aftertaste. The food label on the packet did not state what country the pine nuts were from but now I would assume they were the Pinus armandii species from China which are seemingly associated with this condition.

Here's a very useful link relating to what Chinese authorities are supposed to be doing about the export of this pine nut variety. I've been wary of imported Chinese food quality standards ever since that Chinese milk scandal in 2008, now if i don't see a specific 'country of origin' label on the food, I'm not touching it!

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