Hunza legend

There is no cancer among Hunza. The Hunza can live up to 100-120 years. The Hunza are the ancestors of the Huns. Hunza people are vegetarians, therefore they are so healthy. Such and similar claims are encountered on the internet by those who search for ‘Hunza’. None of these claims are true.

But it is a fact that the Hunza’s cultivation of apricot preserves a tradition that looks back centuries. A tribe living in Hindu Mountains, located at the western foot of the Himalayas in Pakistan, consumes almost exclusively apricots in most of the year. The reason for this scarcity is that there are very few cultivated areas, fertile lands and little grazing area stands for the tribe’s livestock. This tribe that mostly lives in isolation from the world indeed consumes a huge amount of apricots, the bulk of which is dried and consumed from the harvest until next April. They used apricots as sweeteners until the 1950’s whrn the ‘modern world’ broke into their lives. They eat the seeds of sweet seeded apricots while they use the oil of the bitter seeds for lighting with their oil lamps.

The fact that there was no known cancer among the Hunza was told by an English surgeon Dr. Robert McCarrison in 1922. In 2018, we should not give credit to the statements of a person with the medical science knowledge from 1922. Especially if we read John Clark's 1956 expedition report, detailing the poor Hunza's health (pages 54-64).

‘It is a fact that for Hunza for a long time civilizational diseases were not characteristic, but it had its price. With very hard work they developed terraced farming in the valley in which they lived, but the produced food was still not enough; in the spring months they often starved. A lot of work and the associated movement, as well as the limited amount of food available, the regular spring fasting protected them from obesity. In the summer, when vegetables were grown, they typically consumed fresh, raw food, they were almost vegetarians, eating meat only during the winter months. Due to their seclusion many diseases only occurred to them in the second half of the 20th century, and they met refined or processed food products at the same time. Until the 1950's, sugar was unknown to them and no honey was made, they sweetened with dried apricots. The apricot was also widely used, and the fruit presumably contributed to the Hunzas being one of the longest-standing peoples to this day’ - writes Origo's 2012 fact-finding article on nutrition habits and living conditions of Hunsa.

It is certain that the consumption of apricots contributes to the general health of the nomadic Hunza without doctors and hygiene as apricot is full of minerals, fibers and vitamins. John Clark wrote a book about Hunza people and their centuries-old habits of apricot cultivation after a multi-month expedition in the Hunza Valley. The Hunza - The Lost Kingdom of the Himalayas was written in 1956 and deals in detail with the experiences of the expedition. He writes about the Hunza apricot cultivation habits (page 162) as the following:

’The climate is ideal for apricots, mulberries, and grapes. Hunzas are good horticulturists. They have practiced grafting apricot trees for over sixteen hundred years. They recognize at least six local varieties of apricots on the main oasis, and know which varieties to use for strong roots and which to graft on for the type of fruit desired.

Apricots are harvested by sending children up the trees to shake the branches; the bruised and dirtied fruit is then picked from the ground. This system is chiefly responsible for the transmission of bacillary dysentery. However, it has one good effect.

Americans must cut down fruit trees as soon as they grow too large to reach with ladders— after about thirty-five years. The Hunzas let their trees grow for fifty years, then top them about fifteen or twenty feet from the ground and let them grow for fifty years more. Each vigorous, fully mature tree produces a tremendous yearly crop. The trunk and main branches grow to be as large as forest trees.

(…) Hunzas eat the apricots fresh or dried, and crack the seeds open to obtain the almond-like nuts. The dried fruit is sweet, soft, and does not keep long, but each year's crop is consumed by the next April and the few weevils that one finds are only a minor nuisance. After all, one can always brush the weevils off before eating. The sweet apricot nuts are eaten plain.

The bitter ones are ground with stone mortars, usually in well-worn holes on a nearby granite rock surface, and the oil is squeezed by hand from the resulting nut meal. This oil is highly poisonous. It is used for fuel in the little shallow saucer lamps, with a cotton twist for a wick.’

We have written in such detail about the true allegations about Hunza because we want to point out that the beneficial effects of the apricot extract are justified by medically proven facts, such as that the apricot is a vitamin bomb: vitamin A, vitamin B17, and it is also rich in vitamin C. The Prunus apricot extract also contains Reishi mushrooms and vitamin C, which also contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system.