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Sep 22, 2009 01:07 PM

Pine Mouth: Mysterious, bitter aftertaste from pine nuts

I'm writing a story for The Baltimore Sun about people who experience a bitter or metallic taste in their mouths after eating pine nuts. It can last for two weeks. Seems to be associated with Chinese and/or Korean varieties of the nuts. Any sufferers out there?

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  1. Me! A few days ago (week?) I woke up in the morning and had a weird bitter taste in the back of my mouth, sort of like the rear 1/3 of my tongue. I figured it had to do with a lozenge I had taken (which I had taken because my mouth had been weirdly slightly inflamed for a few days). Anyway, it didn't go away a couple days later and I noticed things like a chocolate bar seemed to enhance the bitterness. So onto google I went and read about pine mouth, and I had been cooking with, and randomly snacking on pine nuts the week or so before that. Safeway brand "Whole Pine Nuts - Baking nuts". Product of China. The bitterness has probably decreased to about 1/2 in the 3-4 days since I looked it up, and unlike some of what I've read my affliction wasn't *terrible* just slightly annoying.

    1. I am a local reader of the Baltimore Sun. I am so relieved to see that this will be a Sun article. I think many more people have experienced this, but don't have the resources to explain why they experience this terrible taste. This will draw more attention to it!

      For the past two nights, I have been making green beans with pine nuts and parmesan cheese. This is my favorite vegetable. I confess, I have done some snacking in between throwing them in the pan. Today at breakfast, I couldn't stomach my english muffin. I was convinced that cleaning products had gotten into them since they were on the counter, near where I was spraying. That's what it tasted like, cleaning products. All day it has been unbearable. Every time I begin to chew, it all comes back, leaving a lingering taste for at least 20 minutes. Even when I had a glass of wine.

      Two years ago, the same thing happened, sending me to a trip to the doctor, convinced I had an allergy. The doctor had no explanation for me, leaving me feeling like I had made this up. I remember it lasting for at least a week.

      The strange thing is, I have eaten pine nuts in between episodes, leaving me to wonder what it is. My pine nuts were purchased at Giant and are of the Chinese variety. I am on day one of the bitter taste in my mouth and not looking forward to eating this week.

      1. Hi -- don't know whether or not you're still looking for people who experienced this... I'm having a bout of "pine mouth" right now. I made some pesto sauce over the weekend and, while I was making it, I tossed a couple of handfuls of the pine nuts in my mouth. Everyone ate the pesto, but it seems that I'm the only one who developed this horrible after-taste - and it's truly horrible - so I'm going to assume that quantity might be a factor. It's odd that the bitter after-taste develops a couple days after eating the pine nuts. I was ready to make an appointment with my doctor, but glad I did a little research on the Internet before I did, because I'm certain it's the pine nuts that's causing the problem (and my doc would have probably thought I was crazy). I bought the pine nuts at the local grocery store (SaveMart) but didn't retain the package, so I have no clue about their origin -- whether they're from China or Korea or ??? I'm on day 2 of "pine mouth" and I'm feeling very hungry. Everything tastes disgusting, so I"m just eating a bare minimum to stave off the growing hunger... Ugh!

        1. I'm suffering from a horrible bitter taste in my mouth and my wife was ready to drag me to the emergency room for cadmium poisoning until we read all of the posts on this being a side effect from pine nuts. We had a big salad with pine nuts my wife roasted over the stove for dinner 2 days ago. I had the leftover pine nuts as a snack at work the next day. Now (2 days after the first batch) almost everything I eat tastes VERY bitter. Pineapple and other sweet acidic things fare better than other items, but not by much. The strange thing is that my wife isn't suffering the same symptoms. Perhaps it is because I had the extra pine nuts as a snack the following day. Weird...

          1. I stopped eating pine nuts a few years ago because of this. I thought at the time they were just rancid nuts but the experience of having a lingering bitter aftertaste in my mouth put me off them for good. I make my pesto without them and no longer add them to salads, etc.