While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
The cashew nut tree is native to Brazil and northern and western South America. European traders and explorers recorded its existence in 1578. The plant was taken from Brazil to India and East Africa, where it soon became naturalized. In 16th-Century Brazil, cashew fruits and their juice were taken by Europeans to treat fever, sweeten breath, and “conserve the stomach.”
Cashew nuts are commonly eaten as food around the world. Cashew nuts are a source of protein and fat and are eaten as is, lightly salted, or sugared. In certain areas of the world, other parts of the tree are also consumed, such as the leaf in Malaysia and the fruit in South America.
The cashew nut tree, poison ivy, and poison oak are in the same botanical family, Anacardiaceae, and they share similar chemicals, which cause allergic contact dermatitis.
Cashew has been used by many cultures as a treatment for diarrhea, although at this time, there is a lack of high-quality, controlled human trials to support its use for any indication.
Cashew is used by various tribes throughout the Amazon rainforest for a variety of indications. The Tikuna tribe in the northwest Amazon region uses the juice of the cashew to protect against influenza and as a treatment for diarrhea. The Wayãpi tribe in Guyana uses a bark tea as a colic remedy for infants. In Brazil, a bark tea is used as a douche for vaginal discharge and as an astringent to stop bleeding after a tooth extraction.
The Cuna Indians of Central America used the bark in herb teas for asthma, colds, and congestion.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
|Metabolic syndrome (coronary heart disease)
There is conflicting evidence regarding the effects of a high-cashew diet on patients with metabolic syndrome. Additional larger, better-controlled trials are needed before any conclusions can be made.
*Key to grades:
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
- Abnormal heart rhythms, abscesses (tooth), antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, arthritis, asthma, atopic dermatitis (skin inflammation), breast cancer, cancer, colds, colic, contraceptive, diabetes, diarrhea, fever, hypothyroidism, infections, infertility (male), influenza, leprosy, leukemia, skin conditions, skin ulcer, vaginal discharge, vitiligo, warts.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
In general, one-third to two-thirds of a drop of homeopathic mother tincture in water has been taken by mouth 4-5 times daily.
For diarrhea, a dose of one-half cup of a standard decoction of cashew leaves and twigs has been taken by mouth two or three times daily.
For metabolic syndrome (coronary heart disease), a diet high in unsalted cashew nuts has been taken by mouth for eight weeks.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for cashew in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to cashew (Anacardium occidentale), its pollen or constituents, other members of the Anacardiaceae family, or related species. Cross-reactivity may exist with marking-nut tree (Semecarpus anacardium), mango, sweet pepper, pistachio, pectin, almond, Brazil nut, hazelnut, or walnut.
Anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction), asthma, blistering of the mouth, cardiovascular symptoms (such as heartbeat disturbances or drop in blood pressure), contact dermatitis (with redness, itching, and eruptions), rectal itching, and wheezing have been reported.
Side Effects and Warnings
Use cautiously in patients with allergy to marking-nut tree (Semecarpus anacardium), mango, sweet pepper, pistachio, pectin, almond, Brazil nut, hazelnut, or walnut.
Kidney damage and inability to urinate, occupational oral submucous fibrosis, mouth cancer, mouth allergy syndrome (with tingling of the tongue and itching of the throat and face), and upper airway obstruction (in persons with a food allergy) have been reported.
Cashew is not suggested in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to cashew (Anacardium occidentale), its pollen or constituents, other members of the Anacardiaceae family, or related species. Cross-reactivity may exist with marking-nut tree (Semecarpus anacardium), mango, sweet pepper, pistachio, pectin, almond, Brazil nut, hazelnut, or walnut. Anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction), asthma, blistering of the mouth, contact dermatitis (with redness, itching, and eruptions), heart symptoms (such as heartbeat disturbances or a drop in blood pressure), rectal itching, and wheezing have been reported.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Cashew is not suggested in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Semecarpus anacardium is closely related to cashew. It has been reported that 12 out 77 women who received compound formulations containing Semecarpus anacardium became pregnant and that there was no harm to the fetus.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Cashew may interact with angiotensin II receptor antagonists (A2R blockers), antibiotics, anticancer agents, antidiarrheals, antifungals, anti-inflammatories, antivirals, calcium channel blockers, heart medications, immunosuppressants, or lipid-lowering drugs.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Cashew may interact with angiotensin II receptor inhibitors, antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antidiarrheals, antifungals, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, antivirals, cardiovascular (heart) herbs and supplements, lipid-lowering herbs and supplements, or herbs and supplements that affect the immune system.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
- Chakraborty S, Roy M, Taraphdar AK, et al. Cytotoxic effect of root extract of Tiliacora racemosa and oil of Semecarpus anacardium nut in human tumour cells. Phytother Res 2004;18(8):595-600. View Abstract
- Clark AT, Anagnostou K, Ewan PW. Cashew nut causes more severe reactions than peanut: case-matched comparison in 141 children. Allergy 2007;62(8):913-916. View Abstract
- Criado RF, Criado PR, Malaman F, et al. Nonoccupational allergic contact dermatitis to cashew nut simulating photosensitivity eczema. Am J Contact Dermat 2002;13(2):85-86. View Abstract
- Davoren M, Peake J. Cashew nut allergy is associated with a high risk of anaphylaxis. Arch Dis Child 2005;90(10):1084-1085. View Abstract
- Ferdman RM, Ong PY, Church JA. Pectin anaphylaxis and possible association with cashew allergy. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2006;97(6):759-760. View Abstract
- Goncalves JL, Lopes RC, Oliveira DB, et al. In vitro anti-rotavirus activity of some medicinal plants used in Brazil against diarrhea. J Ethnopharmacol 2005;99(3):403-407. View Abstract
- Inomata N, Osuna H, Ikezawa Z. [Oral allergy syndrome due to cashew nuts in the patient without pollinosis]. Arerugi 2006;55(1):38-42. View Abstract
- Menezes EA, Tome ER, Nunes RN, et al. Extracts of Anacardium occidentale (cashew) pollen in patients with allergic bronchial asthma. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2002;12(1):25-28. View Abstract
- Phan TG, Strasser SI, Koorey D, et al. Passive transfer of nut allergy after liver transplantation. Arch Intern Med 2003;163(2):237-239. View Abstract
- Pieters M, Oosthuizen W, Jerling JC, et al. Clustering of haemostatic variables and the effect of high cashew and walnut diets on these variables in metabolic syndrome patients. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis 2005;16(6):429-437. View Abstract
- Rance F, Dutau G. [Asthma and food allergy: report of 163 pediatric cases]. Arch Pediatr 2002;9 Suppl 3:402s-407s. View Abstract
- Rance F, Bidat E, Bourrier T, et al. Cashew allergy: observations of 42 children without associated peanut allergy. Allergy 2003;58(12):1311-1314. View Abstract
- Schutte AE, Van Rooyen JM, Huisman HW, et al. Modulation of baroreflex sensitivity by walnuts versus cashew nuts in subjects with metabolic syndrome. Am J Hypertens 2006;19(6):629-636. View Abstract
- Singh D, Aggarwal A, Mathias A, et al. Immunomodulatory activity of Semecarpus anacardium extract in mononuclear cells of normal individuals and rheumatoid arthritis patients. J Ethnopharmacol 2006;108(3):398-406. View Abstract
- Weber C. Eliminate infection (abscess) in teeth with cashew nuts. Med Hypotheses 2005;65(6):1200. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.