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Cashew

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  • Botanical: Anacardium occidentale
  • Family: Anacardiaceae
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Cashew

Botanical

Anacardium occidentale

Family

Anacardiaceae

Known as

Cajueiro, cashew, cashu, casho, acajuiba, caju, acajou, acaju, acajaiba, alcayoiba, anacarde, anacardier, anacardo, cacajuil, cajou, gajus, jocote maranon, maranon, merey, noix d’acajou, pomme cajou, pomme, jambu, jambu golok, jambu mete, jambu monyet

Old Use

medicinal; culinary

Parts Used

bark, fruit, leaves, nut

Aroma

sweet

Medicinal

abdominal pain, antiseptic, bronchitis, bronchitis, burns, colds, conjunctivitis, coughs, cramps stomach, diabetes, diarrhea, digestion, earache, eye inflammation, fever, flu, gastrointestinal, gum bleeding, infections, stomach pain, sore throat, sunburn, ulcers, warts, wounds

Hormone & Sexual Organs

uterine bleeding

Infection & Inflammation

conjunctivitis, earache, eye inflammation, fever, flu, gingivitis, gum bleeding, infections, infections intestinal, skin inflammation, throat infections

Respiratory System

bronchitis, colds, cough, pharyngitis, throat infections

Stomach & Intestinal

cancer, diabetes, diarrhea, flatulence, glucose lowering, gastric acidity, gastric inflammation, stomatitis, ulcers

Skin & Hair

abscess, burns, conjunctivitis, corns, wounds

Properties

antibacterial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, digestive, expectorant, febrifuge, fungicide, hypotensive, stimulant, tonic

Description

The tree is large and evergreen, growing to 10-12m (~32 ft) tall, with a short, often irregularly shaped trunk. The leaves are spirally arranged, leathery textured, elliptic to obovate, 4 to 22 cm long and 2 to 15 cm broad, with smooth margins. The flowers are produced in a panicle or corymb up to 26 cm long, each flower is small, pale green at first, then turning reddish, with five slender, acute petals 7 to 15 mm long.

The largest cashew tree in the world covers an area of about 7,500 square metres (81,000 sq ft), it's located in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.

The fruit of the cashew tree is an accessory fruit (sometimes called a pseudocarp or false fruit). What appears to be the fruit is an oval or pear-shaped structure, a hypocarpium, that develops from the pedicel and the receptacle of the cashew flower.

Called the cashew apple, better known in Central America as marañón, it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5–11 cm long. It is edible, and has a strong "sweet" smell and a sweet taste. The pulp of the cashew apple is very juicy, but the skin is fragile, making it unsuitable for transport.

Properties & Uses

for malaria
for asthma, bronchitis, corns, cough, diabetes, dyspepsia, eczema, fever, genital disorders, impotence, intestinal colic, leishmaniasis, libido stimulation, muscular debility, pain, psoriasis, scrofula, syphilis, throat (sore), tonsillitis, ulcers (mouth), urinary disorders, urinary insufficiency, venereal disease, warts, wounds, and used as a gargle and mouthwash
for cavities, diabetes, stomatitis, toothache, warts
for constipation, dermatosis, diarrhea, flu, nausea, thrush
for diabetes, diarrhea, freckles, leprosy, skin, swelling, syphilis, ulcer, wart 
for asthma, colds, congestion, diabetes, diarrhea, hypertension, inflammation 
for diarrhea, flu, infection, skin infections and used as an antiseptic and douche 
for asthma, cough, diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia, stomachache
for diarrhea, fever, poisoning, warts 
for dysentery, leprosy, sore throat and used as a gargle
for asthma, colds, colic, congestion, corns, cough, debility, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery, scurvy, skin problems, tumor, urinary insufficiency, warts

Cautions

Skin contact with various parts of the fresh plant (leaves, bark, fruit, fruit oil) may cause dermatitis and to produce an allergic response. Cashew nuts and fruits have also been documented to cause food allergy reactions.

Distribution

While the cashew plant is native to northeast Brazil, the Portuguese took it to Goa, India, between 1560 and 1565. From there it spread throughout Southeast Asia and eventually Africa

Constituents

anacardic acids