Anacardium Occidentale is commonly known as Cashew tree which is a tropical evergreen tree producing cashew nut and cashew apple. Cashew nut is used in most of the recipes as well as served as a snack. Cashew apple pulp is generally processed into sweet astringent fruit drink or distilled to form liquor.
Plant Family – Anacardiacaea
Botanical Name – Anacardium Occidentale
Sanskrit – Agnikrita
English – Cashew
Hindi – Kaju
Malayalam – Kasu mavu
Kannada – Godambi, Geru
About the Plant
The Cashew tree which is a flowering tree, grows well in drier sandy soils of northeastern Brazil and many parts of the Amazon rainforest as well as in India. This tree is usually grown for its Cashew nut and Cashew apple. A small evergreen tree that grows 10-12 m tall, leaves are spirally arranged, flowers are produced in a panicle or corymb. Flowers are small, pale green in color at first, which turns to red when ripe. A false fruit in the shape of an oval or pear develops from the receptacle of the flower. The actual fruit is kidney shaped which grows at the end of false fruit or pseudo-fruit. Cashew nut is the seed of Cashew apple, which is contained in a double shell.
The fruit, bark juice and nut oil are used as home remedies for calluses, corn, warts, cancerous ulcers and elephantiasis. Decoction prepared from the leaves and bark of the tree is given for treating diarrhea and thrush. Oily residue from pericap is used to apply on cracks on the feet. Seed oil is alexeritic and amedicidal which helps in treating gingivitis, malaria and syphilitic ulcers.
According to Ayurveda, fruit can be used in the treatment of anthelmintic, aphrodisiac, ascites, fever, dysentery, piles, Leucoderma, etc. In some places the bark and leaves of the tree are used for toothaches and pain in the gums.
Uses of Cashew
- Cashew nuts contain proanthocyanidins and high copper content which helps in fighting against cancerous cells and hence prevents from colon cancer.
- Cashew nuts have low fat content and fat is in the form of oleic acid that is very healthy for the heart. These nuts are cholesterol free and rich in antioxidants, preventing heart diseases.
- The magnesium content in Cashew nuts helps to lower blood pressure.
- It helps in hair growth as it has copper content in it.
- Magnesium content in Cashew nuts helps in building stronger bones.
- A study shows that everyday intake of Cashew nuts reduces the chances of developing gallstones to 25%.
- It helps in weight loss, digestion, healthy teeth and gums, etc.
- The bark of the tree is used in Ayurveda to detoxify snake bites. It is also used in treating fever, diabetes, to get rid of intestinal parasites, as a laxative.
- Leaves can be used for treating toothaches, gum problems and malaria.
- The gum is used to treat diseases like leprosy, corns, and fungal infections.
- Caustic shell oil and fruit are very helpful as skin stimulants and cauterizing agents. A small amount of oil can be used to remove warts, corns, ringworms, leprosy, psoriasis, elephantitis, and ulcers.
- Decoction prepared from the bark of the tree is helpful in treating toothaches and gum irritations.
- Fresh leaves are used for treating diarrhea, dysentery and hemorrhoids.
- Older leaves can be used to prepare hot poultices for skin disorders and burns.
- Juice from the fruit is used as diuretic and is helpful in treating vomiting, diarrhea and sore throat.
- Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should consume small amounts of cashew.
- People who are allergic to hazel nut or Brazil nut or pistachio or almond or peanut or pectin should avoid eating cashew nuts or it is better to consult a doctor before eating.
- Eating large amount of Cashew nuts can increase blood sugar level. People, who are diabetic, should avoid eating cashew nuts in large amount.
- Cashew nuts increase blood sugar level and so there is a risk of interference in blood sugar control during and after surgery. It is better to stop eating large amounts of cashew at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.