Cashew (Anacardium occidentale)


Cashew Overview:

The cashew plant is a large Amazonian tree growing throughout South America. It favors the drier, sadier regions of the central plains of Brazil, but can also be found growing deep within the Amazon rainforest.

The fruit is well known across the world for its delicious flavor and high protein content. Medicinally, the leaves, bark, and pseudofruit are more important.

The leaves are used during radiation therapy for cancer as an adjunctive treatment, and have a positive impact on glucose regulation as well making them useful for both type I and type II diabetics.

The bark is highly astringent, and therefore reliable as a treatment for acute diarrhea. This part of the tree is also commonly used as a hypotensive agent to lower blood pressure.


Herbal Actions:

  • Hypocholesterolemic
  • Antidiabetic
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antitumor
  • Antiviral (HCV)
  • Astringent
  • Cardio-Inhibitory
  • Hypotensive
  • Nutritive

Main Uses:

The leaves and bark are used to treat diabetes, diarrhea, colic, urinary tract infections, hepatitis C, mouth ulcers, stomach ulcers, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.

The pseudofruit is mainly used for its antitumor action, as a supportive agent during radiation therapy. It is also an antimicrobial and prebiotic agent useful for inhibiting urease and lipoxygenase activity.

Part Used

Fruit, pseudofruit, leaves, bark.

Family Name



South America (Central plains)

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Constituents of Interest

  • Anacardic acids
  • Anacardol

Common Names

  • Cashew
  • Caueiro
  • Casho
  • Acajuiba
  • Jambu

Botanical Info:

The cashew tree is a member of the anacardiaceae family of plants, which includes 9 other species. The tree is large and arromatic, growing up to 15m high.

The cashew nut, most commonly known internationally, it the fruit of the plant. It grows inside a capsule filled with toxic irritating latex. Behind the fruit grows a large swollen peduncle (called a pseudofruit) that contains a sweet tasting juice high in minerals and vitamin C.


Level Of Research:


Clinical Applications Of The Cashew Plant:

The most clinically relevant uses of the cashew tree involve its antimicrobial actions, both topically and internally for both bacterium and virus, as well as its glucose regulating actions, and hypotensive effects on the cardiovascular system.

There has been some compelling evidence for its use as an adjunctive cancer treatment in recent years as well.

The barks astringing qualities makes it reliable for treating diarrhea.



Cardol contained withing the cashew fruits shell is caustic and toxic. All cashews are first heated to destroy this compound before consumption.


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For list of references, visit the full cashew plant monograph.