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Overview

Brief Summary

Anacardium occidentale, the cashew, is an evergreen tree in the Anacardiaceae (cashew or sumac family) that originated in Central and South America and is now cultivated commercially in semi-arid tropical areas in Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and southeastern Asia for the production of cashew nuts. The tree, which is up to 12 meters (40 feet) tall, has leathery alternate leaves, and flowers with 5 petals and 5 sepals. The fruits take an unusual form, with a kidney-shaped nut (drupe) borne on the end of an receptacle (the stem that holds the flower and fruit), which becomes enlarged and fleshy so that it appears as a fruit (with the nut like a comma dangling at its end), and is referred to as a “cashew apple.”

The cashew apple is edible, with an astringent flavor, and is used in jams, jellies, chutneys, and beverages (including a cashew wine); it is a good source of vitamin A and contains up to five times as much vitamin C as citrus juice. Cashew apples are also used as animal fodder. Cashew nuts, which are important in the cuisine of India, are often roasted and salted and eaten as a snack, and are high in protein, vitamins (A, D, K, and E) and minerals (including calcium, phosphorus, and iron). Other products from the plant include cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL), which is an irritant to human skin (it causes blisters similar to those of poison ivy, Toxcicodendron radicans, which is in the same genus) but is used as a lubricant and insecticide; and acajou gum, from the plant’s stem, which can be used as a substitute for gum arabic or in similar applications, such as varnish.



Total 2010 world production of cashew nuts was 3.6 million tons, harvested from 4.4 million hectares. India was long the leading producer of cashew nuts. However, Nigeria was the largest producer in 2001, and Vietnam’s production surpassed them both in 2002; Vietnam has been the leading producer since. Brazil is the leading producer of commercially sold cashew apples.

(Bailey et al. 1976, Encyclopedia Brittanica 1993, Morton 1987, van Wyk 2005)

  • Encyclopedia Brittanica. 1993. “Cashew.” Micropedia 2: 920. 15th ed.
  • Bailey, L.H., E.Z. Bailey, and the L.H. Bailey Hortatorium. 1976. Hortus Third: A concise dictionary of plants cultivated in the United States and Canada. New York: Macmillan.
  • Morton, J. F. 1987. Cashew Apple. Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL. pp. 239–240. Available online: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/cashew_apple.html.
  • van Wyk, B.-E. Food Plants of the World: An Illustrated Guide. Portland, OR: Timber Press. P. 57.
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Comprehensive Description

Description

Tree, rarely a shrub. Leaves spirally arranged, shortly petiolate, broadly oblong-obovate, up to 18 cm long, leathery shiny green above, paler below, reddish when young; midrib prominent below; lateral veins 9-17 pairs. Flowers in branched terminal heads, yellowish-white, tinged pale reddish. Fruit kidney-shaped, greenish yellow, hanging from a very thickened, fleshy pedicel.
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Derivation of specific name

occidentale: occidental, western
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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Plains, Cultivated , Native of Tropical America"
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Brief

Flowering class: Dicot Habit: Tree Distribution notes: Exotic
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Distribution

Worldwide distribution

Tropical America; cultivated throughout the tropics
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"Native of tropical America, widely cultivated in the tropics."
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"Maharashtra: Kolhapur, Nasik, Pune, Raigad, Ratnagiri, satara, Sindhudurg, Thane Karnataka: Chikmagalur, Coorg, Dharwar, Hassan, Mysore, N. Kanara, Shimoga, S. Kanara Kerala: All districts Tamil Nadu: All districts"
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"
Global Distribution

Native of South America; now widely cultivated in Asia and Africa

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: All Districts

"
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Physical Description

Morphology

"
Flower

In terminal, bracteate panicles; greenish with red stripes; fragrant. Flowering from March-April.

Fruit

A reniform drupe, orange, seed 1. Fruiting April onwards.

Leaf Arrangement

Alternate -spiral

Leaf Type

Simple

Leaf Shape

Obovate

Leaf Apex

Obtuse

Leaf Base

Cuneate-rounded

Leaf Margin

Entire

"
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Description

Trees or shrubs, 4-10 m tall; branchlets glabrous to subglabrous. Petiole 1-1.5 cm; leaf blade obovate, 8-11 × 6-8.5 cm, leathery, glabrous on both sides, base broadly cuneate, margin entire, apex rounded, truncate to retuse, lateral veins ca. 12 pairs, reticulate venation pattern prominent on both sides. Inflorescence paniculate, 10-20 cm, glabrous to densely grayish sericeous; floral subtending bracts ovate-lanceolate, 5-10 mm, keeled, grayish sericeous abaxially, glabrous adaxially. Flower sessile to shortly pedicellate. Calyx grayish sericeous abaxially, ca. 4 × 1.5 mm. Petals 5, greenish yellow to red, linear-lanceolate, 7-9 × ca. 1.2 mm, grayish sericeous abaxially, minutely pubescent to subglabrous adaxially. Stamens 7-10, larger one 8-9 mm in male flowers, 5-6 mm in bisexual flowers, sterile stamens 3-4 mm. Ovary ca. 2 mm, glabrous; style 4-5 mm. Fleshy hypocarp 3-7 × 4-5 cm, purplish red at maturity; drupe reniform, 2-2.5 × ca. 1.5 cm. Fl. Mar-Apr, fr. Jul-Aug.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Habit: A small tree with spreading branchlets, upto 8m."
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Diagnostic

"Gregarious evergreen trees, to 15 m high, bark pale grey to brown, smooth with vertical striations; blaze dull pink; exudation sticky, red; branchlets glabrous. Leaves simple, alternate, somewhat crowded on twig apices, estipulate; petiole 7-15 mm, stout, swollen at base, glabrous; lamina 6-15.5 x 3-8 cm, obovate; base acute or cuneate, round, apex obtuse, round or retuse, margin entire, glabrous, shiny above, coriaceous; lateral nerves 10-15 pairs, parallel, prominent; intercostae reticulate, prominent; glands axillary on main nerves and its branches. Flowers polygamous, yellow, streaked with pink, in terminal prominently bracteate panicles; calyx 5-partite, lanceolate, imbricate, deciduous, with some pubescence on outside; petals 5, linear-lanceolate, ligulate, recurved, imbricate; disc filling the base of the calyx, erect; stamens 8-10, one usually longer than others; filaments connate at the base and adnate to the disc, glandular puberulus; ovary superior, obovoid or obcordate, 1-celled, ovule 1, ascending from a lateral funicle; style filiform, excentric; stigma minute. Fruit a reniform nut, 2-3 cm, grey, seated on a large pyriform fleshy body formed of enlarged disc and top of the pedicel; pericarp gives acrid caustic oil; seed reniform, ascending."
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Diagnostic

Habit: Medium tree
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Ecology

Habitat

General Habitat

Cultivated
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Habitat & Distribution

Cultivated. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Taiwan, Yunnan [native to tropical America].
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: November-April
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Chemistry

Essential oil contains anacardic acid and cardol (a phenol); essential oil from leaf is a depressant of the central nervous system. Bark contains anti-inflammatory tannins.

  • Abraham, E.A.V. 1912. Materia Medica Guian. Britt. Timehri, ser. 3, 2: 179-196.
  • Devez, G. 1932. Les Plantes Utiles et les Bois Industriels de la Guyane. 90 pp. Paris: Societe d'Editions Geographiques, Maritimes et Coloniales.
  • Duke, J.A. 1989. CRC Handbook of Nuts. 343 pp. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
  • Garg, S.C. and H.L. Kasera. 1984. Neuropharmacological studies of the essential oil of Anacardium occidentale. Fitoterapia 4: 131-134.
  • Grenand, P., Moretti, C. and H. Jacquemin. 1987. Pharmacopées Traditionnelles en Guyane: Créoles, Palikur, Wayapi. 569 pp. Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.
  • Heckel, E. 1897. Les Plantes Médicinales et Toxiques de la Guyane Francaise. 93 pp. Macon, France: Protat Freres.
  • Heyde, H. 1987. Surinaamse Medicijnplanten. Ed. 2. 112 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Westfort. (Followed by: Heyde, H. 1990. Medecijn Planten in Suriname (Den Dresi Wiwiri foe Sranan). 157 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Stichting Gezondheidsplanten Informatie).
  • Lachman-White, D.A., Adams, C.D. and U.O. Trotz. 1987. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. 350 pp. London: Commonwealth Science Council.
  • May, A.F. 1982. Surinaams Kruidenboek (Sranan Oso Dresi). 80 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Vaco; and Zutphen, The Netherlands: De Walburg Pers.
  • Mota, M.L.R., Thomas, G. and J.M. Barbosa Filho. Anti-inflammatory action of tannins isolated from the bark of Anacardium occidentale L. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 13(3): 289-300.
  • Nannenga, E.T. 1934. Anacardiaceae, pp. 132-145. In: Pulle, A., ed., Flora of Surinam. Vol. 2, Part 1. Amsterdam: J.H. De Bussy.
  • Plotkin, M.J. 1986. Ethnobotany and Conservation of the Tropical Forest with Special Reference to the Indians of Southern Suriname. 402 pp. Ph.D. Dissertation. Tufts University.
  • Roth, W.E. 1922-1923. Richard Schomburgk's Travels in British Guiana 1840-1844. 2 vols. Georgetown, Guyana: Daily Chronicle.
  • Schultes, R.E. and R.F. Raffauf. 1990. The Healing Forest: Medicinal and Toxic Plants of the Northwest Amazonia. 484 pp. Portland, Oregon: Dioscorides Press.
  • Tiwari, S. 1999. Ethnomedicine of the Patamona Indians of Guyana. 560 pp. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bronx, New York: City University of New York (Lehman College).
  • van Andel, T. R. 2000. Non-timber Forest Products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part I: 326 pp., Part II: A Field Guide, 358 pp. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8B. Georgetown, Guyana: Tropenbos-Guyana Programme.

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Barcode data: Anacardium occidentale

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Anacardium occidentale

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Bark: Bark is scraped, soaked overnight in water, or boiled, and drunk as an antidiarrheal, by the Guyana Patamona. Bark is boiled with water and drunk as a medication for influenza, by the Guyana Patamona. Juice from macerated inner bark is used as an anti-fungal agent or for treating sores, by the Guyana Patamona. Bark and Leaf: Juice from macerated bark and leaves is used for dermatoses, by the Guyana Patamona. Stem: Mixed with the barks of Coccoloba uvifera, Mangifera indica and Cocos nucifera for curing dysentery. Bark decoction for diarrhoea, infant's thrush, and sores; bark infusion used for a mouthwash to treat oral ulcers, and drunk for treating sore throat, diarrhoea and dysentery; bark-latex is applied to mouth sores; bark decoction used as a contraceptive during menstruation. Bark used in a tea which is drunk for an emetic while remedying chest colds. Used for diarrhoea and thrush in NW Guyana. Leaf: Intoxicant; in Guyana it is said that a few leaves crushed and rubbed around the rim of a glass of alcoholic spirits will serve to greatly accelerate the desired state of inebriation. For lotions, astringent gargles, grippe. Leaves are boiled, and the water drunk as an anti-pyretic or as a treatment for aches and pains, by the Guyana Patamona. Used for diarrhoea in NW Guyana. Seed: Seed is ground into a powder, and used as a poultice for treating snakebite (anti-venom), by the Guyana Patamona. Fruit: Juice employed as a larvicide, wart remover, to cauterize cuts; astringent taste, for sore throat. Bruised fruit makes a refreshing drink used to cool the blood of feverish persons. Immature fruit is macerated and used as an antiseptic for baby’s sore mouth or applied to rashes for healing, by the Guyana Patamona. Oil from the nut is used as an anti-fungal agent or applied to cracked heels for healing, by the Guyana Patamona. Used for diarrhoea in NW Guyana.

  • Abraham, E.A.V. 1912. Materia Medica Guian. Britt. Timehri, ser. 3, 2: 179-196.
  • Devez, G. 1932. Les Plantes Utiles et les Bois Industriels de la Guyane. 90 pp. Paris: Societe d'Editions Geographiques, Maritimes et Coloniales.
  • Duke, J.A. 1989. CRC Handbook of Nuts. 343 pp. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
  • Grenand, P., Moretti, C. and H. Jacquemin. 1987. Pharmacopées Traditionnelles en Guyane: Créoles, Palikur, Wayapi. 569 pp. Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.
  • Heckel, E. 1897. Les Plantes Médicinales et Toxiques de la Guyane Francaise. 93 pp. Macon, France: Protat Freres.
  • Heyde, H. 1987. Surinaamse Medicijnplanten. Ed. 2. 112 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Westfort. (Followed by: Heyde, H. 1990. Medecijn Planten in Suriname (Den Dresi Wiwiri foe Sranan). 157 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Stichting Gezondheidsplanten Informatie).
  • Lachman-White, D.A., Adams, C.D. and U.O. Trotz. 1987. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. 350 pp. London: Commonwealth Science Council.
  • May, A.F. 1982. Surinaams Kruidenboek (Sranan Oso Dresi). 80 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Vaco; and Zutphen, The Netherlands: De Walburg Pers.
  • Nannenga, E.T. 1934. Anacardiaceae, pp. 132-145. In: Pulle, A., ed., Flora of Surinam. Vol. 2, Part 1. Amsterdam: J.H. De Bussy.
  • Plotkin, M.J. 1986. Ethnobotany and Conservation of the Tropical Forest with Special Reference to the Indians of Southern Suriname. 402 pp. Ph.D. Dissertation. Tufts University.
  • Roth, W.E. 1922-1923. Richard Schomburgk's Travels in British Guiana 1840-1844. 2 vols. Georgetown, Guyana: Daily Chronicle.
  • Tiwari, S. 1999. Ethnomedicine of the Patamona Indians of Guyana. 560 pp. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bronx, New York: City University of New York (Lehman College).
  • van Andel, T. R. 2000. Non-timber Forest Products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part I: 326 pp., Part II: A Field Guide, 358 pp. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8B. Georgetown, Guyana: Tropenbos-Guyana Programme.

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Uses

"

The nuts are roasted and kernels eaten. The peduncle is also eaten. The juice is made into a beverage (Brazil cajuado) or fermented into a wine. The fruit, bark juice and the nut oil are both said to be folk remedies for calluses, corns, and warts, cancer

"
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Folklore

Pericarp and nut edible.

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Uses

Medicinal
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Ethnobotanical Uses

The cashew tree Anacardium occidentale can provide many traditional and industrial byproducts. In terms of culinary uses, cashews appear in the cuisine of many countries and are featured prominently in the cusine of Thailand, China, India, Malaysia, Brazil, Panama and Indonesia. They have also become popular as snacks and appetizers in Western Societies and also appear as ingredients in Western confections (Nair et. al. 1979).

Cashew trees produce: cashew nuts, kernels, cashew apples, edible oil from the nuts (not usually extracted because of the high price the nuts themselves fetch), indelible ink deived form the bark and, yellow dye extracted from leaves (Nair et. al. 1979). Tannins extracted from the testa (seed coat) are used in the leather industry, and gum from the bark is used for bookbinding, while sap its is used for wood preservative (Asogawa et. al. 2007). Senegalese fishermen use the the extract from it's leaves to dye their fishnets yellow (Asogawa et. al. 2007).

Recent studies have found that although the cashew apple is often not valued as highly as the nut by cultivators it has the potential to gross significantly more than it costs to gross because clarified cashew apple juice can be used to grow Leuconostoc mesenteroids which can be used to produce high added value products such as dextran, lactic acid, mannitol and oligosaccharides (Horato, Rabelo and Gonclaves 2007).

Another byproduct that has proven to be useful in industrial manufacturing is cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL). It is composed of anacardic acid, cardarol, and cardol (EPA 2009). While it does not seriously effect rates, it is an acute hazard to fish, aquatic invertebrates, and aquatic plants based on toxicity estimates for cardol at .001 mg/L, .004mg/L, and .010mg/L respectively (EPA 2009). CNSL is an intermediate used in the manufacturing of other basic organic chemicals which are found in automotive car products, antioxidants, rubber compounds, and is a modifier for plastics (EPA 2009).

CNSL is used in wood and fabric preservatives, paints, plastics, printing ink, germicides, insecticides, waterproofing compounds, synthetic resins, dyes, anti-fade agents in brake lining and clutch facing (Asogawa et. al. 2007)

As an insecticide or pest repellant, CNSL has been shown to be effective against Aedes aegypti larvae and Biomphalaria glabrata snails (Laurens et. al. 1998). Cashew nut shells are also highly toxic to Callosobruchus subinnotatus , a pest of the bambarra-groundnut crop, however they also stunt the seed development bambarra-groundnuts (Oparaeke and Bunmi 2006). CNSL is also a very effective termite killer, killing 100% of soldiers and worker termites exposed to it by the 90th minute, which means it is of comparable effectiveness to currently marketed products (Asogawa et. al. 2007). It has been posited that wood treatment products to ward off termite attack created from CNSL are more environmentally friendly than other alternatives (Mwalongo et. al. 1999).

Medicinally, cashew nutshell oil (CNO) has proven to be effective at killing off the human intestinal worm ancylostomiasis and has additionally been observed to be highly effective against Trichuris and Ascaris, though the asserting study only observed three cases of each (Eichbaum, Koch-Wesser and Leoo 1950). In Brazil it has traditionally been used to treat ulcers, hypertension and diarrhea (Konan et. al. 2007). A study investigating whether such application may be potentially harmful tested for acute toxicity, 30-day subacute toxicity and genotoxicity in rats and found that rats showed no symptoms from exposure to crude extract but did exhibit induced frame-shift base pair substitution and damage to chromosomes (Konan et. al. 2007).

  • Asogwa, E.U., /mokwunge, I. U., Yahaya, L.E. & Ajao, A.A. (2007) Evalutation of Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) as a Potential Natural Insecticide Against Termites (Soldiers and Worker Castes). Research Journal of Applied Sciences. Vol. 2, No. 9, 939-42.
  • Eichbaum, F.W., Koch-Wesser, D. & Leoo, A.T. (1950) Activity of cashew (anacardium occidentale) nutschell oil in human ancylostomiasis. American Journal of Digestive Diseases. vol 17. No. 11, 370-7.
  • Honorato, Talita Lopez, Rabelo, Maria Cristiane, Gonclaves, Luciana Rocha Barros. (2007) Fermentation of cashew apple juice to produce high added value products. World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology. vol 23, No. 10, 1409-15.
  • Konan, Nzi Andre, Bacchi, Elfriede Marrianne, et. al. (2007) Acute, subacute toxicity and genotoxicity effect of hydroethanolic extract of the Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.). Journal of Ethnopharmacology. vol. 110, Issue 1. 30-38.
  • Laurens, Alain, Frourneau, Christophe, Hocquemiller, Reynald, et. al. (1997) Antivectorial Activities of Cashew Nut Shell Extracts from Anacardium occidentale L. Phytotherpy Research. vol. 11, issue. 2, 145-146.
  • Mwalongo, Gerold C.J., Mkayula, Lupituko L., Mukofu, Egid B. & Mwingira, Bonaventura A. (1999) Preventing termite attack. Environmentally friendly chemical combinations of cashew nut shell liquid, sulfated wattle tannin and copper (II) chloride. Green Chemistry. issue 1, 13-16.
  • Nair, MK, Bhaskara Rao, EVV, Nambiar KKN, Nambiar MC. (1979) Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) Monograph on Plantation Crops.
  • Oparaeka, A.M. & Bunmi, O.J.(2006) Insecticidal potential of cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) for control of the beetle, Callosobruchus sobinnotatus (Pic.)(Bruchidae) on bambarra-groundnut (Voandzeia subterranea L.) Verde. Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection. vol. 39, issue 4.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2009) Screening-Level Hazard Characterization: Cashew, Nutshell Liquid (CASRN 8007-24-7). Hazard Characterization Document.
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Wikipedia

Cashew

The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is a tropical evergreen that produces the cashew nut and the cashew apple. It can grow as high as 14 metres (46 ft), but the dwarf cashew, growing up to 6 metres (20 ft), has proved more profitable, with earlier maturity and higher yields.

The cashew nut is served as a snack or used in recipes, like other nuts, although it is actually a seed. The cashew apple is a fruit, whose pulp can be processed into a sweet, astringent fruit drink or distilled into liqueur.

The shell of the cashew nut yields derivatives that can be used in many applications from lubricants to paints, and other parts of the tree have traditionally been used for snake-bites and other folk remedies.

Originally native to northeastern Brazil, the tree is now widely grown in tropical regions, India and Nigeria being major producers,[1] in addition to Vietnam, the Ivory Coast, and Indonesia.

Etymology[edit]

Its English name derives from the Portuguese for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju (Portuguese pronunciation: [kɐˈʒu]), which itself is derived from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. The name Anacardium, originally from the Greek, actually refers to the nut, core or heart of the fruit, which is outwardly located (ana means "upwards" and -cardium means "heart"). In the Tupian languages, acajú means "nut that produces itself."[2]

Habitat and growth[edit]

'Anacardium occidentale', from Koehler's 'Medicinal-Plants' (1887)
Cashew tree

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 is 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.[3] 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. In Latin America, a fruit drink is made from the cashew apple pulp which has a very refreshing taste and tropical flavor that can be described as having notes of mango, raw green pepper, and just a little hint of grapefruit-like citrus.

The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the cashew apple. The drupe develops first on the tree, and then the pedicel expands to become the cashew apple. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the nut of the cashew is a seed. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic resin, anacardic acid, a potent skin irritant chemically related to the better-known allergenic oil urushiol which is also a toxin found in the related poison ivy. Properly roasting cashews destroys the toxin, but it must be done outdoors as the smoke (not unlike that from burning poison ivy) contains urushiol droplets which can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening, reactions by irritating the lungs. People who are allergic to cashew urushiols may also react to mango or pistachio which are also in the Anacardiaceae family. Some people are allergic to cashew nuts, but cashews are a less frequent allergen than other nuts or peanuts.[4]

Dispersal[edit]

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.[5]

Cashew nut[edit]

Cashew nuts, salted

Cashew nuts are a popular snack and food source. Cashews, unlike other oily tree nuts, contain starch to about 10% of their weight. This makes them more effective than other nuts in thickening water-based dishes such as soups, meat stews, and some Indian milk-based desserts. Many southeast Asian cuisines use cashews for this unusual characteristic, rather than other nuts.[6]

The shell of the cashew nut is toxic, which is why the shell is removed before it is sold to consumers.[7]

Cashew nuts are commonly used in Indian cuisine, whole for garnishing sweets or curries, or ground into a paste that forms a base of sauces for curries (e.g., korma), or some sweets (e.g., kaju barfi). It is also used in powdered form in the preparation of several Indian sweets and desserts. In Goan cuisine, both roasted and raw kernels are used whole for making curries and sweets.

Cashew sprouts (above) are eaten raw as well as cooked in Kerala. Cashew nuts germinate within days after falling; these are generally collected from the ground after harvesters finish; or if the rains arrive before harvesting is complete.

The cashew nut can also be harvested in its tender form, when the shell has not hardened and is green in color. The shell is soft and can be cut with a knife and the kernel extracted, but it is still corrosive at this stage, so gloves are required. The kernel can be soaked in turmeric water to get rid of the corrosive material before use. Cashew nuts are also used in Thai and Chinese cuisine, generally in whole form.

In the Philippines, cashew is a known product of Antipolo, and is eaten with suman. Pampanga also has a sweet dessert called turrones de casuy, which is cashew marzipan wrapped in white wafers.

In Indonesia, roasted and salted cashew nut is called kacang mete or kacang mede, while the cashew apple is called jambu monyet (literally means monkey rose apple).

In Mozambique, bolo polana is a cake prepared using powdered cashews and mashed potatoes as the main ingredients. This dessert is popular in South Africa, too.[8]

South American countries have developed their own specialities. In Brazil, the cashew fruit juice is popular all across the country. In Panama, the cashew fruit is cooked with water and sugar for a prolonged time to make a sweet, brown, paste-like dessert called dulce de marañón. Marañón is one of the Spanish names for cashew.

Production[edit]

Top Ten Cashew Nuts (with shell) Producers in 2010
CountryProduction
MT (metric tons)
Yield
(MT/hectares)
 Nigeria650,0001.97
 India613,0000.66
 Côte d'Ivoire380,0000.44
 Vietnam289,8420.85
 Indonesia145,0820.25
 Philippines134,6814.79
 Brazil104,3420.14
 Guinea-Bissau91,1000.38
 Tanzania80,0001.0
 Benin69,7000.29
World Total2,757,5980.58
Source: Food & Agriculture Organization[9]
Cashew nuts being processed in eastern Indonesia, ranked fifth in the world for cashew production.

Nigeria was the world's largest producer of cashew nuts with shell in 2010. Cashew nut production trends have varied over the decades. African countries used to be the major producers before the 1980s; India became the largest producer in the 1990s, followed by Vietnam which became the largest producer in the mid-2000s. Since 2008, Nigeria has become the largest producer.[9] Cashew nuts are produced in tropical countries because the tree is very frost sensitive; they have been adapted to various climatic regions around the world between the latitudes of 25°N and 25°S.[10][11]

Peru reported the world's highest production yields for cashew nuts in 2010, at 5.27 metric tons per hectare, nearly nine times the world average.[9] The traditional cashew tree is tall (up to 14 m) and takes three years from planting before it starts production, and eight years before economic harvests can begin. More recent breeds, such as the dwarf cashew trees, are up to 6 m tall, and start producing after the first year, with economic yields after three years. The cashew nut yields for the traditional tree are about 0.25 metric tons per hectare, in contrast to over a ton per hectare for the dwarf variety. Grafting and other modern tree management technologies are used to further improve and sustain cashew nut yields in commercial orchards.[5]

Fluctuations in world market prices for cashew nuts have been a source of discontent for communities in Tanzania which grow the nut as a cash crop; reduced payments in April 2013 sparked serious rioting in Liwale District in the south of the country.[12]

Nutrition[edit]

The fats and oils in cashew nuts are 62% monounsaturated fat, 18% polyunsaturated fat, and 21% saturated fat [13] (9% palmitic acid (16:0) and 7% stearic acid (18:0))[citation needed].

Cashews, as with other tree nuts, are a good source of antioxidants. Alkyl phenols, in particular, are abundant in cashews.[14][15] Cashews are also a source of dietary trace minerals copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.[16]

Allergy[edit]

For some people, cashews, like other tree nuts, can lead to complications or allergic reactions. Cashews contain gastric and intestinal soluble oxalates, albeit less than some other tree nuts; people with a tendency to form kidney stones may need moderation and medical guidance.[17] Allergies to tree nuts such as cashews can be of severe nature to some people. These allergic reactions can be life-threatening or even fatal; prompt medical attention is necessary if tree nut allergy reaction is observed. These allergies are triggered by the proteins found in tree nuts, and cooking often does not remove or change these proteins. Reactions to cashew and other tree nuts can also occur as a consequence of hidden nut ingredients or traces of nuts that may inadvertently be introduced during food processing, handling or manufacturing. Many nations require food label warning if the food may get inadvertent exposure to tree nuts such as cashews.[18][19]

In some people, cashew nut allergy may be a different form, namely birch pollen allergy. This is usually a minor form. Symptoms are confined largely to the mouth.

Cashew oil[edit]

Cashew oil is a dark yellow oil for cooking or salad dressing pressed from cashew nuts (typically broken chunks created during processing). This may be produced from a single cold pressing.[20]

Cashew shell oil[edit]

See also: Urushiol

Cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL) or cashew shell oil (CAS registry number 8007-24-7) is a natural resin found in the honeycomb structure of the cashew nutshell and is a byproduct of processing cashew nuts. It is a raw material of multiple uses in developing drugs, antioxidants, fungicides, etc. It is used in tropical folk medicine and for anti-termite treatment of timber.[21] Its composition varies depending on how it is processed.

Flower of cashew nut tree
  • Heating CNSL decarboxylates the anacardic acids, producing a technical grade of CNSL that is rich in cardanol. Distillation of this material gives distilled, technical CNSL containing 78% cardanol and 8% cardol (cardol has one more hydroxyl group than cardanol).[23] This process also reduces the degree of thermal polymerization of the unsaturated alkyl-phenols present in cashew shell nut liquid.
  • Anacardic acid is also used in the chemical industry for the production of cardanol, which is used for resins, coatings, and frictional materials.[22][23]

These substances are skin allergens, like the oils of the poison ivy, and present danger during manual cashew processing.[21]

This natural oil phenol has been found to have interesting chemical structural features which enable a range of chemical modifications to create a wide spectrum of bio-based monomers capitalizing on the chemically versatile construct, containing three different functional groups, the aromatic ring, the hydroxyl group and the double bonds in the flanking alkyl chain. These can be split into key groups, used as polyols, which have recently seen a dramatic increase in demand for their bio-based origin and key chemical attributes such as high reactivity, range of functionalities, reduction in blowing agents and naturally occurring fire retardant properties in the field of ridged polyurethanes aided by their inherent phenolic structure and larger number of reactive units per unit mass.

CNSL based Novolac is another versatile industrial monomer deriving from cardanol typically used as a reticulating agent for epoxy matrices in composite applications providing good thermal and mechanical properties to the final composite material.

Further examples of applications which are cashew shell nut liquid derived materials are being evaluated, are in the fields of chemical intermediates, additives, stabilizers, lubricants, diesel engine fuel alternatives, poor point dispersants, anti-oxidants, and anticorrosive paints.

Abrasives and friction dusts have also been developed from Residol, the residue byproduct of this synthesis process.[24]

Other uses of cashew shell oil have been explored, including as an additive to brake fluid, to reduce brake fade and brake lining wear.[25]

Composite Technical Services (Kettering, Ohio, USA) has researched the use of cashew shell oil as a resin for carbon composite products.[26]

Cashew apple[edit]

Cashew apple with nut
Cashew apples for sale near Sangareddy, Andhra Pradesh, India

The cashew apple, also called cashew fruit, is the fleshy part of the cashew fruit that is attached to the cashew nut. The top end of the cashew apple is attached to the stem that comes off the tree. The bottom end of the cashew apple attaches to the cashew nut, which is encased in a shell. In botanical terms, the cashew apple is an accessory fruit that grows on the cashew seed (which is the nut).

The cashew apple is a soft fruit, rich in nutrients, and contains five times more vitamin C than an orange. It is eaten fresh, cooked in curries, or fermented into vinegar, as well as an alcoholic drink. It is also used to make preserves, chutneys, and jams in some countries such as India and Brazil. In many countries, particularly in South America, the cashew apple is used to flavor drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic. In Brazil, it is a popular fruit flavor for the national drink, the caipirinha.

In much of Brazil, people regard the cashew apple as the delicacy, rather than the nut kernel which is popular elsewhere. In fact, in parts of Brazil and neighbour countries, the cashew apple is more popular as a food than is the cashew nut. A large reason for this is simply the availability of cashew apples. They tend to be popular where they are readily available.[citation needed]

Cashew nuts are more popular than cashew apples in many parts of the world—regions that do not grow cashews—because the fruit, unlike the nut, is difficult to transport to these places. Unlike cashew nuts, cashew apples are extremely soft and easily bruised in shipment. For this reason, cashew juice and cashew juice concentrate are often shipped to these nonlocal countries instead of the fresh fruit.

Cashew apples have a sweet but astringent taste. This astringency has been traced to the waxy layer on the skin that contains a chemical, urushiol, which can cause minor skin irritation to areas that have had contact with it. It is almost identical to the astringency caused by the skin of a mango, which also contains urushiol. The astringency from mango skin can be mildly tasted in the flesh of mango fruit, just as the astringency of cashew apple skin can be mildly tasted in the flesh of cashew apples. In cultures that consume cashew apples, this astringency is sometimes removed by steaming the fruit for five minutes before washing it in cold water; alternatively, boiling the fruit in salt water for five minutes or soaking it in gelatin solution also reduces the astringency.[6][27] When mixed in drinks or used as a flavoring, the astringency becomes highly diluted and typically causes no irritation to those without urushiol allergies.

Alcohol[edit]

Young cashew nuts

In Goa, the cashew apple (the accessory fruit) is mashed, the juice is extracted and kept for fermentation for a few days. Fermented juice then undergoes a double distillation process. The resulting beverage is called feni or fenny. Feni is about 40-42% alcohol. The single-distilled version is called urrac, which is about 15% alcohol.

In the southern region of Mtwara, Tanzania, the cashew apple (bibo in Swahili) is dried and saved. Later it is reconstituted with water and fermented, then distilled to make a strong liquor often referred to by the generic name, gongo.

In Mozambique, cashew farmers commonly make a strong liquor from the cashew apple, agua ardente (burning water).

According to An Account of the Island of Ceylon by Robert Percival[28] an alcohol had been distilled in the early 20th century from the juice of the fruit, and had been manufactured in the West Indies. Apparently, the Dutch considered it superior to brandy as a liqueur.

Medicinal uses[edit]

Many parts of the plant are used in the traditional medicine of the Patamona of Guyana. They grind the seeds into a poultice for treating snakebites, apply nut oil to cracked heels or as an antifungal agent, and use the fruits, bark, and leaves for many other purposes including anti-fungal activity, for sores and rashes, or as an antipyretic, and for antidiarrheal applications.[29][30] The leaf extracts with petroleum ether and ethanol inhibited growth of several species of bacteria and fungi.[30] Chemicals identified in cashew shell oil have been assayed against Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium responsible for many dental cavities, and found to have activity in vitro against this and other Gram positive bacteria.[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ranking of Countries by Commodity". Fao.org. 2011. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  2. ^ "Caju, identidade tropical que exala saúde — Embrapa". Embrapa.br. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  3. ^ Varghese, T.; Pundir, Y. (1964). Anatomy of the pseudocarp in Anacardium occidentale L. Proceedings: Plant Sciences. 59(5): 252-258.
  4. ^ Rosen, T.; Fordice, D. B. (April 1994). "Cashew Nut Dermatitis". Southern Medical Journal 87 (4): 543–546. doi:10.1097/00007611-199404000-00026. PMID 8153790. Retrieved 2011-01-13. 
  5. ^ a b "Cajucultura historia (in Portuguese)". Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Harold McGee (2004). On food and cooking (See Nuts and Other Oil-rich Seeds chapter). Scribner. ISBN 978-0-684-80001-1. 
  7. ^ "Glossary C-G". www.joyofbaking.com. iFood Media LLC. Archived from the original on 2014-03-27. 
  8. ^ Phillippa Cheifitz (2009). South Africa Eats. 
  9. ^ a b c "Major Food And Agricultural Commodities And Producers - Countries By Commodity". Fao.org. 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  10. ^ Cultivating cashew nuts - South African government
  11. ^ Growing Cashews - Queensland, Australia government checklist
  12. ^ "Tanzania riots over cashew nut payments". BBC. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Basic Report: 12085, Nuts, cashew nuts, dry roasted, without salt added". Agricultural Research Service - United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on 2014-06-18. Retrieved June 2014. 
  14. ^ Rune Blomhoff, Monica H. Carlsen, Lene Frost Andersen and David R. Jacobs (November 2006). "Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants". British Journal of Nutrition 96 (S2): S52 –­ S60. doi:10.1017/BJN20061864. 
  15. ^ "Cashews". George Mateljan Foundation. 2008. 
  16. ^ WH Foods. "Cashews". George Mateljan Foundation. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Rittera et al. (May 2007). "Soluble and insoluble oxalate content of nuts". Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 20 (3–4): 169–174. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2006.12.001. 
  18. ^ "Cashew Allergies". Informall Database – funded by European Union. 2010. 
  19. ^ "Food Allergies - INFOSAN". World Health Organization. 2006. 
  20. ^ "Cashew Oil". Smart Kitchen. 
  21. ^ a b "World Agriculture and the Environment", by Jason W. Clay, p.268
  22. ^ a b Alexander H. Tullo (September 8, 2008). "A Nutty Chemical". Chemical and Engineering News 86 (36): 26–27. doi:10.1021/cen-v086n033.p026. 
  23. ^ a b c "Exposure and Use Data for Cashew Nut Shell Liquid". United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  24. ^ Novel highly reactive and versatile monomers from Cardanol a natural renewable resource by Nicholas Cronin and Pietro Campaner
  25. ^ Daniel J. McConville (October 29, 1997). "Cardolite saga in a nutshell". Chemical Week. 
  26. ^ Ferri, Enrico (22 May 2011). "Bioresins Derived from Cashew Nutshell Oil". Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  27. ^ Azam-Ali and Judge (2004). Small-scale cashew nut processing. FAO, United Nations. 
  28. ^ "Ceylon; a general description of the island, historical, physical, statistical. Containing the most recent information". 
  29. ^ DeFilipps R.A., Maina S.L., Crepin J. (surmised) (2007 (surmised)). "Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana)". Smithsonian Institution.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  30. ^ a b Akash P. Dahake, Vishal D. Joshi, Arun B. Joshi (2009). "Antimicrobial screening of different extract of Anacardium occidentale Linn. Leaves". International Journal of ChemTech Research 1 (4): 856–858. 
  31. ^ Masaki Himejima, Isao Kubo (February 1991). "Cashew oil may conquer cavities". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 39 (2): 418–421. doi:10.1021/jf00002a039. 

Further reading[edit]

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Notes

Comments

The edible seeds are referred to as cashew nuts. They are surrounded by a leathery shell (mesocarp), which is rich in liquid. This substance is an important raw material for resin. The liquid contains skin-irritant toxic compounds, which are removed by heating. The fleshy hypocarp, or cashew apple, is processed into jam and dried fruit.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Common Names

French: anacardier, noix d'acajou, noix de cajou. FG Creole: acajou a pommes, cajou, pomme-cajou, pommier-cajou. Guyana: cashew, cashew nut, merche, merehi. Surinam: boschkasjoe, kasjoe, kasjoen, kasyu. Surinam Arawak: merehe, mereke. Surinam Carib: olvi, oroi, orvi. Surinam Malayan: djamboe monjet. Surinam Saramaccan: kadjoe, sabana kadjoe. Surinam Tirio and Wayana: o-roy. Guyana Patamona: youw-rouii-yik, wak-roik-yik, a-roik-yik, you-ro-yik.

  • Abraham, E.A.V. 1912. Materia Medica Guian. Britt. Timehri, ser. 3, 2: 179-196.
  • Devez, G. 1932. Les Plantes Utiles et les Bois Industriels de la Guyane. 90 pp. Paris: Societe d'Editions Geographiques, Maritimes et Coloniales.
  • Duke, J.A. 1989. CRC Handbook of Nuts. 343 pp. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
  • Grenand, P., Moretti, C. and H. Jacquemin. 1987. Pharmacopées Traditionnelles en Guyane: Créoles, Palikur, Wayapi. 569 pp. Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.
  • Heckel, E. 1897. Les Plantes Médicinales et Toxiques de la Guyane Francaise. 93 pp. Macon, France: Protat Freres.
  • Heyde, H. 1987. Surinaamse Medicijnplanten. Ed. 2. 112 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Westfort. (Followed by: Heyde, H. 1990. Medecijn Planten in Suriname (Den Dresi Wiwiri foe Sranan). 157 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Stichting Gezondheidsplanten Informatie).
  • Lachman-White, D.A., Adams, C.D. and U.O. Trotz. 1987. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. 350 pp. London: Commonwealth Science Council.
  • May, A.F. 1982. Surinaams Kruidenboek (Sranan Oso Dresi). 80 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Vaco; and Zutphen, The Netherlands: De Walburg Pers.
  • Nannenga, E.T. 1934. Anacardiaceae, pp. 132-145. In: Pulle, A., ed., Flora of Surinam. Vol. 2, Part 1. Amsterdam: J.H. De Bussy.
  • Plotkin, M.J. 1986. Ethnobotany and Conservation of the Tropical Forest with Special Reference to the Indians of Southern Suriname. 402 pp. Ph.D. Dissertation. Tufts University.
  • Roth, W.E. 1922-1923. Richard Schomburgk's Travels in British Guiana 1840-1844. 2 vols. Georgetown, Guyana: Daily Chronicle.
  • Tiwari, S. 1999. Ethnomedicine of the Patamona Indians of Guyana. 560 pp. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bronx, New York: City University of New York (Lehman College).
  • van Andel, T. R. 2000. Non-timber Forest Products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part I: 326 pp., Part II: A Field Guide, 358 pp. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8B. Georgetown, Guyana: Tropenbos-Guyana Programme.

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