Anacardium occidentale L. (= Acajuba occidentalis (L.) Gaertn.; Anacardium microcarpum Ducke)

DeFilipps, Robert A. & Krupnick, Gary A., 2018, The medicinal plants of Myanmar, PhytoKeys 102, pp. 1-341: 6

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Anacardium occidentale L. (= Acajuba occidentalis (L.) Gaertn.; Anacardium microcarpum Ducke)


Anacardium occidentale L. (= Acajuba occidentalis (L.) Gaertn.; Anacardium microcarpum Ducke) 


Myanmar: thiho-thayet, shitkale, mak-mong-sang-yip. English: cashew nut.


Tropical America. Probably originating in Brazil. Cultivated in Myanmar.


Bark: A restorative. Bark, Leaf, Fruit: Used as an anthelmintic, also for leucoderma and other skin diseases as well as for diabetes. Fruit: The kernel (nut) is a pain reliever.


Medicinal uses of this species in India are discussed in Jain and DeFilipps (1991). Indigenous medicinal uses of this species in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India) are described by Dagar and Singh (1999). Medicinal uses of this species in China are discussed by Duke and Ayensu (1985).

The cashew nut, a true fruit, is rich in lipids, glucosides, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin B. It further yields a fair amount of protein, mineral salts, iron and fiber. The oil is a laxative and acts powerfully against intestinal worms; it is also excellent for use to treat premature aging of the skin. The irritating oil obtained after soaking the nuts in water is viscous-brown and contains 90% anacardic acid and 10% cardol which exhibits potent antibacterial activity against Gram positive bacteria. It is also used to treat sores, warts, ringworm and psoriasis ( Beauvoir et al. 2001).

Used in cosmetics, the juice contains substances capable of capturing free radicals. It has value for hair conditioning due to its proteins and mucilage. Therefore it is an excellent scalp conditioner and tonic used for making lotions and scalp creams. The enlarged receptacle (cashew apple) with a waxy skin provides vitamins A, B, and C, a few amino acids, calcium and iron. It exhibits strong potential activity against Gram positive bacteria and somewhat less antifungal activity against molds. The juice made from the cashew apple cures influenza ( Beauvoir et al. 2001). "Ingestion of raw cashew nuts can cause eczematous dermatitis that is generalized but especially severe on the palms" of the hands ( Benezra et al. 1985).

The chemistry, pharmacology, history and medicinal uses of this species in Latin America are discussed in detail by Gupta (1995). The toxic properties, symptoms, treatment and beneficial uses of this plant, parts of which are poisonous, are discussed by Nellis (1997). Data on the propagation, seed treatment and agricultural management of this species are given by Katende et al. (1995).

The receptacle (pseudo-fruit) contains vitamin C; the main phenolic components of the oil from the shells are anacardic acid and cardol, which have antibacterial, molluscicidal and anthelminic properties; the inner bark has hypoglycemic action; tannins in the bark have anti-inflammatory properties; and, the essential oil of the leaves, which is comprised almost exclusively of alpha-pinene, acts as a depressant on the central nervous system ( Mors et al. 2000). Details of the active chemical compounds, effects, herbal usage and pharmacological literature of this plant are given in Fleming (2000). Traditional medicinal uses, chemical constituents and pharmacological activity of this species are discussed by Ross (2001).

The seed of Anacardium occidentale  contain anacardic acid which causes skin pustules or rashes, and also contains bilobol, which has antitumor activity ( Lan et al. 1998).


Nordal (1963), Perry (1980).