- Anacardium Occidentale
- L.Cashew (E); Maranon (S); Uaipinu (Cu); Merey (C) . The cashew, an excellent food source, is widely cultivated and naturalized in the savannahs of Panama. The swollen stalk of the cashew nut, termed the "apple", is more in demand among Latins than the nut. The antiscorbutic "apple" may be eaten raw, but the hull is astringent, and the nut must be avoided until after it has been roasted (!). Cashews belong to the poison oak family, and hypersensitive people might be wary of the whole cashew plant. The wood was responsible for the "swizzle-stick epidemic" in Georgia in 1958. When roasting the nut, one should carefully avoid the smoke, as it is very caustic. The nuts, once roasted, are very nutritious, having high fat, protein, and vitamin A content. Roasted nuts in Asia are mixed with palm sugar and coconut meat to form a sweetmeat. In Indonesia, the nuts are fried in coconut oil. In Africa, they are boiled in soups. The "apple" juice may be fermented to form alcoholic beverages or vinegars, or made into jelly. The young leaves are eaten raw with rice in Java and Malaya. Cuna Indians shave bark from this and Spondias to make a tea, sweetened to taste, for asthma, colds, and congestion. This is followed by drinking the juice from banana stems to restore strength and contain 4-5% protein. The bark of some species of Anacardium is used as a fish poison, and the flesh of the fish is not rendered toxic by the process. The juice exuding from incisions in the bark is used as an indelible ink. An acrid oil in the hull of the fruit has served as an anesthetic. The seed oil is believed to be amebicidal and alexeritic, and is used to treat gingivitis, malaria, and syphilitic ulcers. The fruit is reputedly antiscorbutic. The juice of the fruit is used to treat haemoptysis. The sap is said to be discutient, fungicidal, and repellent. A gargle of the leaf decoction is used for sore throat. Gum from the bark is said to be obnoxious to insects. Similar uses are reported for cardol. the oil has been used to kill mosquito larvae in Los Santos. A tea is made from the pinkish inner bark, effective in diabetes (!). In Cuba, resin used in cold treatments.
EthnoBotanical Dictionary. 2013.