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Common name: Cashew
Botanical name: Anacardium occidentale
Family: Anacardiaceae
Origin: Native to the tropical Americas, but now grown in most tropical climates.


Applications: The nut is edible. Modified cashew nut oil has a number of industrial uses including an ingredient in ink, as an adhesive and in resin manufacturing.
Allergens: Cashew contains a brown oily juice, full of very potent allergens including cardanol, cardol and anacardic acid.
Allergy: There are two problems with cashews, allergy to cashew shell oil and allergy to the nut itself. Roasting the nut shell releases irritating fumes, but if roasting is complete, all allergens should be inactivated. The problem arises when children play with raw shells, if cashews are sold with inadequate shells, or if the roast is incomplete.
There are a number of reports of allergic contact. dermatitis Following ingestion of cashew butter, a cashew pesto, and cashews contaminated with cashew shell oil. Most reactions appear to have been just dermatitis (although most required treatment with high doses of oral steroids).
This is quite different from the immediate IgE-mediated anaphylaxis to the cashew. This life-threatening condition is due to a allergic reaction to a very small molecular weight component of the core itself. This seems to cross react with pistachios. Fortunately, allergies to cashews appear to be much less common than to other nuts.
Cross reactions: These crosses react to other members of the Anarcardaciae family, including poison ivy, Toxicodendron succedaneum (Rhus tree), and mango.
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