Anacardium. Anacardium occidentale L. West Indian Cashew-nut. Acajou a Pommes, Fr. Caschunuss, G.—A small and elegant tree of the Fam. Anacardiaceae, growing in the West Indies and other parts of tropical America. A gum exudes from the bark, which bears some resemblance to gum arabic, but is only in part soluble in water, and consists of true gum and bassorin. It is the gomme d'acajou of the French writers. Peckoldt describes cashew gum as occurring in hard, fragile pieces which are more or less transparent, yellowish-brown, and stalactite-shaped, and is as soluble in water as acacia. (Zeit. Oest. Apoth. Ver., 1893, 501.) The fruit is a fleshy, pear-shaped receptacle, supporting at its summit a hard, shining, ash-colored, kidney-shaped nut, an inch or more in length and three-quarters of an inch broad, consisting of a pericarp having large balsam canals and of a sweet oily kernel which is now an article of commerce, as a food sold either in the raw state or roasted and salted. The receptacle is red or yellow, and of agreeable subacid flavor with some astringency. It is edible, and affords a juice which has been recommended in uterine complaints and dropsy. This juice is converted by fermentation into a vinous liquor, which yields by distillation a spirit used in making punch, and said to be powerfully diuretic. The black juice contained between their outer and inner shell of the nuts is extremely acrid and corrosive, producing, when applied to the skin, severe inflammation, followed by blisters or desquamation. Staedeler found in it two peculiar principles—anacardic acid and a yellow, oleaginous liquid, cardol. (See J. P. C., 3e ser., xiii, 459.) The juice is used in the West Indies for the cure of corns, warts, ringworms, and obstinate ulcers, and even of elephantiasis. It is said to be sometimes applied to the face by women, in order to remove the cuticle, and produce a fresher and more youthful aspect. In a case of external poisoning which came under observation, in a lady who was exposed to the fumes of the roasting nuts, the face was so much swollen that for some time not a feature was discernible. (N. J. Med. Rep., 1855, 187.) In the case of a boy the tongue, face, neck, hands, forearms, scrotum, etc., were red and enormously swollen, and very painful. The tincture of iodine was found useful as a local application. The black juice of the nut and a milky juice which flows from the tree after incision are used for almost indelibly marking linen. The Oriental Cashew-nut or Anacardium Orientale is the fruit of Semecarpus Anacardium, L., a tree quite common in Southern Asia. It contains principles similar to the West Indian Cashew, and is also said to contain an alkaloid, chuchunine.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.