Cashews are actually not a true nut. They’re the seed of a drupe, or stone fruit, that grows from the cashew tree. Familiar drupes include peaches, cherries, and apricots. Other nuts that are actually drupe seeds include walnuts, and almonds. Indigenous to Brazil, cashews were exported first to India in the mid-1500s, after which they spread throughout Southeast Asia.
Cashews are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, as well as abundant amounts of thiamine (B1), vitamins B6 and K, as well as copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTES ━━━
The fundamental attributes include the food group, season, flavor/s, and nature.
Beneficial for the kidneys, nuts and seeds tend to be fairly strong tonics. They build resources, and add weight and strength. They are best eaten in small amounts, and are most beneficial for people who are generally weak or deficient.
The spleen-pancreas and stomach relate to the brief, often imperceptible pause believed to occur between the seasons. It reflects a respite from the ongoing process of transition, or change. It represents a return to home, to center, to safety and stability.
Sweet foods strengthen and tonify. They build resources. Depending on their other properties, sweet foods can strengthen the physical aspect of the body, or its energy reserves. The sweet flavor also generates fluids, and can be used to harmonize.
Warm foods are used to treat cold conditions. Due to their moderate action, they can be used for long periods without creating stagnation or other issues. But because of their mild nature, they must be used long-term to affect change.
ACTIONS & INDICATIONS ━━━
The actions, in bold, are the specific effects a particular food has on various parts of the body. Indications are the kinds of symptoms that food can help with.
Tonify the kidneys, strengthen bones.
Bones are related to the kidneys. By strengthening the kidneys, cashews are useful for low back pain, osteoporosis, infertility and other reproductive conditions, low sex drive, frequent urination, fatigue or dizziness.
Nourish yin and blood.
Cashews nourish blood and yin. Symptoms of blood deficiency include pale or sallow complexion, pale lips and fingernail beds, dry hair or skin, dizziness, poor memory, or insomnia. Yin deficiency symptoms are similar but more extreme, and often includes being extremely thin or weak.
Qi deficiency is marked by fatigue, lack of appetite or weak digestion, shortness of breath, fluttering or pounding sensations of the heart, frequent urination, or excessive sweating.
Promotes bowel movement.
The moistening aspect of cashews helps to relieve constipation.
USE & CAUTIONS ━━━
Cashews are sweet and warm. They’re most beneficial for those who tend toward deficiency. They nourish yin, blood, and qi, strengthen bones, and moisten the intestines to promote bowel movement.
Signs and symptoms of deficiency include frail or thin body, weak breathing and voice, and low energy. Frequent urination, loose stools, slight sweating if at all are common. They may have a desire to lay in a curled up position, or have a history of chronic disease. If there’s pain, it tends to be dull or lingering.
Cashews are quite tonifying. Heavy and grounding, they add weight and strength, and are appropriate for those who are dry, thin, unstable, nervous, or otherwise exhibit deficiency symptoms. But they can be difficult to digest, so are best consumed in small amounts. One ounce (30g) per day is adequate.
Cashews have a tendency to slow metabolism, and generate dampness in those who are predisposed to such. They should be avoided, or at least consumed infrequently, by those who are overweight, or those who show signs of excess dampness such as generalized, chronic fatigue or sluggishness. Consume with caution in cases of diarrhea.
Raw cashews contain a resin called urushiol, that can be toxic if ingested. It can also cause rashes or burns if it contacts the skin. Cashews must be roasted or steamed to deactivate urushiol, and make them safe to eat. So what are called “raw” cashews, are actually already cooked.