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Can Cashews Really Cause a Rash Similar to the Poison Ivy Rash?

The shells of cashews can really cause a rash similar to the poison ivy rash. This is because the cashew plant that contains the nut is in the same plant family as poison ivy. A rash can occur when the skin comes into contact with the oil on the cashew shells, which is why cashews are among the few types of nuts that are only sold without their shells. Roasting can help remove the cashew shell oil, so roasted cashews in their shells are considered safe to handle. The oil that is released during the roasting process is often stored and used for non-edible products, such as varnish.

More about cashews:

  • Cashew nuts actually grow inside the cashew fruit, which is similar in appearance to a pear; however, it must be consumed quickly after being picked so it’s generally only consumed in the immediate areas where it grows.

  • Commercially sold cashews are known for their light brown appearance that occurs from the roasting, but the nut is naturally a greenish-gray color.

  • Cashew nut shell oil processing plant workers have been found to be cured of their poison ivy allergic reactions after repeated exposure to cashew oil.

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Discuss this Article

RoyalSpyder
Post 4

I find the third bullet point interesting because it really shows how sometimes when we become constantly "exposed" to something, whether it be physically or mentally, it no longer has the effect on us that it does to other people.

Just an example, but if someone kept on using a cream that had side effects of skin irritation, after a while, it probably wouldn't irritate their skin as much, or at least not as much as it would to someone else.

anon960203
Post 3

This is one of the reasons I actually stopped buying and rarely eat cashews! I have actually noticed whenever I have eaten them my gums become sensitive! I figure if you have to wear a chemical suit to process these, it's safer not to eat them.

Euroxati
Post 2

In relation to the third bullet point, I can definitely imagine that it's dangerous and hectic to work in a cashew oil processing plant. After all, you're constantly being exposed to this oil that can cause poison ivy. However, on the bright side, aside from the rashes and itchiness, poison ivy (and it's respective oil) doesn't seem to have any long term effects, as long as it's taken care of anyway.

Krunchyman
Post 1

Wow, that's pretty interesting. Until reading this article, wasn't aware that cashews and poison ivy were so closely related. I'm assuming that most people aren't aware of this due to the fact that cashews are (usually) sold without their shells, something which the article also mentions. However, the article is a good reminder and warning to anyone that is willing to buy all nuts with their shells intact.

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