Natural Foods Market in Midland, TX offers weight loss supplements & natural foods for sale.  Contact us today to learn more or shop the site today!
Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Cassava (Manihot esculenta) Print

Cassava (Manihot esculenta)

Image

Also listed as: Manihot esculenta
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Acetone cyanohydrins, aipim, akpu (Nigeria), alpha-galactosidase, attiéké, balanghoy (Philippines), bankye (Twi), beta-galactosidase, cassaba, cassada, cassava, chickwangue, cu san (Vietnam), cyanide, cyanogenic glucoside, cyanogenic glycoside, cyanohydrins, farofa, foufou, fufu, gari, glucosides, glycosides, hydrogen cyanide, hydroxynitrile lyase, kamoteng kahoy (Philippines), kappa (India), kassav (Haiti), khoai mì (Vietnamese), Lactobacillus plantarum, lafun, linamarase, linamarin, lotaustralin, macaxera (Brazil), mandi´o (Paraguay), mandioca, Manihot esculenta, Manihot esculenta Crantz, Manihot esculenta Grantz, Manihot utilissima, manioc, manioca (Polynesia), maniok (Sri Lanka), manioke (Polynesia), mihogo (Swahili), mogo (Swahili), mushu (China), singkong (Indonesia), tapioca, thiocyanates, ubi kayu (Malaysia), ugburu (Nigeria), yucca, Yuccabrevifolia Engelm.
  • Note: Cassava is a food and is often consumed as a flour. It is found in foods such as bread, pasta, tapioca, and fufu.

Background
  • Cassava (also known as manioc or yucca) is a vegetable that grows in tropical countries. It is an important food source for an estimated 600 million people worldwide, especially in developing countries. Cassava is an important food during drought or famine and is believed to provide more than a third of caloric content in Africa. Cassava is a staple in the humid and subhumid areas of tropical Africa.
  • Cassava contains high levels of cyanic glycosides. These toxic substances are removed during processing to prevent them from being converted to hydrogen cyanide, which may cause diseases and sometimes death. Researchers are working to create a form of cassava that has reduced levels of cyanic glycosides, as well as higher nutritional value, as a way to reduce malnutrition and chronic illness in developing countries.
  • At this time, there are no high-quality studies that support the use of cassava for any medical condition. Some research suggests that cassava salt solutions may help rehydrate children who suffer from acute diarrhea.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Cassava salt solutions have been shown to help rehydrate children who are suffering from mild dehydration caused by acute diarrhea. These solutions are easy to make, readily available, and cheaper than the World Health Organization/Oral Rehydration Solution (WHO/ORS). However, more well-designed studies are needed before firm conclusions can be made.

C


Manioc flour, which comes from cassava, has been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory effects. However, there is a lack of evidence supporting cassava's use for this condition. Further research is needed.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Boils, cancer, celiac disease, diarrhea, eye diseases, flavoring agent, flu, food uses, headache, hernia, high blood pressure (hypertension), irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain (rheumatism), malaria, malnutrition, pain, snakebites, sores.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for cassava in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • To treat dehydration, five teaspoons of fried manioc from cassava and one teaspoon of salt have been added to 600 milliliters of water and taken by mouth. About 75 milliliters of manioc salt solution per kilogram has been taken by mouth in a cup or a spoon over four hours. A dose of 50-100 milliliters of manioc fluid per bowel movement has been given to children younger than two years old to take by mouth. A dose of 100-200 milliliters of manioc fluid per bowel movement has been given to children two years old and older to take by mouth. A cassava salt solution has been given to male infants aged 4-24 months to take by mouth.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid if allergic or sensitive to cassava, its parts, or members of the Euphorbiaceae family. There is 23% cross-reactivity between cassava and latex. Skin prick tests have shown a 5.8% sensitization to yucca (cassava is the root vegetable of yucca).

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Cassava is considered safe when taken in small amounts for short periods of time by people who are not malnourished: about 30 grams daily in adults or five teaspoons of fried manioc (made from cassava) in children several times daily for less than two weeks. The potentially toxic cyanic glycoside content of cassava may be reduced by softening, soaking, rinsing, or baking.
  • Cassava is likely safe in pregnant and breastfeeding women who are not allergic and who take it in amounts that are generally found in foods. Levels higher than those normally found in the diet are not recommended due to the potentially toxic levels of cyanic glycosides. Cassava also contains goitrogens, which may cause congenital hypothyroidism and may be passed to babies during breastfeeding. Additionally, pregnancy may worsen a woman's preexisting iodine deficiency. Exposure to the thiocyanate from cassava may affect thyroid hormones and lead to changes in the baby's brain structure, which could possibly cause autism, according to one study. More research is needed.
  • Avoid if allergic or sensitive to cassava, its parts, or members of the Euphorbiaceae family. There is 23% cross-reactivity between cassava and latex. Skin prick tests have shown a 5.8% sensitization to yucca (cassava is the root vegetable of yucca).
  • Avoid using when the absence of cyanic glycosides in the cassava product cannot be determined. Potentially toxic levels of cyanic glycosides are naturally found in cassava, and if they are not removed, they may convert to hydrogen cyanide, cyanohydrins, and thiocyanates, which may cause death and disease, especially in people who have low-protein diets.
  • Avoid in people who have iodine deficiency, malnutrition, or thyroid deficiency, or who are eating a low-protein diet.
  • Use cautiously when the cassava contains 50-100 parts per million of cyanogenic content and is taken for extended periods of time by otherwise healthy adults.
  • Use cautiously in people who are taking birth control by mouth (oral contraceptives) or chondroitin.
  • Cassava may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Cassava may also cause changes in the thyroid and adrenal glands, congestion, decreased plasma calcium, decreased plasma potassium, decreased plasma serum albumin, eye problems (optic neuropathy and atrophy), heart muscle degeneration, hemorrhage, hives, increased protein and thiocyanate in the urine, kidney problems, liver problems, muscle development problems, painful urination, and paralysis.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Cassava is likely safe in pregnant and breastfeeding women who are not allergic and who take it in amounts that are generally found in foods. Levels higher than those normally found in the diet are not recommended due to the potentially toxic levels of cyanic glycosides. Cassava also contains goitrogens, which may cause congenital hypothyroidism and may be passed to babies during breastfeeding. Additionally, pregnancy may worsen a woman's preexisting iodine deficiency. Exposure to the thiocyanate from cassava may affect thyroid hormones and lead to changes in the baby's brain structure, which could possibly cause autism, according to one study. More research is needed.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Cassava may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Cassava may also interact with contraceptives (birth control), iodine, and thyroid agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Cassava may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Cassava may also interact with chondroitin, hormonal herbs and supplements, iodine, and thyroid herbs and supplements.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Bakare-Odunola MT, Mustapha A, Aguye, I. Effect of Nigerian meals on the pharmacokinetics of chlorpropamide in type II diabetic patients. Eur.J.Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2008;33(1):31-35.
  2. Balakrishnan V, Unnikrishnan AG, Thomas V, et al. Chronic pancreatitis. A prospective nationwide study of 1,086 subjects from India. JOP. 2008;9(5):593-600.
  3. Barceloux DG. Cyanogenic foods (cassava, fruit kernels, and cycad seeds). Dis.Mon. 2009;55(6):336-352.
  4. Failla ML, Huo T, Thakkar, SK. In vitro screening of relative bioaccessibility of carotenoids from foods. Asia Pac.J.Clin.Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:200-203.
  5. Faintuch J, Horie LM, Barbeiro HV, et al. Systemic inflammation in morbidly obese subjects: response to oral supplementation with alpha-linolenic acid. Obes.Surg. 2007;17(3):341-347.
  6. Gilani GS and Nasim A. Impact of foods nutritionally enhanced through biotechnology in alleviating malnutrition in developing countries. J.AOAC Int. 2007;90(5):1440-1444.
  7. Ibero M, Castillo MJ, Pineda F. Allergy to cassava: a new allergenic food with cross-reactivity to latex. J.Investig.Allergol.Clin.Immunol. 2007;17(6):409-412.
  8. Idibie CA, Davids H, Iyuke SE. Cytotoxicity of purified cassava linamarin to a selected cancer cell lines. Bioprocess.Biosyst.Eng 2007;30(4):261-269.
  9. Mian C, Vitaliano P, Pozza D, et al. Iodine status in pregnancy: role of dietary habits and geographical origin. Clin.Endocrinol.(Oxf) 2009;70(5):776-780.
  10. Nyirenda DB, Chiwona-Karltun L, Chitundu M, et al. Chemical safety of cassava products in regions adopting cassava production and processing--experience from Southern Africa. Food Chem.Toxicol. 2011;49(3):607-612.
  11. Roman GC. Autism: transient in utero hypothyroxinemia related to maternal flavonoid ingestion during pregnancy and to other environmental antithyroid agents. J.Neurol.Sci. 11-15-2007;262(1-2):15-26.
  12. Sautter C, Poletti S, Zhang P, et al. Biofortification of essential nutritional compounds and trace elements in rice and cassava. Proc.Nutr.Soc. 2006;65(2):153-159.
  13. Sidibe H. [Reflections on mental retardation and congenital hypothyroidism: effects of trace mineral deficiencies]. Sante 2007;17(1):41-50.
  14. Siritunga D and Sayre R. Transgenic approaches for cyanogen reduction in cassava. J.AOAC Int. 2007;90(5):1450-1455.
  15. Thomson JA. The role of biotechnology for agricultural sustainability in Africa. Philos.Trans.R.Soc.Lond B Biol.Sci. 2-27-2008;363(1492):905-913.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

Search Site

Carlson Labs
Garden Of Life
Natural Vitality
Jarrow Formulas
Solgar
American Health
Wakunaga of America