Cashew oil is a dark yellow oil for cooking or salad dressing pressed from cashew nuts (typically broken chunks created during processing). This may be produced from a single cold pressing.
Anacardium occidentale is the tree from which cashew nuts are obtained. The nut actually grows at the end of the fruit that the tree bears, which is pear-shaped with a strong fragrance. When the fruit ripens and turns a bright yellow color, it signifies the time to harvest this nut, or seed. This nut is encased in an outer shell which is processed and cold pressed to extract oil from within.
The cashew tree is native to coastal areas of Brazil. In the 16th century, Portuguese explorers took cashew trees from this South American country and introduced them into other tropical regions such as India and some African countries, where they are now also cultivated. The cashew tree has always been a prized resource owing to its precious wood, cashew balm and cashew apple, but the cashew nut itself did not gain popularity until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the leading commercial producers of cashews are India, Brazil, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria.
Benefits of Cashew Oil
Since this oil is rich in vitamin E, this particular vitamin also contains compounds that assist in lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a steroid alcohol and when it is a constituent of LDL, it tends to encourage plaque buildup in the arteries, causing it to become hard and thickened with some loss in its elasticity. Such arteries hinder blood flow, leading to innumerable other heart disease conditions.
The vitamin E present in the oil has also anti-aging properties and using it in creams and lotions make them very good for the skin. Along with it, cashew oil is very good if it is applied on cracked heels as it helps them heal due to the high level of moisture in it. Fungal infections are also very effectively treated with this oil as it contains iron and phosphorus that help in healing and provide therapeutic effects.
Cashew oil is also used in cosmetics due to its ability to enhance beauty. As it contains vitamin E and unsaturated fats in abundance, it is being used by major beauty products manufacturers. The unsaturated fats and acids present in this oil helps to restore the moisture and smoothness of the skin that becomes dull and damaged due to harsh weather conditions and age.