Cashew Allergy | Allergy

Cashew Allergy Question

by Allergy Guy

Isaelle asks:

Hi Doug,

Is there a way to test for the difference between raw cashew allergy and cashew allergy? Can you talk about the difference and chances of being allergic to both?

Doug’s Allergy Answer…

Note: This is my opinion and is not to be taken as qualified medical advice.

Truly raw cashews are not available in stores, since the shell contains the irritant urushiol. The Urushiol is destroyed by heat, so what is sold as raw cashews are not entirely raw.

I do not recommend eating truly raw cashew nuts! Since you can’t get them unless you happen to know someone with a cashew grove, this should not be a problem.

That said, the chances are that if you are allergic to what is sold as raw cashews, you are probably allergic to roasted cashews as well. If your allergy is not serious, you can determine this your-self by eating one form, waiting for symptoms, and then after a few days or weeks, try the other form. Do not try this if you have a serious allergy! I hope this is obvious, but I am saying it anyhow.

I hope this helps!

Comments welcome if anyone has further advice or for elaboration.

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1 Carmelite January 25, 2011 at 22:03

I’m confused b/c I seem to react to cashew butter made with roasted cashews, but not to raw cashews (what is sold as raw in the store, anyway, which I know means they are steamed). The butter gives me gas, tiny blisters on my lips that don’t itch, an itchy anus, headaches and a runny nose. The nuts themselves don’t cause a problem. Maybe it is just a quantity issue since I am probably consuming more cashew when I eat butter than when I just have a handful of nuts? Is this a nut allergy or am I reacting to some trace amount of the toxin that is not being processed out correctly? I have never had any food or other allergies, but do react fairly strongly to urushiol. This cashew butter reaction just developed a couple of years ago, and seems to be getting worse with repeated exposure. My sensitivity to urushiol seems to have increased recently as well. I am 30 years old.


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