Family • Anacardiaceae - Semecarpus cuneiformis Blanco - MARKING NUT TREE - Xiao guo rou tuo guo

Scientific names

Semecarpus cuneiformis Blanco
Semecarpus anacardium Blanco
Semecarpus elmeri Perkins
Semecarpus micranthus Perkins
Semecarpus perrottetii March.
Semecarpus philippinensis Engl.
Semecarpus whitfordii Merr.

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Dun ye rou tuo guo, Xian guo tai dong qi.
MALAY: Kutang
MALAYALAM: Alakkucheru, Cherkuru, Thenkotta, Perkuru, Cheru, Cherumaram, Temprakku, Sambiri.

Common names

Agas (P. Bis.)
Anagas (P. Bis.)
Hanagas (Bis.)
Ingas ( BiK.)
Kamiing (Sbl.)
Kaming (Pamp., Tag.)
Kamiding (Ig.)
Kamiling (Ting.)
Kamiring (Ibn., Ilk.)
Libas (Bon.)
Lañgas (Bis.)
Loñgas (C. Bis.)
Ligas (Pamp., Tag.)
Pakan (Bon.)
Marking nut tree (Engl.)
Oriental cashew (Engl.)
Xiao guo rou tuo guo (Chin.)
Kamiring (Ibn., Ilk.)

Ligas is a small tree growing to a height of 12 meters. Leaves are crowded at the end of the branches, lanceolate-obovate to oblong-obovate, 10 to 25 centimeters long, hairy, whitish beneath, rounded or somewhat pointed at the tip and usually pointed at the base. Flowers are whitish, 2 to 2.5 millimeters long, borne on panicles that are longer than the leaves. Fruits are borne in clusters, resembling the kasui, but much smaller. Drupe is ovoid, oblique, 1 centimeter long, grows at the top of a red or purple, fleshy and edible fruit, which is about as long as the drupe. The “fruit,” like that of the kasui, is really the enlarged stalk and receptacle (torus) of the flower.


– Common in dry thickets and secondary forests at low altitudes in Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Bontoc, La Union, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Rizal, Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Quezon and Sorsogon Provinces in Luzon; and in Mindoro, Palawan, Leyte, Negros, and Guimaras.
– Also reported in Indonesia.


– Cardol is the toxic principle of the sap found in the bark and fruit.
– Phytochemical study yielded biflavoinoids, phenolic compounds, bhilawanols, minerals, vitamins and amino acids.
– Nut of the shell contains biflavonoids, biflavones, tetrahydrorobustaflavone, jeediflavone, semecarpuflavone and gulluflavone.
– Oil from the nuts contain bhilavinol.
– Leaves contain amentoflavone.


– Oil of pericarp is caustic and escharotic.
– Fruits are considered acrid, bitter, astringent, thermogenic, emollient, digestive, carminative, purgative, liver tonic, aphrodisiac, antiarthritic, depurative, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, sudorific.
– Oil considered to have antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Salubrious effect of Semecarpus anacardium against lipid peroxidative changes in adjuvant arthritis studied in rats / T. Vijayalakshmi et al / Journ of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry • Volume 175, Numbers 1-2 / October, 1997 / DOI 10.1023/A:1006837312145

(2) Purification of nuts of Semecarpus anacardium Linn., a herbal drug for arthritis / Yamini B. Tripathi, Nidhi Pandey and Pratibha Tripathi / CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 94, NO. 8, 25 APRIL 2008

(3) ANACARDIACEAE — 5 Sclerocarya – Swintonia (Cashew family)

(4) Toxic studies on biochemical parameters carried out in rats with Serankottai nei, a siddha drug–milk extract of Semecarpus anacardium nut / T Vihayalakshmi et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 69, Issue 1, January 2000, Pages 9-15 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00020-3 |

(5) MYOCARDIAL POTENCY OF SEMECARPUS ANACARDIUM NUT EXTRACT AGAINST ISOPROTERENOL INDUCED MYOCARDIAL DAMAGE IN RATS / Asdaq SMB and Chakraborty M / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research, Vol 2, Issue 2, May – June 2010; Article 002

(6) Semecarpus anacardium nut extract promotes the antioxidant defence system and inhibits anaerobic metabolism during development of lymphoma / Verma N, Vinayak M / Biosci Rep. 2009 Jun;29(3):151-64.

(7) Hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic effect of Semecarpus anacardium Linn in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats / Arul, B., Kothai, R., Christina, A.J. / Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 2004, 26(10): 759 / DOI: 10.1358/mf.2004.26.10.872556

(8) Immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of Semecarpus anacardium LINN. Nut milk extract in experimental inflammatory conditions / Ramprasath VR et al / Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Apr;29(4):693-700.

(9) Effect of Semecarpus anacardium fruits on reproductive function of male albino rats / Arti Sharma et al / Asian J Androl 2003 Jun; 5: 121-124

(10) Studies on the mechanism of action of Semecarpus anacardium in rheumatoid arthritis / M N Sari, R B Ghool and B K Patwardhan / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 25, Issue 2, April 1989, Pages 159-164 / doi:10.1016/0378-8741(89)90017-2 |

(11) Sorting Semecarpus names / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE/ Porcher Michel H. et al. 1995 – 2020 / (M.M.P.N.D) – A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia.

(12) Semecarpus anacardium – Marking nut tree / Malayalam names / India Biodiversity Portal

(13) Toxicological study of Semecarpus anacardium nut extract. / Kesava Rao KV, Gothoskar SV, Chitnis MP, Ranadive KJ. / Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1979 Apr-Jun;23(2):115-20.

(14) ‘Teeth as black as a bumble bee’s wings’: The ethnobotany of teeth blackening in Southeast Asia / Thomas J. Zumbroich /

(15) Analgesic activity and acute toxicity study of Semecarpus anacardium stem bark extracts using mice / Lingaraju GM, Hoskeri HJ, Krishna V, Babu PS. / Pharmacognosy Research 2011;3(1):57-61. / doi:10.4103/0974-8490.79117.

(16) Cytoprotective effect of Semecarpus anacardium against toxicity induced by Streptozotocin in rats / Jaya Aseervatham, Shanthi Palanivelu, Panchanadham Sachdanandam / Journal of Experimental Pharmacology, August 2010 Volume 2010:2 Pages 135—143 / DOI

(17) Interaction of Semecarpus anacardium L. with propranolol against isoproterenol induced myocardial damage in rats / Manodeep Chakraborty & Syed Mohammed Basheeruddin Asdaq* / Indian Journal of Experimental Biology Vol. 49, March 2011, pp. 200-206

(18) Anti cancerous efficacy of Ayurvedic milk extract of Semecarpus anacardium nuts on hepatocellular carcinoma in Wistar rats / Joseph, Joice P., Raval, Sunant K., Sadariya, Kamlesh A., Jhala, Mayur, Kumar, Pranay / African journal of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines: AJTCAM, 2013, Vol 10, Issue 5, pp 299-304


(20) Aphrodisiac Activity of Semecarpus anacardium Nut / Anil Kumar Gupta, M C Bindal, Santosh Kumar Gupta, Dhirendra Prakash, Vedpal / Int. Res. J. Pharm., 2013, 4(4)

(21) STUDY OF HYDROALCOHOLIC GEL OF SEMECARPUS ANACARDIUM SEED OIL FOR TREATMENT OF ORAL SUBMUCUS FIBROSIS / P P Udapurkar*, S R Kamble, V S Heda, N J Duragkar, K R Biyani / Inventi Rapid: Pharm Tech, 2015(1): 1-4, 2014

(22) Effect of Semecarpus anacardium Extract on Physiology of Brain in Albino Rat / C. V. Choudhari, P. B. Deshmukh / Indian Journal of Innovations & Developments, Volume 1, Issue 1, January 2012

(23) A STUDY ON CNS EFFECTS OF MILK EXTRACT OF NUTS OF SEMECARPUS ANACARDIUM. LINN, (ANACARDIACEAE). / S. M. Farooq, T. R. Alla, N. Venkat Rao*, K. Prasad, Shalam, K. Nandakumar, T. S. Gouda, S. Satyanarayana / Pharmacologyonline 1: 49-63 (2007)

(24) Allergic Contact Dermatitis by Semecarpus Anacardium for Evil Eye: A prospective study from Central India / Kailash Bhatia, Rajesh Kataria, Ashish Singh, Zainab Hussian Safderi, Ravindra Kumar / Indian Journal of Basic and Applied Medical Research; June 2014: Vol.-3, Issue- 3, P. 122-127

– Although many persons are probably immune to poisoning from the hairs on the leaves, in the Philippines the plant is usually regarded as poisonous, with reports of severe contact dermatitis.
– The sap is considered a violent contact poison which can cause painful swelling and minute blistering pustular skin eruptions.
– Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Study showed uroshiol to be the active allergen in seeds.

Parts utilized
Leaves, fruit, gum.

• Oil of pericarp is used as a caustic or escharotic; sometimes used for indolent ulcers.
• In Malaysia, leaves used for wounds.
• In India, fruit is traditionally used as folk remedy for the treatment of non-bleeding hemorrhoids. Also used as adjuvant treatment for ascites and tumors. Used for bronchospasm.
• Elsewhere, the gum-resin of S. anacardium has been used in leprosy and nervous debility.

• Teeth dyeing: Resin from bark and pericarp used for teeth blackening.

Study Findings
• Quisumbing lists Semicarpus cuneiformis and S. anacardium as scientific synonyms. Studies below are mostly onSemecarpus anacardium. Other compilations separate the species. Both can cause acute and extensive dermatitis.
• There are no published studies on Semicarpus cuneiformis.
• Antioxidant / Antiarthritic: Milk extract of Semecarpus anacardium nuts significantly decreased the lipid peroxide levels in plasma and tissues of adjuvant arthritis. The SA nut extract brought back the altered antioxidant defense components to almost normal levels. The antiarthritic effect may be due to the retardation of lipid peroxidation and a subsequent modulation of the cellular antioxidant defense system.
• Antioxidant / Prooxidant: Nut purification studies suggested that the oil part of the nuts is prooxidant whereas the alcoholic fraction is antioxidant; and the use of hexane is better for purification of SA nuts and therapeutic enhancement.
• Antiinflammatory: Studies have yielded phenolic compounds (semicarpol and bhilawanol) found to inhibit the acute tuberculin reaction in sensitized rats and primary phase of adjuvant arthritis. IN rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory activity has been attributed to flavonoids or the inhibition of early mediator release (histamine and serotonin) and inhibition or cyclo-oxygenase. Study of extract of SA demonstrated a protective immunological and pharmacological role.
• Antifungal: Alcoholic extract of dry nuts of SA showed dose-dependent antifungal activity against Aspergillus fumigatus and C albicans.
• Neuroprotective: SA has been shown to have neuroprotective effect, especially to the hippocampal region in stress-induced neurodegeneration like Alzheimer’s disease.
• Antispermatogenic Effect: SA extract feeding caused antispermatogenic effect with reduction in the numbers of spermatogenic cells and spermatozoa.
• Antiatherogenic: The antiatherogenic effect may be due to its antioxidant, anticoagulant, hypolipidemic, anti-platelet aggregation and lipoprotein lipase releasing properties.
• Hypoglycemic: Ethanolic extract shown to significantly lower blood glucose level in alloxan induced diabetic rats.
• Toxicity Studies: Acute toxicity studies showed no mortality at all dose levels. Subacute toxicity studies showed not hematologic and biochemical alterations; in the highest dose, there was a moderate increase in blood sugar; histopath exam showed no morphological disturbances.
• Cardioprotective / Fruits: Study on the bioactivity in the ethanolic extract of SA fruits on experimentally induced myocardial damage in rats showed high dose of EESA significantly reduced endogenous biomarker enzymes, with significant increase in biological antioxidants and catalase activities, while providing significant recovery from ischemia.
• Antioxidant / Anticarcinogenesis: Administration of aqueous extract of SA to lymphoma-transplanted mouse caused an increase in antioxidant enzyme activities, with significant decrease in LDH activity, indicating decrease in carcinogenesis. The extract effect was more than doxorubicin, an anticarcinogeic drug.
• Hypoglycemic / Antihyperglycemic Effect: Ethanolic extract of dried nuts of SA showed reduction of blood glucose in normal rats and also significantly lowered blood glucose in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Antihyperglycemic effect was compared with tolbutamide.
• Anti-Tumor / Anti-Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Study was done to evaluate the effect of Semecarpus anacardium nut extract on the hepatocarcinogenicity of aflatoxin B1 in adult albino male Wistar rats. Results clearly showed antitumor efficacy of SA nut extract on aflatoxin B1-induced hepatocellular carcinoma.
• Anti-Inflammatory / COX-2 Inhibitory Activity: Extract of the bark stem of SA showing in vitro anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenan induced rat paw edema was studied to identify its active compounds. The study yielded 2 compounds – butein and a trihydroxyflavone. The compounds showed moderate COX-2 inhibitory activity.
• Reproductive Effects / Spermatogenic Arrest: S. anacardium fruit extract administration resulted in spermatogenic arrest in albino rats. Sperm motility and density were significantly reduced.
• Toxicological Study of Anacardium Nut Extract: Toxicological study on S. anacardium nut extract was done to determine its safe non-toxic dose. Toxicity was found to be dose-dependent. Results could be of some use in cancer chemotherapy study of the fraction.
• Analgesic / Stem Bark: Study investigated the analgesic effect of various extracts of Semecarpus anacardium by tail flicking and writhing methods. A methanol extract showed more significant analgesic activity compared to petroleum ether and chloroform extracts. All extracts were less potent than the standard drug acetyl salicylic acid.
• Cytoprotective: Study investigated the cytoprotective effect of S. anacardium in rats rendered diabetic by streptozotocin. Results showed cytoprotective effect with reversal of marker enzymes in the serum, liver, and kidney.
• Antioxidant / Nuts: Study investigated the in vitro antioxidant activity of various extracts of nuts by non-enzymatic haemoglobin glycosylation and DPPH free radical scavenging activity. Results showed concentration dependent antioxidant activity, with the ethanol extract showing higher antioxidant activity than the other extracts.
• Cardioprotective / Propranolol-Isoproterenol Interaction / Nuts: Study evaluated the cardioprotective effect of an ethanolic extract of SA nuts and possible interaction with propranolol against isoproterenol induced myocardial damage in female Sprague-Dawley rats. Results showed the combination of high dose of S. anacardium with propranolol was most effective in alleviating the abnormal conditions induced by isoproterenol.
• Antioxidant / Nuts: Study evaluated the anticancerous efficacy of an Ayurvedic preparation made from S. anacardium nuts on rats with hepatocellular carcinoma induced by N-nitrosodiethylamine. The Ayurvedic drug showed a positive correlation with the action of doxorubicin. Study demonstrated the efficacy of the nut extract for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma either alone or with chemotherapy.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Fruits: Study of aqueous extract of S. anacardium fruits in albino rats showed significant anti-inflammatory effect compared to reference drug indomethacin.
• Aphrodisiac Activity/ Nuts: Study explored the effect of S. anacardium nuts on sexual function of normal male mice. Results showed enhanced sexual behavior in male mice with increased mounting behavior and significantly increased mating performance.
• Treatment of Oral Submucus Fibrosis: OSMF is associated with juxtaepithelial inflammatory reaction with fibroelastic changes in the lamina propria which leads to stiffness of the oral mucosa. A hydroalcoholic gel formulated using Semecarpus anacardium showed promising effects on different parameters of OSMF.
• Effect of Oil Extract on Brain Physiology: Ancient literature has reported ill effects of indiscriminate use of nut oil on skin and eyes. Labours in rural areas involved in extraction of oil were found to suffer from deformities due to exposure. Study assessed the effect of SA pericarp oil extract on biochemical parameters of GOT, GPT, LDH, SDH and AChE enzymes of brain of albino rat. Study showed alterations in studied parameters indicating adverse effects. Results signify the need of safe work environment, safer extraction process and proper training of workers.
• Nootropic Activity / Milk Extract: Study evaluated the effects of nuts extracted with milk on the CNS for locomotor and nootropic activities. No significant alteration was noted in locomotor activity. In experimental amnesia models, the extract showed statistically significant nootropic activity.
• Allergic Contact Dermatitis / Burning of Seeds for Evil Eye / Urushiol: In India, a ritual for evil eye protection is done by burning SA seeds. The smoke produced by burning seeds can cause contact dermatitis over time. Study showed uroshiol to be the active allergen in SA seeds responsible for the allergic contact dermatitis from exposure to smoke from burning of seeds.