Cassava
Cassava

Background

Cassava is a root vegetable. People use the root as a food and to make medicine.

Cassava is used for tiredness, dehydration in people with diarrhea, sepsis, and to induce labor, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Cassava root and leaves are eaten as food. The nutritional value of cassava is similar to a potato. However, cassava contains chemicals called cyanogenic glycosides. These chemicals can release cyanide in the body. Cassava must be prepared correctly before eating to prevent cyanide poisoning.
When taken by mouth: Cassava that has been prepared properly is LIKELY SAFE for most people when eaten occasionally in normal food amounts. However, cassava that has not been prepared properly is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Cassava that is prepared improperly can contain chemicals that are converted to cyanide in the body. This may cause cyanide poisoning and lead to certain paralysis conditions. This is especially true if eaten as part of a low-protein diet.

In some people, eating cassava can cause an allergic reaction.

There isn't enough reliable information to know if cassava is safe to use as a medicine or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's POSSIBLY UNSAFE to eat cassava regularly as part of the diet if you are pregnant. It might cause birth defects. It is also POSSIBLY UNSAFE to insert cassava into the vagina. It might cause the uterus to contract. This might cause a miscarriage.

Cassava is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to eat regularly as part of the diet when breast-feeding. Eating cassava might expose the infant to chemicals that can affect thyroid function.

Children: Cassava is POSSIBLY SAFE for children when eaten occasionally in normal food amounts. However, cassava contains chemicals that can cause certain paralysis conditions. Children are more prone to these adverse effects than adults. Also, eating cassava regularly has been linked to low blood levels of certain vitamins in children. Cassava is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when eaten regularly as a food in large amounts. Children who eat large amounts of cassava may have a higher chance of developing certain paralysis conditions.

Allergies to latex: Cassava might cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to latex.

Iodine deficiency: Cassava might lower the amount of iodine absorbed by the body. For people who already have low levels of iodine, eating cassava might make this condition worse.

Protein deficiency: Cassava contains chemicals that can cause serious side effects. People who have low protein intake may be more prone to these side effects.

Thyroid disease: Eating cassava might lower levels of thyroid hormones. For people with thyroid disease, especially those needing to use thyroid hormone replacement therapy, eating cassava might make this condition worse.

Effectiveness

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions
  • Diabetes. People who eat more cassava flour as part of their diet seem to have a lower risk for developing diabetes.
  • Dehydration in people with diarrhea. Cassava salt solutions can be taken by children by mouth to treat mild to moderate dehydration caused by diarrhea. However, severe dehydration due to diarrhea causes low levels of electrolytes. Cassava salt solutions do not contain a significant amount of electrolytes. Therefore, these solutions do not seem suitable for treating severe dehydration due to diarrhea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sepsis.
  • To induce labor.
  • Medical imaging.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cassava for these uses.

Dosing & administration

The appropriate dose of cassava depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cassava. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Thyroid hormone

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

The body naturally produces thyroid hormones. Cassava might decrease thyroid hormone levels. Taking cassava with thyroid hormone pills might decrease the effects and side effects of thyroid hormone.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs with thyroid activity: Cassava might affect the body's production of thyroid hormone. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might alter thyroid function too much and cause side effects. Examples of supplements with this effect include lemon balm, bugleweed, and tiratricol.
Iodine: Cassava might reduce how much iodine the body absorbs. In theory, this might cause iodine levels to drop too low.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.

Action

There isn't enough information about cassava to know how it might work.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 25/05/2022 18:32:04 and last updated on 02/09/2022 03:48:29. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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