Other Name(s):

Brazilian Arrowroot, Cassave, Kassava, Kassave, Mandioca, Manihot esculenta, Manioc, Manioc Tapioca, Manioca, Maniok, Maniokki, Tapioca, Tapioca Plant, Yuca.


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

Cassava is used for tiredness, dehydration due to diarrhea, sepsis, and to induce labor.

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.

How does it work?

Cassava seems to help reduce diarrhea in children who are dehydrated due to diarrhea. However, it doesn't seem to restore lost electrolytes. Cassava might be toxic to cancer cells due to its cyanide content.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Dehydration due to 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.
  • Tiredness.
  • Sepsis.
  • To induce labor.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cassava for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Cassava is LIKELY SAFE for most people when eaten occasionally in normal food amounts if prepared properly.

Cassava is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when eaten occasionally in normal food amounts if prepared improperly. Cassava that is prepared improperly may contain chemicals called cyanogenic glycosides. These chemicals are converted to cyanide in the body when eaten. This may cause cyanide poisoning and lead to certain paralysis conditions.

Raw or improperly prepared cassava is LIKELY UNSAFE when eaten on a regular basis. Regularly eating raw or improperly prepared cassava, especially as part of a low-protein diet, significantly increases the risk of cyanide poisoning.

There isn't enough information to know if cassava is safe to use as a medicine in adults.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to eat cassava regularly as part of the diet if you are pregnant. It might also cause birth defects. It is also LIKELY 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 given by mouth as a solution for rehydrating. Cassava is LIKELY UNSAFE when eaten regularly as a food in large amounts. Children who eat large amounts of cassava are at an increased risk of exposure to chemicals in cassava that can cause paralysis conditions. These chemicals are more likely to affect children than adults.

Iodine deficiency: Cassava might lower the amount of iodine absorbed by the body. In people who already have low levels of iodine, eating cassava might make this condition worse. Thyroid disease. Eating cassava might lower levels of thyroid hormones. In people with thyroid disease, especially those needing to use thyroid hormone replacement therapy, eating cassava might make this condition worse.

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


Thyroid hormoneInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

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.


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.

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