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.

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).


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

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.

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.


Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow


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.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 6/14/2021

Abuye C, Kelbessa U, Wolde-Gebriel S. Health effects of cassava consumption in south Ethiopia. East African Med J 1998;75(3):166-170. View abstract.

Adewusi SR, Akindahunsi AA. Cassava processing, consumption, and cyanide toxicity. J Toxicol Environ Health 1994;43(1):13-23. View abstract.

Akindahunsi AA, Grissom FE, Adewusi SR, et al. Parameters of thyroid function in the endemic goitre of Akungba and Oke-Agbe villages of Akoko area of southwestern Nigeria. Afr J Med Med Sci 1998;27(3-4):239-42. View abstract.

Ariffin WA, Choo KE, Karnaneedi S. Cassava (ubi kayu) poisoning in children. Med J Malaysia 1992;47(3):231-4. View abstract.

Assan R, Assan D, Thiebaut MF, et al. [Diabetogenic tropical pancreatitis]. Diabete Metab 1988;14(3):299-312. View abstract.

Balakrishnan V, Unnikrishnan AG, Thomas V, et al. Chronic pancreatitis. A prospective nationwide study of 1,086 subjects from India. JOP 2008;9(5):593-600. View abstract.

Biassoni P, Ravera G, Bertocchi J, et al. Influence of dietary habits on thyroid status of a nomadic people, the Bororo shepherds, roaming a central African region affected by severe iodine deficiency. Eur J Endocrinol 1998;138(6):681-5. View abstract.

Burns A, Gleadow R, Cliff J, Zacarias A, Cavagnaro T. Cassava: The Drought, War and Famine Crop in a Changing World. Sustainabliilty 2010;2:3572-3607.

Cardoso AP, Mirione E, Ernesto M, et al. Processing of cassava roots to remove cyanogens. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 2005;18(5):451-60.

Carod-Artal FJ. [Neurological syndromes linked with the intake of plants and fungi containing a toxic component (I). Neurotoxic syndromes caused by the ingestion of plants, seeds and fruits]. Rev Neurol 2003;36:860-71. View abstract.

Cliff J, Lundqvist P, Martensson J, et al. Association of high cyanide and low sulphur intake in cassava-induced spastic paraparesis. Lancet 1985;2(8466):1211-3. View abstract.

Delange F. [The role of goitrogenic factors distinct from iodine deficiency in the etiology of goiter]. Ann Endocrinol (Paris) 1988;49(4-5):302-5. View abstract.

Delange F. The disorders induced by iodine deficiency. Thyroid 1994;4(1):107-28. View abstract.

Dorea JG. Fish are central in the diet of Amazonian riparians: should we worry about their mercury concentrations? Environ Res 2003;92(3):232-44. View abstract.

Dorea JG. Maternal thiocyanate and thyroid status during breast-feeding. J Am Coll Nutr 2004;23(2):97-101. View abstract.

Dumas M, Giordano C, Ndiaye IP, et al. [The concept of tropical neuromyelopathy]. Bull Soc Pathol Exot Filiales 1988;81(2):183-8. View abstract.

Edijala JK, Okoh PN, Anigoro R. Chemical assay of cyanide levels of short-time-fermented cassava products in the Abraka area of Delta State, Nigeria. Food Chemistry 1999;64(1):107-10.

Failla ML, Huo T, Thakkar SK. In vitro screening of relative bioaccessibility of carotenoids from foods. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008;17 Suppl 1:200-3. View abstract.

Gaitan E, Cooksey RC, Legan J, et al. Antithyroid effects in vivo and in vitro of babassu and mandioca: a staple food in goiter areas of Brazil. Eur J Endocrinol 1994;131(2):138-44. View abstract.

Gallagher E, Gormley TR, Arendt EK. Recent advances in the formulation of gluten-free cereal-based products. Trends Food Sci Technol 2004:15:143-152.

Geelhoed GW. Metabolic maladaptation: individual and social consequences of medical intervention in correcting endemic hypothyroidism. Nutrition 1999;15(11-12):908-32. View abstract.

Gegios A, Amthor R, Maziya-Dixon B, et al. Children consuming cassava as a staple food are at risk for inadequate zinc, iron, and vitamin A intake. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 2010;65(1):64-70. View abstract.

Geldof AA, Becking JL, de Vries CD, van der Veen EA. Histopathological changes in rat pancreas after fasting and cassava feeding. In Vivo 1992;6(5):545-51. View abstract.

Grange AO. Evaluation of cassava-salt suspension in the management of acute diarrhoea in infants and children. J Diarrhoeal Dis Res 1994;12(1):55-8. View abstract.

Hernandez T, Lundquist P, Oliveira L, et al. Fate in humans of dietary intake of cyanogenic glycosides from roots of sweet cassava consumed in Cuba. Nat Toxins 1995;3(2):114-7. View abstract.

Ibebunjo C, Kamalu BP, Ihemelandu EC. Comparison of the effects of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) organic cyanide and inorganic cyanide on muscle and bone development in a Nigerian breed of dog. Br J Nutr 1992;68(2):483-91. View abstract.

Idibie CA., Davids H, Iyuke SE. Cytotoxicity of purified cassava linamarin to a selected cancer cell lines. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 2007;30(4):261-9. View abstract.

Kamalu BP. Pathological changes in growing dogs fed on a balanced cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) diet. Br J Nutr 1993;69(3):921-34. View abstract.

Kamalu BP. The adverse effects of long-term cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) consumption. Int J Food Sci Nutr 1995;46(1):65-93. View abstract.

Nicol BM, Phillips PG. The utilization of proteins and amino acids in diets based on cassava (Manihot utilissima), rice or sorghum (Sorghum sativa) by young Nigerian men of low income. Br J Nutr 1978;39(2):271-87. View abstract.

Nikolajsen T, Nielsen F, Rasch V, et al. Uterine contraction induced by Tanzanian plants used to induce abortion. J Ethnopharmacol 2011;137(1):921-5. View abstract.

Nyirenda DB, Chiwona-Karltun L, Chitundu M, et al. Chemical safety of cassava products in regions adopting cassava production and processing--experience from Southern Africa. Food Chem Toxicol 2011;49(3):607-12. View abstract.

Oforofuo IA, Omu AE. Serum thiocyanate levels in a normal population and in pregnancy in Benin City, Nigeria: preliminary report. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 1991;34(1):65-9. View abstract.

Okigbo BN. Nutritional implications of projects giving high priority to the production of staples of low nutritive quality: The Case for Cassava (Manihot esculenta, Crantz) in the Humid Tropics of West Africa. Food Nutr Bulletin 1980;2(4):1-10.

Olusanya O, Olanrewaju DM, Oluwole FA. Studies on the effectiveness, safety and acceptability of fluids from local foodstuffs in the prevention and management of dehydration caused by diarrhoea in children. J Trop Pediatr 1994;40(6):360-4. View abstract.

Osman BA, Ng ML, Bakar AA, Khalid BA. The effect of cassava leave intake on thyroid hormone and urinary iodine. East Afr Med J 1993;70(5):314-5. View abstract.

Paula Cardoso A, Ernesto M, Nicala D, et al. Combination of cassava flour cyanide and urinary thiocyanate measurements of school children in Mozambique. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2004;55(3):183-90. View abstract.

Ramdath DD, Isaacs RL, Teelucksingh S, Wolever TM. Glycaemic index of selected staples commonly eaten in the Caribbean and the effects of boiling v. crushing. Br J Nutr 2004;91(6):971-977. View abstract.

Román GC, Ghassabian A, Bongers-Schokking JJ, et al. Association of gestational maternal hypothyroxinemia and increased autism risk. Ann Neurol 2013;74(5):733-42. View abstract.

Roman GC. Autism: transient in utero hypothyroxinemia related to maternal flavonoid ingestion during pregnancy and to other environmental antithyroid agents. J Neurol Sci 2007;262(1-2):15-26. View abstract.

Sarles H. [Etiopathogenesis of chronic nutritional pancreatitis]. Reprod Nutr Dev 1987;27(3):611-25. View abstract.

Singh JD. The teratogenic effects of dietary Cassava on the pregnant albino rat: a preliminary report. Teratology 1981;24(3):289-91. View abstract.

Siritunga D, Sayre R. Transgenic approaches for cyanogen reduction in cassava. J AOAC Int 2007;90(5):1450-5. View abstract.

Siritunga D, Sayre RT. Generation of cyanogen-free transgenic cassava. Planta 2003;217(3):367-73. View abstract.

Spencer PS, Ludolph AC, Kisby GE. Neurologic diseases associated with use of plant components with toxic potential. Environ Res 1993;62(1):106-13. View abstract.

Teles FF. Chronic poisoning by hydrogen cyanide in cassava and its prevention in Africa and Latin America. Food Nutr Bull 2002;23(4):407-12. View abstract.

Thilly CH, Vanderpas JB, Bebe N, et al. Iodine deficiency, other trace elements, and goitrogenic factors in the etiopathogeny of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). Biol Trace Elem Res 1992;32:229-43. View abstract.

Tucker K, Hedges TR. Food shortages and an epidemic of optic and peripheral neuropathy in Cuba. Nutr Rev 1993;51(12):349-57. View abstract.

Tylleskar T, Banea M, Bikangi N, et al. Cassava cyanogens and konzo, an upper motoneuron disease found in Africa. Lancet 1992;339(8787):208-11. View abstract.

Vetter J. Plant cyanogenic glycosides. Toxicon 2000;38(1):11-36. View abstract.

White WLB, Arias-Garzon DI, McMahon JM, Sayre RT. Cyanogenesis in cassava. The role of hydroxynitrile lyase in root cyanide production. Plant Physiol 1998;116(4):1219-25. View abstract.

Wilson J. Cyanide in human disease: a review of clinical and laboratory evidence. Fundam Appl Toxicol 1983;3(5):397-9. View abstract.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors