Kamoteng-kahoi is an erect, smooth, half-woody
or shrubby plant, 1.5 to 3 meters in height, growing from stout and
fleshy roots. Leaves are alternate and smooth (except for some of the upper leaves, which are entire) and dividing to the base into three to seven narrow segments, 10 to 20 centimeters long.
Flowers are about 1 centimeter long. Fruit is a capsule, ovoid,1.5 centimeter long, with six,
narrow longitudinal wings.
- Planted or semicultivated in settled areas
throughout the Philippines for its fleshy and starchy roots.
- Introduced from Mexico in the early colonial period.
• Mandiocin, a glucoside, has been isolated from the leaves.
• Study reports poison of the manioc plant is hydrocyanic or prussic acid, in the tissues, free or combined with a glucoside. The glucoside, phaseolunatin, is also found in various beans, rendering them poisonous.
• In nature, the hydrocyanic acid bound with the glucoside is held in check; but after the root is dug and as wilting occurs, the hydrocyanic acid is freed from the glucoside, and once harmless root, now stale, becomes poisonous.
• Most of the poisonous hydrocyanic acid from the cortical layers
of the roots is removed by thorough peeling of the tubers.
• Tuber contains 26 to 40% starch and 1.5 fo 2 percent proteids.
• Cassava leaves yield flavonoids, saponins and vitamin C.
• Study on the chemical composition of stalks: ashes 4.97%, cold water extraction 12.04%, hot water extraction 12.57%, 1% sodium hydroxide solution extraction 34.16%, benzene-alcohol solution extraction 4.20%, nitric acid-alcohol cellulose 35.86%, holo-cellulose 72.62%, pentosan 19.20%, acid-soluble lignin 2.51%, acid-insoluble lignin 26.10%, organic solvent-soluble lignin 1.07%, pectin content is 0.02%. (13)
• Two well-known varieties: bitter and sweet.
• The bitter, more robust and planted for its starch, the source of tapioca. The roots
containing hydrocyanic acid, considered poisonous but easily dissipated
• The root, harmless when fresh, becomes poisonous when stale.
Thorough peeling of the tubers before cooking removes the chance of
poisoning. The sweet variety is grown for use as a vegetable.
• Sweet cassava is not as good a starch producer as the bitter
kind, but is non-poisonous, tasty and grown for use as vegetable.
• Tubers considered antiseptic
• Roots considered
appetizer, aperient, vulnerary, tonic.
• Bark of trunk considered anti-rheumatic.
• Leaves reported to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity.
Tuber, leaves, bark, latex.
Edibility / Nutrition
- Source of tapioca.
- Sweet cassava is not as good a starch producer as the bitter
kind, but is non-poisonous, tasty and grown for use as vegetable.
- In the Philippines, tender leaves used as wrapping and as ingredient in vegetable stews.
- Tender leaves used as food among the Indians of Brazil; also of widespread use in Malaysia.
- One of the staple food crops in many regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
- In Indonesia, cassava roots used as alternative staple food and tapioca flour as wheat flour substitute in making bread and cookies.
- Leaves used for measles,
small pox, chicken pox, and/or skin rashes.
- Used as flour for starch bath.
- Remove peelings and grate the tuber. Extract the juice, add enough water
for a baby tub bath and boil.
- Poultice of fresh rhizome used for ulcers.
- Leaf sap latex used for eye conditions.
- Decoction of trunk bark used for rheumatism.
- Poultice of fresh rhizome applied to ulcers.
- In West Tropical Africa, compress of powdered
leaves used for fevers and headaches.
- In Cambodia, pounded tubers used for ulcerated
- In Brazil, ointment useful for ulcers of
the cornea; also used to preserve meat.
- In Malaysia, used for headaches, colds, fever and to treat constipation.
- In Guiana boiled down to a syrup and used as aperient.
- In Nigeria used in the treatment of ringworm, tumor, conjunctivitis, sores and abscesses.
- Fish Poison: Fruit used as fish poison in Brazil and California.
• Antimicrobial Activity of Cassava Seed
Oil on Skin Pathogenic Microorganisms: Study
showed Cassava seed oil had inhibitory effect on the growth of all test
isolates (Staph aureus, Propionibacterium acne, E coli, Pityrospoium
ovale and C albicans). (1)
• Antibacterial / Low Toxicity: The in vitro Antibacterial
Activity and Brine Shrimp Toxicity of Manihot esculenta Extracts:
Chloroform extracts exhibited antibacterial activity against L. moncytogenes,
V cholera, Shigella flexneri, S typhi white ethanol extracts was effective
against P aeruginosa, C diphtheria and V cholera. (2)
• Antiamoebicidal Activity : In a study on the in-vitro effects of extracts on E. histolytica,
Manihot esculenta was one of 10 extracts that showed ≥ 50% antiamoebic
activity at 96 hours. (3)
• Antitumor Activity: A study has suggested antitumor activity attributed to its triterpenes.
• Decreased Alcohol Toxicity / Increased
Cassava Toxicity: Contrary
to expectations that consumption of alcohol with a cassava rich diet
would potentiate the toxicity of alcohol, co-administration reduced
the toxicity of alcohol and potentiated the toxicity of cassava. The
protection by cassava on alcohol-induced toxicity may be due to micronutrients
like vitamins B and C. However, the toxicity of cassava was potentiated
by consumption of alcohol as shown by the degeneration of hepatocytes
and cell death. (4)
• Lipid Content of Young Leaves: Study showed young cassava leaves to have low content of lipids
(3.02%). Analysis of the fatty acid composition of each of the leaf
lipids showed that, with the exception of of steryl esters, all leaf
lipids have a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. (5)
• Anthelmintic: A study on fresh cassava leaves incorporated into the diets of
West African goats in Cameroon showed decrease in helmintic and coccidia
• Analgesic: Ethanol extract of cassava leaves in mice showed an analgesic effect of similar potency as paracetamol.
• Novel Binder for Paracetamol Tablets: Study showed paracetamol tablets manufactured by using Manihot esculenta starch is better in friability and hardness than those made of industrial starch (Maize). Results showed increased disintegration time and binding capacity. It presents a potential as a cheaper alternative to the tablet manufacturing industry.
•α-Cellulose from Waste Stems: Study showed the waste stems of Manihot esculenta to have a high cellulose content. Study evaluated the use of the α-cellulose for paper. As raw material it yielded fiber 65.38%, leather waste 29.01%, waste cambium levels of 5.61%, and α-cellulose 56.82%. Stages of investigation included prehidrolisis, delignification and bleaching stages and analysis of α-cellulose. (14)
• Biodegradable Plastic Using Cassava Starch: Study investigated the production of biodegradable plastic using cassava starch as its main component. Cassava starch was mixed with water, epoxydized soya bean oil, glycerol, and polyvinyl alcohol. Material produced yielded desirable mechanical properties and proven to be biodegradable.
• Anthelmintic / Leaf Extract / Trichostrongyloid Larvae: Study evaluated the anthelmintic activity of Cassava leaves extract against larvae of Trichostrongyloidnematodes using larval paralysis time. Results showed the extract can be used to control the infective stage of trichostrongyloid parasites in small ruminants. (17)
• Cyanogenic Glucosides / Linamarin: (1) Cassava is a dietary staple in many tropical
countries. In times of famine, it may be the only food available. Tissues
of all cassava cultivars have been found to have varying amounts of cyanogenic
glucosides. (2) Presence of cyanoglycosides, linamarin (93%) and lotaustralin
(methyl linamarin, 3%) pose potential toxic effects. Linamarin is hydrolyzed
by intestinal luminal bacterial ß-glucosidases to release hydrogen
cyanide which can cause acute poisoning. Although traditional methods
of cooking (boiling and decanting) and processing remove cyanoglycosides,
some residual amounts and toxicity remains.
• In Asia, cassava is processed to make cassava chips and tapioca.
In rural Philippines, it is a common and accessible snack fare consumed
after simple boiling or frying.
• A Kwashiorkor Etiology Hypothesis / Cassava
and Linamarin: A study hypothesizes that intact linamarin from cassava
diets cause Na-K-ATPase inhibition with consequent electrolyte imbalances
and potassium depletion, which may results in renal tubular nephrosis,
subsequent proteinuria and hypoalbuminemia, hepatocellular damage, pancreatic
dysfunction, muscle wasting–all features of kwashiorkor. (6)
• Toxicity Study in Rats After Traditional Processing: In Sudan and other countries, cassava roots are consumed mainly as flour. It was suspected that traditional processing was not enough to eliminate all the toxic cyanogenic glycosides. Study in Wistar rats evaluating aqueous and methanolic extracts of tubercular roots after traditional processing reported toxic causing alterations on various serobiochemical and hematological parameters with correlating dysfunction of vital organs. Toxicity was attributed to the presence of cyanogenic glycoside - linamarin and lotaustralin. (10)
Common backyard planting and market produce.