Semecarpus anacardium is classified in Ayurveda under the category of toxic plants. However, this toxic plant is reported to possess anti-inflammatory activity, anti-arthritic effect, antioxidant activity, antimicrobial activity, anti- carcinogenic activity, hypoglycemic activity, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, and hypolipidemic activity etc. All these activities are attributed to its various constituents like phenolic compounds, flavonoids, carbohydrates, alkaloids, steroids, etc. In Ayurveda, a series of pharmaceutical procedures which converts a poisonous drug into a safe and therapeutically effective medicine is termed as Shodhana. Shodhana improves the yield, decreases the phenolic and flavonoid content; and converts toxic urushiol into nontoxic anacardol derivative thereby reducing toxicity of nuts of Semecarpus anacardium. There are reports of alteration in pharmacology and phytochemistry of nuts of Semecarpus anacardium due to Shodhana.
Part of the book: Alternative Medicine