ECHOcommunity Conversations

Do I have to boil chaya? What about other cooking methods?

Do different cooking techniques other than boiling also release HCN such as frying in oil or drying into powder? If so, how long do these processing methods take in order for chaya parts to be safely consumed?

A combination of chopping and 3-day wilting before drying was effective in lowering the cyanide concentration in cassava leaves from 1436 to 55 ppm HCN (Ravindran 1987). Chopping and wilting might have a similar effect for chaya leaves. Has anyone else tried to dry down the leaves and use it in powdered form? Or has anyone tried frying it in oil?

I have dried Chaya and ground it to a powder, but I did not know about Cyantesmo paper at the time and never determined if drying had the same effect as boiling. I added a 5-gal bucket full of Chaya leaves to a clothes dryer and ran it for at least an hour, recording temperatures close to 200 degF. For this reason, I expect that there was no cyanide left, but I only added the powder to soups that would cook for at least 20 minutes, just in case.


I just read an enlightening journal article about how the ingestion of >170g/day of Cassava that has high levels of HCN likely has lead to a high level of protection (very low mortality rates) against Covid-19 in Africa, even amongst those who never were vaccinated. The full mechanisms for this action are explained in the journal article cited below.

My question is what amount of Chaya leaves that are boiled for LESS than 20 minutes (10 minutes? 5 minutes?) might confer a similar level of protection against these pandemic viruses, without the risk of cyanide poisoning?

see: Ingestion of Cyanogens from Cassava Generates Disinfectant Hypothiocyanite That May Decrease the Transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2]
By Jonathan D. Kaunitz 2021