Arrowroot is a starch obtained from the rhizomes (rootstock) of several tropical plants, traditionally Maranta arundinacea, but also Florida arrowroot from Zamia integrifolia, and tapioca from cassava (Manihot esculenta), which is often labelled as arrowroot. Polynesian arrowroot or pia (Tacca leontopetaloides), and Japanese arrowroot (Pueraria lobata), also called kudzu, are used in similar ways.
Arrowroot Health Benefits
- Arrowroot is used as a nutritional food for infants and for people recovering from illness.
- It is also used for stomach and intestinal disorders, including diarrhea. Full of undigestible fiber that feeds good bacteria and soothes mucous membranes.
- Dietary fiber can help to clear out excess cholesterol, further promoting cardiovascular health.
- Some people sooth painful gums and sore mouth by applying arrowroot directly to the affected area.
- Babies cut teeth on arrowroot cookies. The anti-inflammatory effects sooth irritated gums.
- Intestinal problem (irritable bowel syndrome, IBS). Early research suggests that taking powdered arrowroot three times per day with meals for one month reduces stomach pain and diarrhea in people with IBS.
- The significant levels of potassium found in arrowroot mean that it can be a definite line of defense against heart-related issues. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it relaxes the tension in the blood vessels and arteries, thereby lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
- It fights various foodborne pathogens such as salmonella virus, preparing the body’s defense system against various diseases and disorders. Researchers have demonstrated the antibacterial effect of the use of arrowroot tea extracts on soups.
- One particular member of the B family of vitamins is folate, and it is found in high levels within arrowroot. Studies have shown that folate is important for expecting mothers, as it can help to prevent neural tube defects in their unborn child. Folate is also an important factor in DNA synthesis and healthy cell division, thereby promoting rapid healing and healthy growth.
- Arrowroot is extremely low in calories as compared to other starches like yams, potatoes or cassava. For this reason, people trying to remain on a diet can get complex carbohydrates and a wealth of nutrients, as well as a healthy dose of dietary fiber, which can eliminate the desire to snack between meals.
- Athlete’s foot is a common skin infection of the feet caused by fungus. You can use arrowroot powder to treat this infection by applying it to the affected area. The powder has the ability to absorb moisture and sweat, which makes it difficult for the fungus to grow and spread.
- Arrowroot powder is also used as a dry shampoo by many. Its moisture-absorbing ability is useful in reducing the greasiness in hair.
- The anti-inflammatory properties of arrowroot aids in curing bladder infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Doctors advise its intake to those women who face frequent infections.
- The essential minerals present in arrowroot are very good for fighting weakness, fatigue, and cognitive disorders. It also encourages oxygenation of your body’s organ systems and extremities, which can boost your energy levels.
- Topical application of arrowroot powder heals wounds from black spider and scorpion bites.
- The powder was used to treat the injury from poisoned arrows, hence, the name
- Apply the powder in the affected area to seize gangrene.
- Directly apply arrowroot powder to the gums or mix it in juice or other beverages and drink it to get relief from mouth and gum pain.
Arrowroot Nutritional Facts
Arrowroot is a rich source of carbohydrates, vitamin B9, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and phosphorus. It also has trace amounts of zinc and iron, as well as vitamin B1 and B6. Saturated and unsaturated fatty acids are also found in it in negligible amounts. In addition, it contains fibers and some proteins and lipids too.
Arrowroot in Cooking
- Arrowroot makes clear, shimmering fruit gels and prevents ice crystals from forming in homemade ice cream. It can also be used as a thickener for acidic foods, such as Asian sweet and sour sauce. It is used in cooking to produce a clear, thickened sauce, such as a fruit sauce. It will not make the sauce go cloudy, like cornstarch, flour, or other starchy thickening agents would.
- The lack of gluten in arrowroot flour makes it useful as a replacement for wheat flour for those with a gluten intolerance. It is, however, relatively high in carbohydrates and low in protein (approximately 7.7%) and does not provide a complete substitute for wheat flour in bread-making.
- Arrowroot thickens at a lower temperature than flour or cornstarch, is not weakened by acidic ingredients, has a more neutral taste, and is not affected by freezing. It does not mix well with dairy, forming a slimy mixture.
- It is recommended that arrowroot be mixed with a cool liquid before adding to a hot fluid. The mixture should be heated only until the mixture thickens and removed immediately to prevent the mixture from thinning. Overheating tends to break down arrowroot’s thickening property.
- Two teaspoons of arrowroot can be substituted for one tablespoon of cornstarch, or one teaspoon of arrowroot for one tablespoon of wheat flour.
- Prepare crunchy fries by dipping potatoes in salt pepper and arrowroot powder and then fry them.
- It can be substituted for eggs as a binder.
Word of Caution: Care should be taken when consuming arrowroot to alleviate diarrhea. Because excess intake or consuming along with other medicines may cause constipation. Other than that, there is no known danger or toxicity to arrowroot.