Arrowroot Benefits, What is Arrowroot

Arrowroot benefits, evidence-based information on herbs and botanicals, What is Arrowroot , Arrowroot health benefits, home remedies and natural cures.

Growing to a height of up to 6 ft (2 m), arrowroot is a tropical perennial with clusters of long, thin stems and

small, cream-colored flowers that grow in pairs. Once revered by the ancient Mayans and other inhabitants of Central America as an antidote for poison-tipped arrows, the herb is mainly used today to soothe the stomach and alleviate diarrhea. It has also been popular for centuries in the culinary arts and is still used in many American kitchens as a thickening agent. While arrowroot is native to Central America and widely cultivated in the West Indies, it can also be found growing in many tropical regions of the world, including Southeast Asia, South Africa, Australia, and in Florida in the United States. The Latin genus Maranta was derived from the name of an Italian doctor, Bartommeo Maranto.

Arrowroot, which belongs to the Marantaceae plant family, is widely considered an easily digested and nutritious starch. The herb is extracted from the fleshy roots, called rhizomes, of the arrowroot plant through an elaborate process of washing, peeling, soaking, and drying in the sun. The end product is a fine, white powder with the same appearance and texture as cornstarch. Arrowroot is valued by herbalists primarily for its demulcent and an-tidiarrheal properties. Exactly how it produces its therapeutic effects is not known. The chemical composition of the herb has not been thoroughly investigated.

While only Maranta arundinacea is considered true arrowroot, the common name for the herb is often applied to a variety of starches. These include other species of Maranta, such as Maranta ramosissima, Maranta al-louya, Maranta nobilis, as well as Brazilian arrowroot (Manihot utilissima or Manihot palmate), Tahitian arrowroot (Tacca oceanica), and East Indian arrowroot (Curcuma augustifolia ). While some of these starches may be chemically similar to true arrowroot, it is not clear if they produce the same medicinal effects. Consumers interested in trying arrowroot are advised to choose Maranta arundinacea, which is sometimes referred to as West Indian arrowroot or simply Maranta.

As of 2000, much research is still required to determine if arrowroot can produce significant health benefits safely and effectively. The proper dosage of the herb has also yet to be determined.

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