What Is Arrowroot Powder?
Arrowroot or arrowroot starch is a powdery product extracted from the roots of the arrowroot plant Maranta arundinaceae. Arrowroot plant is native to South America. It is a small perennial herb with broad, flat, ovate shaped leaves and grows to a height of 3 to 5 feet. The root is underground and is a small, cylindrical shaped cream-white/light red tuber, covered with thin surface scales.
They contain about 23% starch. Before extracting the starch, they are washed and the scales are removed to avoid any disagreeable flavor. The roots are washed, drained and reduced to a pulp by beating them in mortars. This milky liquid is passed through a coarse cloth and the insoluble pure starch is allowed to settle at the bottom. This starch is dried in the sun or “drying house” resulting in the formation of arrowroot powder. This powder is fine, clear white and odorless, and used as a thickening agent in food industries.
Arrowroot starch is mostly used as a thickener in foods such as puddings and sauces. Its thickening power is twice that of regular flour. It should be mixed with cold water before being added to a hot liquid to prevent clumping. It is also used in cookies and crackers as a substitute for regular flour and hence, is a great option for those who are gluten-intolerant. Arrowroot biscuits are available in stores and are believed to soothe the stomach.
Arrowroot Health Benefits:
The easy digestibility and ability to mix well with a wide range of food ingredients make arrowroot the most sought after starch in infant formulas and confectionary. In addition to its culinary uses, it offers several health benefits given below.
1. Aids in Digestion:
Arrowroot aids in digestion and regulates bowel movement. Its high starch content acts as a mild laxative for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. The demulcent effects of arrowroot powder can soothe the bowels in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Arrowroot starch is also considered as an effective remedy for diarrhea and a lot of other gastrointestinal ailments. It can relieve nausea and replace nutrients that are lost due to diarrhea and vomiting.
2. Maintains Acid and Alkali Balances:
Calcium ash is the only starch product present in arrowroot. This calcium chloride in the form of calcium is vital for the maintenance of proper acid and alkali balances in the human body.
3. Suitable for Infants:
Being easily digestible in comparison to other starches, it is suitable for infants. It can be made into a jelly to feed newly weaned infants. It can also be used as an alternative to breast milk as it is easily digestible.
Arrowroot is a great alternative for those who are allergic to corn and gluten. It can be used as a substitute for wheat flour and is a popular ingredient in gluten free baking.
5. Antidote for Poisoning:
Arrowroot is often used as an antidote for certain types of vegetable poison in some regions. Ground arrowroot rhizomes are applied over wounds and insect bites and are said to be effective in drawing out poison from the bites of scorpions, spiders etc.
[Read:Benefits Of Horseradish]
6. Beneficial in Pregnancy:
Fresh roots are a good source of folates which are vital during pregnancy. A 100 gram serving of arrowroot provides about 338 µg or 84% of the daily required levels of folates. Along with vitamin B-12, folate is an essential component in DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate consumption of folate during preconception periods and during pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects and other congenital malformations in the offspring.
7. Facilitates Weight Loss:
Arrowroot is fat free and low in calories. This makes it beneficial for weight loss. You can conveniently use it in sauces and soups without worrying about increased fat content or calories.
8. Heart Health:
Arrowroot is an excellent source of potassium which is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
Arrowroot Skin Benefits:
Arrowroot is a great herbal remedy for treating various skin problems. It can be beneficial for your skin in the following ways.
9. Treatment of Small Pox and Gangrene:
Arrowroot is an herbal treatment for small pox and gangrene that can cause skin infection and itchiness.
10. Baby Powder:
In South America, arrowroot starch is used as a baby powder. It is a light weight white powder, which, when applied to the skin, gives a soft and smooth feel.
11. Used in Moisturizers and Talcum Powders:
Arrowroot starch is used in talcum powders and moisturizers as a thickening agent. When used in cosmetics, it enables active ingredients to penetrate the upper levels of your skin as it has great moisture absorbing qualities. Arrowroot is often used in body powders to make your skin silkier and smoother. It softens your skin by enabling it to absorb moisture.
12. Treatment of Skin Problems:
Arrowroot powder is light, soft and absorbent. It is used in making body powders. When applied topically, it helps dry up blemishes, rashes, or other sores or wounds.
13. Treatment of Athlete’s foot:
Arrowroot is used to control moisture while dealing with foot problems such as athlete’s foot. Since it does not possess antifungal properties, it is used for moisture control only.
14. Healing Qualities:
Arrowroot has great healing qualities. It is made into a poultice and applied topically to treat rhizomes, ulcers and wounds. In Africa, it is used as a source of nourishment and for treatment of sunburns.
Arrowroot Hair Benefits:
Arrowroot is widely used in cosmetic products as a thickening agent. Though not much is known about its benefits for hair, its nutritional value does make it beneficial in hair care.
15. Used in Hair Dyes:
Due to its excellent thickening properties and ability to mix with other ingredients, arrowroot is often used in hair dyes.
[Read:Benefits Of Beta Carotene]
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