What Is Arrowroot Powder?
Arrowroot or arrowroot starch is a powdery product extracted from the roots of the arrowroot plant Maranta arundinaceae. The arrowroot plant or also known as ‘Ararot‘ in Hindi 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. 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 is 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 the arrowroot the most sought-after starch in infant formulas and confectionaries. In addition to its culinary uses, it offers several health benefits as given below.
1. Aids Digestion:
Arrowroot aids digestion and regulates the 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 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 that 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 B12, folate is an essential component in DNA synthesis and cell division. The adequate consumption of folate during the 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 the 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 lightweight, 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.
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