Arrowroot Powder: 5 Benefits Of This Gluten-Free Ingredient

Give your diet and your gut health a helpful boost with this nutritious starch.

Medically Reviewed by Kelly MulhallKelly Mulhall, DIP NT, mBANT, mANP, mGNC
By Ravi Teja TadimallaRavi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health  • 

The many benefits of arrowroot powder make this popular dietary supplement a must-have. Arrowroot is a gluten-free starch obtained from the rhizomes of tropical plants. Since 5000 BC, it has been cultivated as a food starch and is an effective remedy for diarrhea (1). Research suggests that arrowroot flour may also help manage diabetes and can be used to prepare diabetic-friendly snack bars (2).

This article discusses the benefits of arrowroot powder, its nutritional profile, how to use it, and any potential side effects. Take a look.

Stylecraze Trivia
The word arrowroot is derived from the term “aru-aru” (meaning “meal of meals”), coined by the Arawak people of the Caribbean.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Arrowroot Powder?

Arrowroot is gluten-free, and this means it could be an ideal addition to the diet of those who are gluten-sensitive. The powder is also rich in fiber, and this is another reason you can include it in your diet. Some research shows that arrowroot may also help in the management of diabetes.

1. Can Promote Digestive Health

Arrowroot powder may promote digestive health


Preliminary studies show that arrowroot powder can help treat diarrhea in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (1). In the study, arrowroot powder could also reduce daytime bowel frequency and help relieve constipation in certain subjects.

The starch in arrowroot powder may aid in the fermentation of intestinal bacteria. This increases fecal bulk and results in efficient bowel action (1). In certain individuals, this may mean lesser abdominal pain in the long run.

Arrowroot is a powerful source of starch. Consuming it means more starch enters your colon. Starch acts as fodder for colonic bacteria, stimulating and proliferating their turnover rate. This also may promote digestive health (1).

2. Is Gluten-Free

Arrowroot powder is gluten-free


Arrowroot starch is gluten-free. Gluten-free products, in general, contain starch. The starch plays a role in gelling, thickening, adhesion, stabilizing, and texturizing (3).

Some reports suggest that arrowroot starch may also help in the management of celiac disease (4).

You can try including arrowroot in your gluten-free cooking. You can use the powder to thicken puddings or sweet pie fillings. Substitute baking powder with arrowroot powder. Arrowroot starch is also an ideal replacement for eggs in baked goods.

3. Can Be Good For Babies

Arrowroot powder may be good for babies health


The gluten-free property of arrowroot can make it a healthier alternative for babies. Also, arrowroot has high digestibility. Some people believe that it can soothe an upset stomach (5).

Though there is no direct research stating the effects of arrowroot on babies, its easy digestibility (and lack of gluten) could make it safe for infants.

4. May Boost Immune Function

Arrowroot powder might boost immunity


Arrowroot powder was found to stimulate the immune system in mice studies. This effect was attributed to the resistant starch in the powder, which may act as dietary fiber (5).

In the normal digestive process, the resistant starch in arrowroot powder releases glucose and oligosaccharides. The oligosaccharides are indigestible and could play an important role in modulating the immune system (5).

Another study with arrowroot tea showed the root might effectively inhibit the microbial growth of both gram-negative and gram-positive foodborne pathogens (6).

This effect of arrowroot tea was especially true with liquid foods, including ground beef and mushroom soup (6).

5. May Aid Diabetes Treatment

Arrowroot powder may aid diabetes treatment


Boiled arrowroot has a low glycemic index of 14 and could be included in a diabetes diet. The tuber is a promising ingredient in the production of low GI cookies (7).

However, information about arrowroot and its antidiabetic properties is limited. If you have diabetes and want to use arrowroot to manage the condition, please consult your doctor.

Most benefits of arrowroot are still being researched. Some anecdotal evidence suggests its efficacy in promoting oral health and treating urinary tract infections. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove these claims.

There are other ways of using arrowroot. In the following section, we will explore them.

How Else Can You Use Arrowroot Powder?

The cosmetic uses of arrowroot are not scientifically proven, but anecdotal evidence supports them. Following are a few ways you can use this starch to enhance your appearance:

  • As A Base For Makeup: If you are into DIY makeup, arrowroot can help. A blend of this starch, along with cinnamon and cocoa powder, can make for a perfect foundation.
  • As A Dry Shampoo: Massage the starch powder into your scalp and the first couple of inches of your hair. Proponents claim that the powder will absorb the oils in the scalp and make hair clean and bouncy.
  • A Homemade Acne Treatment: The starch can absorb excess sebum oils and penetrate the skin, thereby offering natural healing.
StyleCraze Says
Arrowroot was often adulterated with potato starch and other similar substances in the past. Pure arrowroot powder has a smoother consistency than adulterated powder.

How Do You Use Arrowroot Powder In Cooking?

Arrowroot is healthy, and using it in cooking is simple. The following tips can help:

  • You can use arrowroot powder as a thickener. Use it to thicken soups, stews, and gravies.
  • You can also use it to make fried food crunchier.
  • Mix arrowroot powder into beverages (like juice) and drink straight.
  • Use the powder in high-heat cooking. It will break down easily if used for prolonged high-heat cooking. You can also use it instead of cornstarch.
  • Use the powder in baking and desserts as it gives more structure to the finished product.
  • Replace eggs in your baking dishes with arrowroot powder.
StyleCraze Says
It is advised to combine arrowroot with a cool liquid first, then add that mixture to a hot liquid. This is because overheating may disrupt the arrowroot’s ability to thicken.

In the following section, we will look at the nutritional profile of arrowroot. This will give you more insight into the nutrients in the tuber that is responsible for its benefits.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Arrowroot Powder?

NutrientUnit1Value per 100 g1 cup, sliced = 120.0g1 root = 33.0g
Total lipid (fat)g0.20.240.07
Carbohydrate, by differenceg13.3916.074.42
Fiber, total dietaryg1.31.60.4
Calcium, Camg672
Iron, Femg2.222.660.73
Magnesium, Mgmg25308
Phosphorus, Pmg9811832
Potassium, Kmg454545150
Sodium, Namg26319
Zinc, Znmg0.630.760.21
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg1.92.30.6
Vitamin B-6mg0.2660.3190.088
Folate, DFEg338406112
Vitamin A, RAEg110
Vitamin A, IUIU19236
Fatty acids, total saturatedg0.0390.0470.013
Fatty acids, total monounsaturatedg0.0040.0050.001
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturatedg0.0920.110.03

*values sourced from USDA, arrowroot, raw

As we mentioned earlier, arrowroot is versatile. It can be used in various ways. But does this mean anyone can consume it? Or does it have any contraindications?

What Are The Side Effects Of Arrowroot Powder?

Arrowroot is generally safe for most people. There are no proven interactions or side effects with respect to arrowroot.

However, there was a case of toxic hepatitis in two Korean women after the intake of arrowroot juice (8). The symptoms included nausea, vomiting, and jaundice. The study highlights the possibility of toxic hepatitis following the ingestion of arrowroot juice. Hence, please consult your physician before consuming an arrowroot.

Infographic: Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder is a delightful gluten-free thickening agent packed with many beneficial nutrients. Its health benefits are numerous, and you can use it in a variety of dishes.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about its availability worldwide, the types of arrowroot available on the market, and the ways to rejuvenate your skin with it.

arrowroot powder [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Arrowroot powder is a popular diet supplement especially for people with diabetes. A gluten-free starch, obtained from the roots of tropical plants, arrowroot powder helps in managing diabetes and acts as a safe remedy for diarrhea, especially in babies. While its nutritional benefits are still being studied, arrowroot powder benefits are widely used in cosmetic and makeup applications in formulations of dry shampoo, and talc-free dusting powders. While arrowroot powder is deemed safe, you should stay away from arrowroot juice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What forms are arrowroot available in?

Arrowroot is most commonly available in the powder form and is called arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch.

What is a substitute for arrowroot powder?

The best substitute for arrowroot powder is instant tapioca. This tapioca also holds for long cooking times. Remember to grind it finely before using, or you may find little tapioca balls in the finished dish (as tapioca doesn’t completely dissolve in water).

How is arrowroot powder/flour different from cornstarch? Which of the two is healthier?

While arrowroot is starch extracted from the tubers from the Marantaceae family, cornstarch is starch extracted from the endosperm of a corn kernel.
More importantly, cornstarch might have an association with GMO, but arrowroot doesn’t.
Cornstarch comes from grains and could be high in protein and fat. It needs a higher temperature for thickening. On the other hand, arrowroot has less protein and fat and requires a lower temperature for thickening.
Arrowroot flour seems to be the healthier alternative, although we need more research to understand how. However, you can replace cornstarch with arrowroot in your cooking.


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