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Arrowroot Powder: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction: 

Arrowroot powder is a gluten-free product, and the scientific name is Maranta arundinaceae which belongs to the Marantaceae family. In India, arrowroot flour is called ‘aru’ or ‘aru-aru,’ and in Portuguese, it is called ‘araruta.’ This plant is derived from the tropical areas of South America and it appears in the Southeast region of brazil to till the Guianas. It is termed an ‘arrowroot’ maybe because it resembles the shape of a rhizome or because it is used as a neutralizer to wound dressing. This plant is widely cultivated in Brazil and is the most common ingredient in home preparations for food.1 Let us discuss some more health benefits of the arrowroot.  

arrowroot powder in a bowl

Did you know?

  • Arrowroot powder is a potential source of prebiotics and resistant starch. source: PMC
  • The consumption of arrowroot powder can enhance the production of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, in the caecum. source: PMC
  • Arrowroot powder has potential as a dietary fiber that can modulate the immune system. source: PMC
  • Arrowroot powder has been used in traditional medicine to treat digestive issues and diarrhea. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Arrowroot powder is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, iron, and calcium. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov

Nutritional Value of Arrowroot powder: 

The arrowroot powder contains the following nutrients: 

Nutrients Amount per 100 g 
Protein 0.3 g 
Fat 0.1 g 
Carbohydrate 88.2 g 
Fibre 3.4 g 
Water  11.4 g 
Energy  357 kcal 
Iron 0.33 mg 
Calcium 40 mg 
Potassium 11 mg 
Phosphorus 5 mg 
Magnesium 3 mg 
Manganese  0.47 mg 
Zinc 0.07 mg 
Copper 0.04 mg 
Sodium 2 mg 
Vitamin B1 0.001 mg 
Vitamin B5  0.13 mg 
Vitamin B6 0.005 mg 
Vitamin B9 7 µg 

Table 1: Nutrients present in 100 g of arrowroot powder.2 

Studies have shown that the consumption of Arrowroot powder may relieve Urinary Tract Infections. Arrowroot powder is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that may aid in infections.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Also Read: Shankh Bhasm: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Properties of Arrowroot powder:  

The arrowroot powder may have the following properties: 

  • It might act as antioxidant  
  • It may boost immunity1 
  • It may relieve pain 
  • It might have anti-cancer potential 
  • It may have antibacterial activity 
  • It might have anti-viral activity 
  • It may have anti-allergic activity 
  • It may induce sleep 
  • It may have antispasmodic property 
  • It may have hyperglycaemic activity 
  • It may have Hypercholesterolemia activity 
  • It might have antidiarrheal property 
  • It might have antidysentery activity3 
  • It may have anti-inflammatory property4 ,

Also Read: Tea Tree: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More!

Fun fact: I recently read in a study that due to the presence of high fibre content and amylose, Arrowroot may be used as an alternative to regular flour for chapatis. Arrowroot is known for its use in homoeopathy for numerous ailments and this added fact makes it a potential superfood.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Potential Uses of Arrowroot powder for Overall Health:  

Arrowroot powder contains several nutrients that may have potential uses for the human body. Some of the potential uses are as follows: 

1. Potential uses of arrowroot powder for boosting immunity 

Arrowroot may contain bioactive compounds like flavonoids that may help in boosting immunity. It may also increase the level of antioxidants (Killing free radicals) and may help in fighting against diseases.3 

2. Potential uses of arrowroot powder as prebiotic 

As per the study by Harmayani et. al. arrowroot powder might be a possible source of prebiotics. Prebiotics may help in the maintenance of good bacteria in the gut and may be helpful in digestion. It has also been studied in the research that it might have antidiarrheal activity. As arrowroot may have prebiotic activity, it may help in absorbing nutrients and improve the stomach’s microbiological properties.3 However, more research is required on prebiotics.  

3. Potential uses of arrowroot powder for mouth 

Studies reported that arrowroot may be useful for relieving oral pain such as gingivitis (gum inflammation). Arrowroot may have anti-inflammatory properties that might be useful for inflammatory diseases of the mouth. It may also have antibacterial and antifungal properties. These properties of arrowroot powder may help in healing mouth-related conditions.  4 However, do not self-medicate and consult a dentist if you have any dental-related issues. 

4. Potential uses of arrowroot powder for heart 

Arrowroot might be good for the heart and studies showed that it may improve the heart rate and may boost immunity. Arrowroot may improve blood circulation and prevent heart diseases such as congestive heart failure.4 If you have any heart condition, please do consult your doctor, and do not self-medicate. 

5. Potential uses of arrowroot powder as a gluten-free food 

Some people are intolerant to gluten-containing food and get allergies when they consume gluten-related foods. The only choice is the total removal of gluten from the diet. Arrowroot may help in the preparation of gluten-free products as it might have a lower content of phenylalanine (protein) in it. Several gluten-free products, such as ice cream stabilizers, bread, and infant formulas, are made from arrowroot. However, more studies are required.1 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of arrowroot powder in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of arrowroot powder on human health. 

Other than uses medicinal benefits, Arrowroot powder has a potential role in cosmetics as well. Studies say that Arrowroot has the capability of absorbing extra oil from the skin which in turn enhances skin rejuvenation. Hence, it may be used in cosmetic products as well.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

Also Read: Barley: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

How to Use Arrowroot powder? 

Arrowroot powder may be used to make: 

  • Tea 
  • Boiling in water 
  • In milk 
  • Preparing food items such as cookies, soup, sauces, gravies, pancakes, pudding, and custards.1,4,5 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking arrowroot in large quantities or any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

It is believed that Arrowroot powder may be safe and nutritious for expecting mothers. Arrowroot powder has proven rich source of Vitamin B9 and Iron, which is believed to help babies grow healthy. Though, I would suggest that expecting mothers still consult their doctors before consuming the powder and avoid self-medication.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, MD

Also Read: Burdock Root Benefits: Revealing Research-Based Health Advantages

Side Effects of Arrowroot powder: 

Arrowroot powder is considered safe; however, there is no sufficient information on its consumption in large quantities. In addition, individuals who are allergic to arrowroot may cause stomach discomfort.4 Arrowroot powder might have other side effects; however, there is not enough information on the side effects of arrowroot powder. Contact your doctor if you notice any side effects after consuming arrowroot powder. 

Precautions to Take with Arrowroot powder: 

Allergy due to arrowroot powder is rare, but there are chances that you might be allergic to it.6  

Pregnant and breastfeeding women: Arrowroot powder might be safe for pregnant and breastfeeding. However, it is advisable to ask for a doctor’s advice before taking arrowroot powder.4  

Do not self-medicate. Always talk to your doctor before consuming arrowroot powder. 

Also Read: Alum: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

There is no sufficient information related to the interaction of arrowroot powder with medicines. However, if you notice any signs and symptoms, you must report them to your physician. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the benefits of arrowroot powder? 

Arrowroot powder may help against digestive problems such as diarrhoea and dysentery. It may help in relieving pain and may help the heart from the risk.3,4 However, it is essential that you meet your doctor before taking arrowroot powder. 

Can arrowroot powder be used for weight loss? 

Arrowroot contains saponins that might help in weight management. However, do not self-medicate and talk to your doctor if you can consume arrowroot for weight management.3 

What are the side effects of arrowroot powder? 

A few people who are allergic to arrowroot might have stomach discomfort. For this reason, it is important to seek expert advice.4 

Is arrowroot powder good for teeth? 

Arrowroot powder might be good for teeth. It may whiten the teeth and help in reducing mouth sores and gingivitis. However, it is better to consult a dentist and not self-medicate. 

Is arrowroot powder good for the heart? 

Arrowroot powder might be good for the heart. It may improve the circulation of blood and may help against heart-related diseases. However, please consult your doctor before taking arrowroot powder.4 

References: 

  1. Amante P, Santos E, Correia V, Fante C. Research Notes: Benefits and Possible Food Applications of Arrowroot (Maranta Arundinaceae L.). Journal of Culinary Science & Technology [Internet]. 2020;19(6):513-521. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15428052.2020.1791295  
  1. Arrowroot flour [Internet]. Food Data Central. 2022. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170684/nutrients  
  1. Brito V, Nascimento R, Narcisa‐Oliveira J, Joffer N, Fattori A, Cereda M et al. Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea L.): Botany, Horticulture, and Uses. Editorial Board [Internet]. 2005;233-274. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9781119750802.ch4  
  1. Twinkle Francis, Jayalakshmi Somasundaram, A. K Anjali. Use of Arrowroot in Dentistry- A Review. Annals of RSCB [Internet]. 2021Mar.30;6275-87. Available from: https://www.annalsofrscb.ro/index.php/journal/article/view/2150  
  1. Kumalasari I, Harmayani E, Lestari L, Raharjo S, Asmara W, Nishi K et al. Evaluation of the immunostimulatory effect of the arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea. L) in vitro and in vivo. Cytotechnology [Internet]. 201;64(2):131-137. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3279578/  
  1. Baking With Food Allergies – Your Questions Answered [Internet]. Kids With Food Allergies Foundation. 2022. Available from: https://community.kidswithfoodallergies.org/blog/questions-answers-baking-with-food-allergies  

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