Arrowroot
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Arrowroot ARROWROOT  
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Botanical:   Maranta arundinacea
Family:   Marantacea (prayer plant) - Zingiberaceae (ginger)
Other common names:   Indian Arrowroot, Maranta Indica, Bamban, Obedience Plant, Maranta Starch, Bermuda, Bermuda Arrowroot, Maranta, St. Vincent Arrowroot, West Indian Arrowroot

Arrowroot is used to soothe and relieve the irritation of inflamed mucous membranes.  This easily digested food plant is a natural source of calcium and may provide a nourishing bland diet for convalescents.  Arrowroot is thought to be helpful in the management of indigestion, wounds and for regulating bowel complaints. The lack of gluten in Arrowroot flour makes it useful as a replacement for wheat flour in baking.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
Arrowroot is a perennial plant, native to South America that has also been naturalized in southern Florida, and commonly grown in Brazil and Thailand.  Cultivated in tropical regions for its starchy rootstock, it is an important source of commercial arrowroot and also used as a cornstarch and tapioca substitute for thickening purposes. The Arrowroot plant is an herbaceous perennial, with a creeping rhizome with upward-curving, fleshy, cylindrical tubers covered with large, thin scales.  The flowering stem may reach a height of six feet and bears leaves and creamy flowers at the ends of the branches that terminate the long peduncles.  Growing in pairs, the plant's numerous, ovate leaves grow to a length of ten inches with long sheaths often enveloping the stem. Traditionally, the starch is extracted from rhizomes of less than a year old, washed, pulped in wooden mortars, stirred in clean water, and the fibers then wrung out.  Next, the milky liquor is strained, allowed to settle and then drained.  Clean water is again added, mixed and drained, after which the starch is dried.  The resulting powder looks and feels very much like cornstarch (they are often used interchangeably).  Arrowroot is used as a clear thickening agent for making gravies, sauces, puddings, fruit fillings and glazes, and is said to prevent ice crystals from forming in homemade ice cream.  Although there are many tales surrounding Arrowroot's name, the Aruac (Arawak) Indians of Central and South America apparently called  it aru-aru, meaning “meal of meals," since they valued Arrowroot so highly as a food, but its popular name is said to be a corruption of the Aru root  of the Arawaks who also used the powder as an antidote to arrow-poison.  Moreover, Native Americans in both South and North America applied Arrowroot to sores and wounds inflicted by scorpions and black spider bites, and the Maya of Mexico used it to arrest gangrene and smallpox.  The many species of Arrowroot are usually distinguished by the place from which they are imported.

Beneficial Uses:
Arrowroot is now known to be a superior carbohydrate with demulcent properties that will soothe irritated and inflamed mucous membranes and can aid in the relief of the temporary discomforts of colic and indigestion.

As a rich source of digestible calcium, Arrowroot is particularly nourishing to children after weaning and for delicate persons during convalescence.  Because of its easy digestibility and because it is extremely bland, Arrowroot is suitable for neutral diets, especially for people who suffer from nausea.

Arrowroot is believed to be valuable in the management of bowel complaints: It is used as a mild laxative but will also help relieve diarrhea.  Like apple pectin, its amphoteric nature means that it may work in two directions:  It can help to thicken bowels that are loose or loosen up bowels that are constipated.

It is said that when taken internally, Arrowroot is a good antidote for vegetable poisons and a remedy for pus in the urine, reaffirming its traditional folk uses by Native North and South Americans.

Contraindications:  Currently, there are no known warnings or contraindications with the use of Arrowroot Herbal Supplement.

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