Arrowroot is a large perennial herb of genus Maranta found in rainforest habitats. Arrowroot is also the name of the edible starch from the rhizomes (rootstock) of West Indian arrowroot.

The plant is naturalized in Florida, but it is chiefly cultivated in the West Indies (Jamaica and St. Vincent), Australia, Southeast Asia, and South and East Africa. It used to be very popular in British cuisine, though Napoleon supposedly said the real reason for the British love of arrowroot was to support their colonies.

Arrowroot is used as an article of diet in the form of biscuits, puddings, jellies, cakes, hot sauces, etc., and also with beef tea, milk or veal broth, noodles in Korean cuisine. In the Victorian era it was used, boiled with a little flavoring added, as an easily digestible food for children and people with dietary restrictions. With today's greater understanding of its limited nutritional properties, it is no longer used in this way.

The lack of gluten in arrowroot flour makes it useful as a replacement for wheat flour in baking. Like other pure starches, however, arrowroot is almost pure carbohydrate and devoid of protein, thus it does not equal wheat flour nutritionally.

Archaeological studies in the Americas show evidence of arrowroot cultivation as early as 7,000 years ago. The name may come from aru-aru (meal of meals) in the language of the Caribbean Arawak people, for whom the plant is a staple. It has also been suggested that the name comes from arrowroot's use in treating poison arrow wounds, as it draws out the poison when applied to the site of the injury.

In the early days of carbonless copy papers, arrowroot, because of its fine grain size, was a widely used ingredient. After an economical way of centrifugally separating wheat flour was devised, arrowroot lost its role in papermaking.

Arrowroot Nutrition Facts: Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits

Arrowroot is 80.75% water, contains 13.39% carbohydrates, 0.2% fat, and 4.24% protein. One arrowroot supplies you with 4.419 grams of carbohydrates, which is 3.4 percent of the minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrates you should have daily, according to the Institute of Medicine (US). That same it has an energy value of 271 kJ (65 Calories) in a 100 g (3.5 Oz) amount and is a natural source of Vitamin B9 (folate, DFE) and Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) (84.5% and 20.46% of the Daily Value, respectively). So if your diet contains arrowroot, it helps your body to lower the possibility of birth defects in the baby (so pregnant women or women who are planning, usually take folic acid), synthesize of red blood cells and even DNA and RNA, create more red blood cells and it is effective against preeclampsia probabilities in pregnant women, homocysteine levels which lowers the risk of kidney disease and age-related hearing loss. In addition it contains a moderate amount of Phosphorus (14% DV), Copper (13.44% DV) and Iron (12.33% DV).