- Family Marantaceae
- Maranta arundinaceae
- Maranta, Bermuda Arrowroot, Sagu, Ararot
- The starch can produce respiratory allergic reactions in some people.
Native to the northern regions of South America and the Caribbean islands, the plant is a perennial, growing to six feet. It has creeping rhizomes, many long-stemmed, oval leaves, and flowering stems with clusters of creamy white flowers. The carrot-shaped tuberous rhizome grows to eight inches in length and is covered with a white, resinous skin, coated with dry scales. Found in Trinidad and the Dominican Republic, arrowroot is cultivated mostly on the island of St. Vincent, but it is a major staple of many areas of the world. The rhizomes are unearthed ten or eleven months after planting.
In Central America, the Maya made the root into a poultice for smallpox sores and an infusion for urinary infections.
It was traditionally used by the Arawak of South America as an antidote for arrow poisons, and thus the name.
It has been used as an ingredient in the manufacture of face powders and glue.
- mildly laxative
- soothing agent
- starch (25-27% as Marantae amylum, maranta starch, and medicinal arrowroot)
- ointment or poultice mixed with antiseptic herbs and applied to wounds to speed healing and soothe the area
- Arrowroot has long been used as an easily digested food for babies and convalescents.
- It is used in much the same manner as slippery elm helping to soothe and nourish. A small study in the United Kingdom indicated that it might be useful in reducing diarrhea and easing abdominal pain in those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
- It relieves acidity, indigestion, and colic as it exerts a mildly laxative action on the large bowel.
- In the Yucatán, a poultice is made from pounded arrowroot rhizomes and used on ulcers and wounds. It is also eaten to treat urogenital tract ailments.
- In Trinidad, arrowroot is used to treat sunburn.