Arracacha is an herbal plant from the Andes. The herb is a root vegetable and looks like a cross between carrot & celery plants. The roots of Arracacha are starchy and are a major profitable commercial crop. Arracacha is eaten only when it is cooked and not in raw form.
Arracacha based products are available in the market and include the following – purees, pastries, creamy soups, chips and dumplings.
What is Arracacha?
Arracacha is botanically known as Arracacia xanthorriza and it belongs to the Apiaceae family. The term Arracacha is taken from the Spanish language and is used commonly in the Andean region. Other common names of this herb include the following – Apio Criollo, Creole Celery, Batata-Baroa, Dioquinha, Virraca, White Carrot, little cassava and Zanahoria Blanca.
Arracacha leaves are dark green to purple in color and resemble parsley leaves. The roots of the herb look like fat white colored carrots. When cut, the roots of Arracacha can have the following colors – purple, yellow and white. Arracacha is commonly seen in cool mountainous areas and is indigenous to the Andes.
How does it work?
Arracacha contains carotenoids, calcium and iron. It is also said that 100 grams of the herb can provide 100 calories.
Following are the health benefits of using Arracacha:
Arracacha is a popular baby food supplement. The herbal puree is considered an ideal baby food in some of the South American countries. The cooked herbal puree made using Arracacha is usually served bland for babies, and is easily digestible due to the small size of the starch grains. It is sweetened or made savory for older people. Arracacha is a good source of starch, calcium, iron and vitamin A.
In a recent study it was found that to maintain a weight loss regime, it is important to take foods that have complex carbohydrates such as Arracacha and potatoes.
The rationale behind this statement is that when high calorie foods are taken, the stomach stays full for a longer period of time and this helps in avoiding hunger pangs & binge eating.
Arracacha is taken in food amounts similar to potato. The exact medicinal dosage of Arracacha for solving health related complaints is not known.
Arracacha is a staple food that is considered safe for consumption in food amounts. There are no known side effects associated with eating the roots of this herb. However, due to limited scientific evidences, the side effects of taking Arracacha in medicinal amounts are not known.
Eating Arracacha as a root vegetable and in small amounts during pregnancy is considered safe. However, excess consumption of this herb during pregnancy may lead to yellow coloring of the baby’s skin. To be on the safer side, avoid using this herb in medicinal amounts during pregnancy and breast feeding.
Arracacha is a high ‘return on investment’ herb. The herb has been cultivated in the southern parts of Brazil for the last 100 years. However, only recently the herb was recognized as a high-value cash crop that could benefit thousands of poor farmers in Brazil. Arracacha is high in calories and is suitable as a food product for babies and older people.
Arracacha has been studied for its high calorie value and carbohydrate content. However, the herb has not been extensively studied in scientific settings to understand its health benefits, side effects and drug interactions.