Taro Root

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Taro (Colocasia esculenta) is a root vegetable that resembles a hairy potato. It is used in many cuisines throughout the world, and it even grows as a decorative plant in the city gardens of New York. You can use taro as a potato substitute for almost every recipe. Taro surpasses potato in taste, nutrition, and medicinal benefits. Taro is highly valued in Ayurveda as a prebiotic food (nourishes the friendly bacteria in the gut). With its slippery nature, taro serves a binder of toxins seated in the colon and blood. In the words of Dr. Teitelbaum, taro is the “packaging and shipping” of toxins—it binds them and drives them out of the body, therefore it is an important ingredient in detox Ayurvedic protocols. Taro is also very effective in soothing irritated stomach and gut. 

It is best to include taro in your diet at least 2-3 times per week (every day is also fine). Always use the taro cooked and peel it before cooking.

There are several varieties of taro. Vaidya Rk Mishra recommended to use the small ones. Taro root is available in Indian and Asian grocery stores. I’ve also seen it in some Whole Foods stores. Other names for taro are: albi, dasheen, eddo, arwi.

2 replies
  1. francesca
    francesca says:

    Just wondering – in the UK it is almost impossible to buy taro root where my family live; is there anything of the equivalent benefits that is more commonly found, or native to UK/western Europe? Would be super if you could write a blog post on eating from the medicinal benefits of food native to certain areas of the world – like in the UK where it seems we have forgotten about the medicinal benefits of lesser known foods ( like the salsify, a forgotten victorian root vegetable )!
    Love your book! Thanks

    • Divya Alter
      Divya Alter says:

      Hi Francesca, thank you for your comment. I know that taro root can be hard to find in some parts of the world, although it can easily be grown locally in the UK and most of Europe. It definitely grows in New York climate! A friend of mine from London buys taro from a local Indian market. Have you searched for an Indian grocery store in your area? For similarity in texture, you can use peeled red potatoes, although in traditional Ayurveda we recommend to avoid eating nightshades (potato is in the nightshade family) because of their inflammatory effects. Perhaps you can trying ordering taro root flour online and using it in some of my soup recipes, to benefit from the toxin-binding properties of taro. If one day I’m able to travel the world and study the local produce closely, I might be able to work on your idea 🙂


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