The three most common food uses of the palm are, the sap, the accumulated starch, or the growing tip. The tapping of the inflorescence (flower cluster) or the apex of the palm yields sap which can be made into a fresh drink, or fermented into toddy, or then distilled into a drink called arrack. The sap can also be boiled to yield palm sugar, or jaggery. The accumulated starch is harvested from the trunk of mature palms, and becomes not only a staple food but an industrial product as well. The third common use is of the growing tip hidden among the bases of the leaves. The tender tip, eaten raw or cooked, is frequently called millionaire's salad.
Because the trunks and leaves are long they often contain tough fibers that are useful. The trunks, entire or cut into planks and the petioles as well as the rib of the leaf are often used to support buildings or as a framework or for flooring. The leaves are woven in many ways to make useful mats and are used in the thatching of walls and roofs. Very thin trunks of vine-like palms are the rattan used in furniture.