Sugar cane juice is probably the most popular and widely consumed juice here in India. An interesting fact is that it is in use since thousands of years. In Ayurveda, sugar cane juice, and its other derivatives such as jaggery is used in many formulations including lehyams (herbal jams), Asava, Arishta etc. Let us know what are its benefits.
Latin name- Saccharum officinarum Linn.
Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Ganna, Eekh
English name- Sugarcane
Bengali name- Unkh, Kajali
Gujarati name- Sheradi, Ganderi
Kannada name- Kabbu
Malayalam name- Karimbi
Marathi name- Oons
Punjabi name- Shakir surkh
Tamil name- karimbu
Telugu name- Cheruku
Medicinal properties of sugarcane:
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet)
Guna (Qualities) – Guru (Heavy for digestion), Snigdha (Slimy in nature)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Karma (Actions) – Vatapitta shamaka (reduces vitiated vata and pitta dosha)
Part used- Stem/Root
Juice- 100 to 200 ml
Root decoction- 40 to 50 ml
Sugarcane juice benefits:
Sugar cane juice is nourishing, it is a natural diuretic.
Sugarcane is cold in nature. So Sugar cane juice is one of the best natural coolant drink.
Sugar cane slightly increases Kapha Dosha and calms Pitta Dosha.
Sugarcane juice has a low glycemic index, which keeps the body’s metabolism healthy and helps maintain a healthy body weight. Roughly one teaspoon of raw sugar contains only eleven calories. (Source: ehow.com)
Sugarcane is rich in Phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. Sugarcane is an alkalizing substance, and therefore is beneficial at fighting cancer. Studies have shown that it has proven an effective at fighting prostate and breast cancer cells. Furthermore, it is exceptionally beneficial for rehydration as it not only cools the body but also energizes with a high quantity of useful carbohydrates and protein. The nutrients found in sugarcane are beneficial to inner organ functioning, including the kidneys, heart and brain.
For whom Sugar cane juice suits best?
Sugar cane juice is ideal for those who are
– who often suffer from burning sensation all over the body
– who suffer from burning sensation when urinating
– who are tired due to excess sun exposure, during summer.
– who have Pitta body type and Vata body type.
वृष्यः शीतः सरः स्निग्धो बृंहणो मधुरो रसः|
श्लेष्मलो भक्षितस्येक्षोर्यान्त्रिकस्तु विदह्यते||२३७||
शैत्यात् प्रसादान्माधुर्यात् पौण्ड्रकाद्वंशको वरः|२३८| – Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 27
When taken by chewing, sugarcane juice is
Vrushya – aphrodisiac
Sheeta – cold
Sara – laxative, promotes movement of liquids in channels
Snigdha – unctuous, oily
Brumhana – improves nourishment
Madhura – sweet
Shleshmala – increases Kapha
But the machine pressed juice causes burning sensation (indigestion).
Paundraka type of sugarcane (near to white colour) is superior to Vamshaka is also good.
Sugar cane juice is not ideal for
For those having Kapha body type
When to take Sugar cane juice?
The best time to take sugar cane juice is the afternoon, when Pitta Dosha is predominant. It is better to avoid it during night.
Ayurvedic medicines with sugarcane as ingredient:
|Maharajaprasarini thailam – used in pain due to neuro – muscular origin, as in spondylosis.
Parushakadi Lehyam – used in gastritis.
Nalikerasavam – used as aphrodisiac.
For plants to flower in all seasons:
Mixture of Sesame oil cakes, Vidanga (Embelia ribes), sugar cane juice and cow dung is sprinkled to the root of a plant. This practice enables flowering of the plant in all the seasons. (Reference: Vriksha Ayurveda)
Sanskrit Synonyms of Sugarcane:
Truna Raja – king of grasses
Deergachada – The plant has long stem
Madhu trina – A grass which is sweet
Guda Daru, Guda moola – Jaggery has its origin from this plant
Maha Rasa, Bhoori rasa – Plant filled with juice
Asipatra, Trinaraja, Surasa, Poundraka, Venu, Vamsha, Sukumaraka, Sthulosipatraka,
Gandiri, Gandaki, Venu, Nisruta,
Mrutyupushpa, Karkotaka, Vamsha, Kantara, Venu Nisvana,
Morphology of Saccharum officinarum:
Sugarcane is a type of grass cultivated in the plains of India for its commercial value by the manufacturing of sugar and jaggery from its juice. It is a grass growing to a height of 7-10 feet with nodules in between. The leaves are sharp edged, 3-4 feet long and 2-3 feet wide. Flowers are seen in cluster and pale white colored. Roots emerge from the inter-nodular buds.
Chemical composition of sugarcane:
Sugarcane juice contains surcose (70–80% of soluble solids in the juice), glucose and fructose. Non-sugar constituents present in the cane juice are carbohydrates other than sugars. Asparagine and glutamine are prominent amino acids in the juice. Other amino acids include alanine, gamma- amino butyric acid, aspartic and glutamic acids, glycine, leucine, lysine, serine and tyrosine. The presence of phenylalanine, histidine, valine, pro- line, threonine and arginine, pipecolic acid, methionine and tryptophan has also been reported. Aconitic acid constitutes about three-fourths of the total carboxylic acid present in the juice. Vitamins present in the juice are: thiamine, riboﬂavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and vitamin D; enzymes include diastase, invertase, lactase, peroxidase, tyrosinase. Phenols in the cane juice are mainly polyphenols from tannin and antho- cyanin from the rind. Enzymes present in the seeds include large quantities of diastase and invertase. An ester, vanilloyl-1-O-beta-D-glucoside, has been isolated from the bagasse. The leaves contain alpha-amylase and glutathione-S-transferase.
Various preparations from sugarcane juice as told in Ayurveda – Ikshu vikara:
It is prepared by boiling the juice down to a thick consistence “molasses” or “treacle”, the uncrystallizable portion.
Madhura-Sweet in taste
Snigdha- Slimy in nature
Mootrashodana- Purify the urine
Vatahara- Pacify th vitiated vata dosha
Balya- Provide strength
Read related: Jaggery Health Benefits, Usage, Side Effects – Full Ayurveda Details
Ikshurasa: Juice obtained by crushing the stalk – sugarcane juice:
Guru- Heavy for digestion
Dahaprashmana, Trishna nigrahana- Pacify burning sensation and thirst
Gulma prashamana- Pacify gulma disease
Pittakara- Pacify pitta dosha
Sugarcane juice boiled down to 1/4th of original quantity
Guru- Heavy for digestion
Madhura- Sweet in taste
Tridoshahara- Pacify all the vitiated dosha
Which is made by boiling the juice down to a solid consistence, but which still exudes a little fluid on drawing.
Ghana- Heavy for digestion
Balya- Provide strength
Pitta and anilahara- Reduce vitiated pitta and vata dosha
Madhura- Sweet in taste
Brimhani- Nourish the dhatu in the body
Sita: Sita means sugar candy.
Hima- Cold in nature
Ruchya- Provide taste to the food
Jaraghna- Delays aging process
Balakara- Provide strength
Sukrakara- Improve the quality and quantity of semen
Uses of Ikshu:
- Sugarcane juice in a dose of 100-150 ml is consumed to control nausea and vomiting.
- Regular intake of sugarcane juice will improve the quality of semen and increase the quantity of breast milk in lactating women.
- Intake of sugarcane juice in a dose of 100-200 ml will improve the urine output and hence used in conditions of difficulty in micturition, burning micturition and in renal calculi.
- Fresh sugarcane juice is consumed to reduce thirst, burning sensation of the body and provide instant energy.
- Intake of sugarcane juice is beneficial for persons suffering from constipation, jaundice and anemia.
- Decoction of the root of sugarcane in a dose of 50 ml is beneficial to remove intestinal worms.
- Intake of sugarcane juice provides strength to the cardiac muscles and improves the cardiac functioning.
- Sugarcane juice is used in many desserts and cuisines all over the world.
Jeevana – enlivening
Brimhana – improves weight
Vrushya – aphrodisiac, improves vigor
Krumiprada – can cause or worsen intestinal worm infestation
Mutraprada – Mutrala – diuretic, improves urine flow
Sara – induces mobility, causes diarrhea, purgation, relieves constipation
Santarpana – Nourishing
Balya – improves strength and immunity
Hladi – good and comforting for mind and heart
Ojasya – improves immunity
Vatahara – useful in treating disorders of Vata Dosha imbalance such as neuralgia, paralysis, constipation, bloating, etc
The tip of sugarcane
Svadu – sweet
Patu – salt
Amla – sour
Sugarcane juice benefits as per extraction method:
Dantotkrishta – juice extracted by chewing –
Shweta – white
Ruchya – improves taste, relieves anorexia.
Kaphaprada – increases Kapha Dosha
Yantrika – Sugar cane juice extracted by machine:
Amla – sour
Guru – heavy to digest
Svadu – sweet
Kshara – alkaline, scraping
Vishtambhakrut – causes constipation
Dahakrut – can cause burning sensation
Sugarcanae side effects:
There is no contraindication for intake of sugarcane in healthy individuals but people suffering from diabetes should refrain from its intake. People suffering from renal disease should be cautious for the intake of sugarcane.
It is not ideal in high Kapha disorders such as obesity, asthma, intestinal worm infestation, low digestion strength.
Ayurvedic medicines containing Ikshu:
Karimbirumbadi kashayam: Karimbirumbadi Kashayam is an Ayurvedic medicine used in treating jaundice, anemia and hepatic conditions. It is in herbal decoction form.
Narikelasavam: Nalikerasavam is a liquid Ayurvedic medicine, used mainly in aphrdosiac and rejuvenation treatment.
Prasootikamrita rasayana: It is a rejuvinative tonic in herbal jam like form which is indicated in Ayurvedic treatment of Fatigue after delivery, restores strength and beauty.
Balajeerakadi kashaya: It is a decoction used in the treatment of respiratory conditions like bronchial asthma, cough, cold etc.
Trinapanchamoola kwatha: Trin Panchmool Kwath is an Ayurvedic medicine in decoction form. It is used in the treatment of urinary tract disorders of Pitta origin.
Vasanth kusumakar Rasa: Vasant Kusumakar Ras is an Ayurvedic medicine in tablet or powder form, used in treatment of diabetes, diseases related to urinary tract, diabetes, liver disorders, memory loss etc.
Chandanadi tailam: It is used to relieve burning sensation, dizziness, herpes, gout, bleeding diseases.etc. It is used to apply as hair oil, through nasal route as nasya and also used for whole body massage.
Research articles related to Saccharum officinarum:
Hepato protective action: The study was designed to investigate the effects of Saccharum officinarum L. juice on oxidative liver injury due to INH in mice. INH treated mice showed; rise in serum ALT, AST, ALP and total bilirubin levels (Mean±SEM), while group C mice treated with Saccharum officinarum L. juice significantly decreased the levels of these biochemical parameters. The histo-pathological examination of groups A showed normal liver structure which was deranged in (INH) group B, whereas group C showed significant recovery in histological structure. Saccharum officinarum L. constituents, especially flavanoids and anthocyanins have strong antioxidant properties which provide hepato-protection against oxidative liver injury produced by INH.
According to charaka – Ikshuvarga, Kantya, Tring panchamoola
According to Sushrutha – Ikshu varga
According to Vagbhata – Ikshu varga, Trinapanchamoola
According to Adarasha Nighantu – Trinadi varga
According to Bhavaprakasha – Ikshu varga
According to Priya Nighantu – Drava Varga
According to Chakrapani – Ikshu vikriti Varga
According to Dhanawantari Nighantu – Karaveeradi Varga
According to Harita – Ikshu varga
According to RajaNigantu- Paneeyadi Varga
Kingdom : Plantae
Sub Kingdom: Phanerogamia
Division : Angiospermia
Class : Monocotyledons
Sub Class : Glumiferae
Family : Graminae Or Poaceae
Genus : Saccharam
Species : Officinaram
Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
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