Sugarcane( Hindi: गन्ना | Telugu: చెరకు |Urdu: گنے ) is a tall subtropical/tropical perennial (species of Saccharum,) of the family Gramineae (grass family). It can reach 30 feet high.
- Sugarcane originated in Papua, New Guinea and spread throughout Southeast Asia, India, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the southern United States .The migrations have also resulted in hybrid sugar cane plants. The juice from the sugar cane’s stalk is highly prized and is the source of 70 percent of the world’s sugar.
- Homeland of sugar production is India, where around 3000 years ago there were already large plantations of sugarcane. They managed to devise sugar crystallization process in 5th century AD, giving it the ability for easier transportation.
- Sugarcane is consumed directly as sugarcane juice which is extracted from pressed sugarcane. It is consumed as a beverage in many places, especially where sugarcane is commercially grown such as Southeast Asia, South Asia, Egypt, Latin America, India and Brazil.
- All dentists dissuade against the chewing of sweets but chewing sugarcane shoots is known to exercise the teeth and gums and make them strong. The juice sucked from sugarcane is said to keep the teeth clean.
- White sugar (sucrose) is the major product of sugarcane. Brown sugar (khandsari) and jaggery (gur) are also made from it. Molasses and bagasse are its highly useful by-products.
- Jaggery also referred to as ‘medicinal sugar’ treats cough, asthma and constipation. It has sucrose, glucose and also retains the minerals and vitamins of sugarcane.
- After sugarcane is processed to obtain table sugar, the black gooey mass which remains is highly nutritious blackstrap molasses, an inexpensive super food for iron and magnesium.
- The bagasse remaining after sugarcane crushing is burned to provide heat and electricity. Because of its high cellulose content; it serves as environmentally friendly raw material for paper, cardboard and utensils.
- Being alkaline in nature, it not only fights acidity, and detoxifies the body but protects the body against cancer (especially breast and prostate cancer).
- It enables the smooth functioning of the kidneys and clears urinary flow.
- It’s recommended for fevers which cause great protein loss from the body. Liberal consumption of sugarcane juice, supplements protein during febrile disorders. It also brings down high body temperatures during fevers.
- It’s an ideal thirst quencher and cooling drink during summers. It keeps the body hydrated.
- The easily digestible sugar in sugarcane juice helps in speedy recovery from jaundice. The steep fall in glucose levels during jaundice; may be replenished by having 3 to 4 glasses of sugarcane juice daily.
- It´s good for the digestive system and also acts as a mild laxative because of its high potassium content.
- It’s rich in magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, copper, phosphorous, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin C and organic salts.
- It has a wide range of compounds in addition to sucrose which bestows it with wound healing properties and strengthens the immune system.
- Regular intake of sugarcane juice strengthens the stomach, kidneys, heart, eyes, brain and sex organs.
- It lowers body cholesterol- both LDL and triglycerides.
- It cures a sore throat, cold and flu.
- It has a low glycemic index, which is why one may enjoy it, without worrying about the huge calorie intake that comes with other sweet drinks.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Poales
- Family: Gramineae
- Genus: Saccharum L.
- Species: Saccharum