Apart from its widespread use for producing sugar, traditionally sugar cane has also been used for therapeutic purposes. People in Southeast Asia have been using sugar cane for treating various dissimilar health problems varying from coughs to constipation. At the same time, it has also been used topically for treating skin complaints. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian herbal medicine system, the roots as well as the stems of sugar cane are used to treat problems related to the skin and the urinary tract. They are also used for effectively dealing with other health conditions such as anemia, heart conditions, bronchitis, cough, constipation, and promote breast milk production. Many ancient texts related to Ayurvedic medication, also hint that sugar cane was used for treating jaundice and hypotension or low blood pressure conditions. Traditionally, people used a paste made from sugar to pack wounds as well as to facilitate recuperative healing. It has also been found that sugar cane is effective for putting off and treating conditions like common cold, flu and sore throat. At the same time, drinking sugarcane juice is said to accelerate recovery from jaundice. Since sugarcane juice has a low glycemic index, its use aids in maintaining sound health and keeping the body fit. As sugar cane does not enclose any simple sugar, the juice extracted from its stems can be consumed by diabetic people without any concern about rising blood sugar levels. However, people suffering from type 2 diabetes should drink sugar cane juice in limited amounts. The juice of sugarcane is alkaline in nature and, hence, it is beneficial for the body. This sweet juice aids in combating some forms of cancer, particularly prostate and breast cancers. Sugar cane supplies the body with glucose, which is stored in the form of glycogen and whenever the muscles require energy for any activity, they burn up this glycogen. Hence, sugar cane is considered to be among the best energy resources. It is suggested that people who have been exposed to long hours of physical activity and/ or heat should drink sugar cane juice to replenish the energy lost due to them. At the same time, drinking sugar cane juice will also help to make the body hydrated quickly. In fact, the juice of sugar cane is a wonderful substitute for cola and other aerated drinks. Sugarcane juice is also said to reinforce the stomach, heart, brain, kidneys, eyes, as well as the sex organs. Drinking sugarcane juice also augments urine flow and assists the kidneys to function effortlessly. In addition, sugarcane juice has been found to be beneficial for people suffering from febrile or feverish conditions. As we are aware, febrile conditions lead to fevers, which can cause the body to lose significant amounts of protein. In such cases, consuming sugarcane juice in liberal amount supplies the body with the requisite protein as well as other nutrients. It has been found that sugarcane juice is also favourable for micturation, which is attributed to high acidity, in conjunction with enlarged prostate, gonorrhoea, nephritis and cystitis. Blending ginger juice, lime juice and coconut water with sugarcane juice will help in improving the condition faster. Sugar cane encloses significant amounts of carbohydrates, which helps to refresh as well as rejuvenate the body. Sugarcane juice provides the body with instant energy and ensures that the muscles function properly and smoothly. As a result, sugarcane juice helps to enhance endurance as well as bring out the performance in sports. Consumption of sugarcane juice also aids digestion. Owing to its elevated concentration of potassium, sugarcane juice can also be used in the form of a gentle laxative. While it may seem to be something unusual, several body scrubs and exfoliating creams commonly contain sugarcane as an active element. This is mainly because sugar has a grainy texture and when processed it is useful for cleansing the body of the dead skin cells. Alternatively, you may combine sugarcane juice with freshly prepared lemon juice together with additional elements to prepare an absolutely natural and organic wax, which can be used to remove body hair. Sugar has some unexpected uses as well, and one of them is its use for removing body hair. In fact, applying a blend of warm sugar paste, water and lemon juice is ideal for getting rid of body hair. After applying the paste, small cloth pieces are pressed within the paste and then torn off rapidly, taking the body hair along with these pieces. According to enthusiasts, initially the processes is somewhat painful, but the pain decreases with the passage of time. It is believed that the technique of sugaring was possibly practiced in South Asia since prehistoric days.
Sugar produced from sugar cane has various culinary uses. In present time, sugar is not only a highly valued food, but is also an essential sweetener. Apart from this, sugar can also be used in the form of a delectable preservative. Unrefined and delicate sugars are prepared by heating sugar cane juice, thereby getting rid of its impurities and, at the same time, crystallizing the juice. It is worth mentioning here that sugar cane juice primarily contains sucrose. Refined, raw sugars are exported to various parts of the world for use in sweets and savoury dishes, beverages and refined foods. This sugar is also used for preserving meats and fruits. In addition, refined and raw sugar is either made into syrup or compressed into sugar cubes. White sugar can be processed further by grounding it into a delicate powder, which is also known as icing sugar that is usually used in baking, desserts and confectionery. In some parts of India, people sometimes steam the delicate young sugar cane shoots and also roast them for consumption as a vegetable.
Although sugar cane is native to the countries in Southeast Asia, currently it is extensively cultivated in most countries having tropical and sub-tropical climatic conditions across the globe. This plant is mainly cultivated for sugar production as well as a number of additional products.
Chemical analysis of sugar cane has revealed that it is loaded with several vitamins and essential minerals, which are highly beneficial for our entire body. For instance, sugar cane juice contains loads of iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Findings of several scientific studies undertaken to ascertain the health benefits offered by sugar cane show that the juice of this plant may possibly help in restoring the vitamins loss taking place in our body owing to fevers and other febrile problems.
Sugar cane should essentially be harvested at the appropriate time. In other words, these canes should always be harvested when they are at the peak of their maturity. Moreover, it is important to adopt the appropriate technique depending on the utmost height of the millable canes, which would produce least possible losses of their juice (read sugar) considering the environment in which they are grown. When you harvest too mature or under-aged canes with inappropriate harvesting techniques, it is bound to result in significant yield loss from the canes. As a result, the recovery of sugar is less; the juice quality is inferior, while there are a number of milling problems owing to unwanted matter. Farmers in India harvest sugar canes when the plants have grown for anything between 10 months and 18 months, subject to the crop maturity and the time of planting. In sub-tropical regions, sugar canes are harvested when they have grown for 15 months, while crops planted during the spring or summers (which are actually late planted) are harvested after 10 months to 12 months. However, there are some early varieties that are harvested when they have grown for 10 months. The mid-late crops are usually harvested at 10 months to 12 months stage, while the late varieties are harvested later than the 12-month stage. The adsali crop grown in tropical regions is harvested after the plants have grown for 16 months to 18 months. Usually, cutting blades, hand knives, or hand axes are employed for manual harvesting of sugar cane crops. Sugar cane harvesting can only be done by skilled labourers, because harvesting the canes inappropriately usually results in cane as well as sugar yield.