Sugarcane Juice And Root Benefits, Side Effects, Research, Remedies

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.

Sugarcane

Latin name- Saccharum officinarum Linn.
Family- Gramineae, Poaceae

Names in different languages

Hindi name- Ganna, Eekh, Ikha
English name- Sugarcane
Bengali name- Unkh, Kajali, Iksu, Khak,
Gujarati name- Sheradi, Ganderi
Kannada name- Kabbu
Malayalam name- Karimbi
Marathi name- Oons, Unsa
Punjabi name- Shakir surkh
Tamil name- karimbu, Karumbu
Telugu name- Cheruku
Arabian name – Kasabussakkar
Persian name – Naishkar

Medicinal properties

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

Dosage

Juice- 100 to 200 ml
Root decoction- 40 to 50 ml

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 alkalising substance, and therefore is beneficial in fighting cancer. Studies have shown that it has proven 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 it with a high quantity of useful carbohydrates and protein. The nutrients found in sugarcane are beneficial for inner organ functioning, including the kidneys, heart and brain.

For whom Sugar cane juice suits best?
Sugar cane juice is ideal for those
– 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.

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

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 and chemical composition

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 nodes in between. The leaves are sharp edged, 3-4 feet long and 2-3 feet wide. Flowers are seen in clusters and are pale white coloured. Roots emerge from the inter-nodular buds.
Leaf sheaths – tight, smooth, glabrous except when young, blades – linear, lanceolate.

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.
It contains sugar, water, mucilage, resin, fat, albumin, guanin.

Preparations from sugarcane

Various preparations from sugarcane juice as told in Ayurveda – Ikshu vikara:

Guda

It is prepared by boiling the juice down to a thick consistence “molasses” or “treacle”, the non crystallizable portion.

Properties:
Madhura-Sweet in taste
Snigdha- Slimy in nature
Mootrashodana- Purify the urine
Vatahara- Pacify the vitiated vata dosha
Balya- Provides strength
Read related: Jaggery Health Benefits, Usage, Side Effects – Full Ayurveda Details

Ikshurasa

Juice obtained by crushing the stalk – sugarcane juice:
Properties:
Guru- Heavy for digestion
Dahaprashmana, Trishna nigrahana- Pacify burning sensation and thirst
Gulma prashamana- Pacify gulma disease
Pittakara- Pacify pitta dosha

Phanita

Sugarcane juice boiled down to 1/4th of original quantity
Properties:
Guru- Heavy for digestion
Madhura- Sweet in taste
Abhishyandi
Brimhana
Tridoshahara- Pacify all the vitiated dosha

Matsyandika

Which is made by boiling the juice down to a solid consistency, but which still exudes a little fluid on drawing.

Properties:
Ghana- Heavy for digestion
Manda- Thick
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.
Properties:
Madhura- Sweet
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 anaemia.
  • 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 diarrhoea, 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 –
Shwetawhite
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

Side effects

Sugarcane 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 during the intake of sugarcane.
It is not ideal in high Kapha disorders such as obesity, asthma, intestinal worm infestation, low digestion strength.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines containing Ikshu:
Karimbirumbadi kashayam: Karimbirumbadi Kashayam is an Ayurvedic medicine used in treating jaundice, anaemia and hepatic conditions.  It is in herbal decoction form.

Narikelasavam: Nalikerasavam is a liquid Ayurvedic medicine, used mainly in aphrodisiac and rejuvenation treatment.

Prasootikamrita rasayana: It is a rejuvenative 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.

Maharajaprasarini thailam – used in pain due to neuro – muscular origin, as in spondylosis.

Parushakadi Lehyam – used in gastritis.

Nalikerasavam – used as aphrodisiac.

Research articles

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.

Classical categorization

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

Systemic classification

Kingdom : Plantae
Sub Kingdom: Phanerogamia
Division : Angiospermia
Class : Monocotyledons
Sub Class : Glumiferae
Family : Graminae Or Poaceae
Genus : Saccharum
Species : Officinarum

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

73 thoughts on “Sugarcane Juice And Root Benefits, Side Effects, Research, Remedies”

  1. Dear Dr Hebbar,

    As it is difficult to produce sugarcane juice at home on a regular basis, people mostly drink it from the road side stalls since it is readily available to them without bothering to understand the unhygienic and ill effect of the same. The road side sugarcane juice is never healthy since sugarcanes are always exposed to dust and flies. People enjoy drinking sugarcane juice to quench their thrust because it is very sweet in taste and it becomes quite delicious after making it chilled by adding some ice pieces in the glass.

    Instead of drinking sugarcane juice from the unhealthy atmosphere, it would be a better choice if thick and dark brownish coloured fresh sugarcane could be brought home and cut into small pieces by removing the outer hard skin and cleaned properly with water before chewing them. Chewing few pieces on empty stomach before meal or in between the meals would be safe decision instead of drinking sugarcane juice from road side.

    Best regards,
    Kunwar Singh

    Reply
    • Sir,

      Wud like to know is a sugar patient can use Coconut water and sugar cane?Waiting 4 ur valuble advice..

      Reply
      • If the blood sugar level is well under control, half a cup of coconut water is fine. But sugarcane juice is unacceptable.

        Reply
        • U are sir I agree with u some people like mr. Hebbar I don’t know what they study and they themselves don’t know and tried to become expert and superior jus becoz they get medical degree ….paise de degree walo ko kabi medical science samjh me ati b nai or aise uth ptang facts or suggestion dete rehte …
          Dr dk sharma
          Food and nutrition specialist

          Reply
    • You both are right. Kunwar ji, you are absolutely right. But since i came to mumbai I found that most of the sugercane juice vendor keep the sugercane in dry cool place avoding dust and sunlight, Before taking jiuce they peel it lightly and they give it with ice and without ice. I usually prefer to go without ice and i recomment people too to use it without ice. I intake once in a day 100-150 ml. Now a days i am searchig if there is any drawback of taking cane juice. I appreciate your comments

      Reply
      • Dear Mr Nigam,

        Thanks for accepting my views on sugarcane juice. Although, the roadside sugarcane vendors do scratch the canes to remove the toxicity from the surface but they are never washed properly with water and since they are kept in open space, they always gather dust and canes being sweet in nature, the vendors can’t control flies to sit on the canes and refrain them from making the cane dirty. Sugarcane juice is best tonic for liver but since the flies keep attacking the canes, I would suggest that drinking sugarcane juice from the open roadside outlets should be avoided to save the liver from getting damage from severe complications.

        Reply
    • Thanks for the information. Yes, plain sugar cane juice, in very low dose of half a cup a day, without adding sugar is tolerated well with diabetes patients, as it has a very low glycemic index. It does not even cause weight gain.

      Reply
    • Sir, Does sugarcane juice helps in weight reduction….and with what combination does it help? can you pls suggest.
      and how is it useful for diabetic patients as my mother is diabetic for more than 11 yrs and she takes insulin 100 units all the 3 times

      Reply
      • Sugarcane juice is not usually advised for the purpose of weight reduction and for diabetes.
        Exercise, proper dose of medicine, active lifestyle, good diet control and inclusion of few herbs like Triphala and Amla are few methods to keep both diabetes and weight under control.

        Reply
  2. yours information on sugar cane juice is very infomative help full to diabetic persons. pl keep giving much information about goodness of sugar cane and sugarcane juice regards rahman.

    Reply
  3. Sir, most beleive that drinking sugarcane juice wil gain weight. Do it really add weight if we drink it once or twice a month

    Reply
    • If we drink it as rarely as couple of times a month, sugarcane juice might not contribute much to weight gain.

      Reply
  4. Sir you said Sugar cane juice will help in maintaining body weight & also it has low calories,so How will it increase the body weight? Please clarify my doubt.
    regards,

    Reply
    • when compared to sugar, sugar cane is less in calories. Compared to sugar, sugarcane has many health benefits as explained above. So, sugar cane is lower in calories, when compared to sugar, but still can help gain body weight.

      Reply
    • It is not very effective in doing so. It may reduce pain during menstruation. There are better Ayurvedic products for regularizing periods. Consult your Ayurvedic doctor for a detailed analysis.

      Reply
  5. Sir my father is a diabetic patient, so how much quantity & at what interval he can drink cane juice.And also when his sugar level is not under control can he consume fruits in small quantity.

    Reply
    • It is better for diabetics to avoid sugarcane juice. Fruits with less sugar like Musambi – half a fruit, orange – half a fruit etc can be taken by diabetics, provided the blood sugar levels are under control

      Reply
    • Thanks. It gives me immense pleasure when someone says that my work is of some use to them. I am glad.

      Reply
  6. Dear Friend,

    I drink sugarcane juice without ice in afternoon.. is it helps to digest some hard foods in stomach..

    Reply
    • It would help in easy breaking of hard particles. Sugarcane juice also has soothing effect over the stomach inner lining (mucosa). It calms stomach.

      Reply
  7. sir sugarcane juice is healthy..but should we drink it from roadside vendor or not because its very unhygine..lots of flies are there and dust..if its not healthy from roadside vendor then how to drink sugarcane juice.it cant be produced at home

    Reply
    • Sugarcane juice from road side vendor is of course not very hygienic. But nowadays, even in small cities, you get juice centers selling sugarcane juice. They are placed relatively distantly from the road side. We can see the quality of the sugarcane that they use, very easily and they are better as per my opinion. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Thanks Dear, For sharing such a useful information.
    I enjoy this natural drink in summer weather specially. for me it is best drink to keep my body cool and energetic.

    Reply
    • It increases Kapha. It is not ideal to drink sugarcane juice at night, if you have respiratory diseases, indigestion / obesity. Ideally morning or afternoon is the right time.

      Reply
  9. Hi Dr. Does it reduces weight, if we consume sugarcane juice in the morning before breakfast every day?… Thank you very much in advance….

    Reply
    • Hi, it does not contribute to weight reduction, even taken on empty stomach in the morning.

      Reply
  10. thanks sir,good article
    but can you help me that is sugarcane usefull for cholestrol and acidity people.even diabeties.
    thanks

    Reply
    • Hi, Sugarcane is useful to relieve hyper-acidity.
      It is low in fat content, hence can be sued in people with high cholesterol.
      But it is best to avoid in diabetics, because it increase blood sugar levels.

      Reply
  11. May be the quality of the sugar cane or the machine used for making it is, not of good quality.

    Reply
  12. Sir,
    Whenever I take sugarcane juice I fell sleeply, i f I sleep after drinking I may get sleep of 5 hours…kindly provide me solution

    Reply
  13. Hi i have heard that the ganderi( ready made cut bites of sugarcane) are a cause of jaundice bcoz sometimes they are washed or kept in dirty water to keep them fresh and they soak up the contaminated water. Can jaundice or hapatitis be caused due to them???

    Reply
  14. Dear Dr Hebbar, thanks for narrating the textual contents on the matetr, very useful and interesting information in the original ayurveda texts.

    Reply
  15. I used sugarcane juice for 1_2 months.i am having heavy periods since 1year.i take medicines to control bleeding.i noticed since I was having this juice my bleeding has increased and not getting effectively controlled even by medicines.please help

    Reply
    • Please stop taking sugarcane juice for a month to see if it is really contributing to heavy periods.

      Reply

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