Jaggery (Gur) Health Benefits, Usage, Side Effects – Full Ayurveda Details

Jaggery is extensively used in many Indian cuisines and in various Ayurvedic medicines. It is a good substitute for sugar. Not only that, it comes with a bunch of its own unique health benefits. Jaggery forms the backbone of Asavas and Arishtas – fermented liquid Ayurvedic medicines.

Jaggery, Preparation

It is a type of unrefined sugar, prepared from sugarcane or date juice. The juice is concentrated by heating and molasses is not removed while concentrating it. The end product is brownish yellow coloured solid jaggery blocks. It is also available in semisolid form.

Jaggery is called Guda, Gud, Gula, Gulam in Ayurveda. Ayurveda explains two types of jaggery.
Dhauta – washed / semi-refined
Adhauta – unrefined, unwashed.

jaggery benefits

Vernacular names

Hindi-Gud
Telugu-Bellam
Tamil-Vellam
Malayalam-Sharkara
Kannada-Bella (solid jaggery), Joni bella (the semisolid jaggery)
Marathi-Gul

Qualities of jaggery and health benefits

नातिश्लेष्मकरो धौत: सृष्टमूत्रशकृत् गुड: ॥ ४७ ॥
प्रभूतकृमि मज्जासृक् मेदोमांस कफोऽपर: ।
हृद्य: पुराण: पथ्यश्च, नव: श्लेष्म अग्निसादकृत् ॥ ४८ ॥
(Reference: Ashtanga Hrudayam Sutrasthana 5/47-48)

Guda (jaggery, molasses), washed well (made white and purified)-
Natishleshma kara – does not increase Kapha to a large extent
Srushtamutrashakrut – increases volume of urine and faeces
If it is not prepared properly, it causes intestinal worms, increases chances of Kapha disorder in marrow, blood, fat tissue and muscles.
Old jaggery is good for heart, and should be consumed. So, jaggery should be at least one year old for its usage.
Freshly prepared jaggery increases Kapha and causes indigestion. 47-48.

jaggery health benefits - Ayurveda

Unrefined or unwashed jaggery is
Sakshara – slightly alkaline
Natisheeta – not very coolant
Snigdha – oily, unctuous
Mutrashodhaka – cleanses bladder and urine
Raktashodhaka – cleanses and purifies blood
Vataghna – balances Vata
Na ati pittajit – decreases Pitta slightly
Medakara – increases body fat
Krumikara – causes intestinal worm infestation
Balya – increases strength
Vrushya – aphrodisiac

Jaggery for splenomegaly

For the treatment of splenomegaly (Plihodara), Haritaki – Terminalia chebula, in a dose of 3 – 5 grams once or twice a day, is administered along with  2- 3 grams of jaggery. (Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 13)

Washed jaggery

Dhauta guda or washed jaggery is
Madhura – sweet
Vatapittaghna – balances Vata and Pitta
Asruk prasadana – cleanses and detoxifies blood
It has a more Pitta balancing action compared to Adhauta (unwashed) guda.

Purana Guda – old jaggery

Svadutara – much more sweeter than the fresh
Snigdha – oily, unctuous
Laghu – lighter to digest, than fresh
Agnideepana – promotes digestion strength
Vitshodhaka – cleanses intestines and feces
Mutrashodhaka- cleanses urinary bladder and urine
Amashayashodhaka – cleanses stomach
Ruchya – promotes taste
Hrudya – good for heart, cardiac tonic
Pittaghna – balances Pitta
Vataghna – balances Vata
Tridoshaghna – Generally good for all the three Doshas
Jwarahara – Good for fever (in small quantities only)
Santapa shantiprada – relieves excess body heat
Shramahara- relieves tiredness
Panduhara – useful in anaemia
Pramehantaka- useful in urinary tract diseases

As per Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 27

Treacle / jaggery (Guda) causes increased parasitic infection.
Majjakara – It increases the quantity of marrow,
Asruk kara – improves blood,
Medo Mamsakara – increases fat and muscles.
Before its formation as treacle (guda) the sugar cane juice undergoes four stages viz.
Ardhavasheshita ( when only ½ of the juice remains in the process of boiling),
Tribhaga avaseshishita (when 1/3 rd remains),
Chaturbhag Avasheshita (when ¼ th remains) and
Kshudra Guda or Phanita (Inspissated juice black in color).
The juice undergoing transformation through all these four stages is progressively heaviest.
That is to say the Phanita (inspissated juicepnidium) is the heaviest.

Dhauta is that variety of treacle which is cleaned and which contains increase in parasite etc. Matsyandika (crude sugar when the juice is inspissated so as to take the shape of eggs of fish), Khanda ( sugar candy ) and Sarkara (sugar) are all progressively better refined and cooler in relation to Dhauta Guda.
That is to say, sugar represents the best refined stage of juice. It is also the coldest of all varieties.

Jaggery Vs Sugar

Gur is healthier than sugar because unlike sugar, jaggery is made with natural processes without chemicals. (Of course, some low quality jaggeries are sold in the market which are processed with chemicals).

Jaggery can be used as replacement in coffee, tea and fruit juices. It entirely changes the consistency and taste of the beverage for the better.

Rather than comparing it with sugar, it is better to compare it with candy sugar (Mishri, Khadi sakhar), which is unprocessed version of sugar.
Jaggery can increase Kapha Dosha, hence not very ideal during cold, cough, asthma, bronchitis, whereas candy sugar is fine to take during cold and cough.
Jaggery is heavy to digest, hence not ideal when a person’s digestion strength is weak. Whereas, sugar candy is relatively easier to digest.

Use of jaggery in Ayurveda medicines

Jaggery in Asava and Arishta

Asava and Arishta are the fermented Ayurveda products. They contain natural self generated alcohol, ranging from 5 – 12 %. Dasamoolarishtam and Ashokarishta – are two good examples of Arishta and
Kumaryasava is an example for Asava.

In these Asava and Arishta preparation, jaggery is used as a source of sugar. With the help of natural yeast, sugar in the jaggery is converted into alcohol with the help of natural yeast (present in some herbs, used in the medicines). During the process of this conversion, the water soluble and alcohol soluble active principles get dissolved into the liquid medium, and thus the medicine gets prepared in about 1 – 2 months of time.

In these asava and arishta preparations, jaggery was made into a paste with lime powder, applied over a long strip of cloth. This was used to seal the cap of vessels. This was useful to prevent entry of air inside the arishta vessel, helping in anaerobic fermentation.

Syrups

Jaggery is used as a the sugar base in some syrups. Example: Raktansoo syrup

Herbal jams – Lehyam

Jaggery is used as the sugar base to prepare some herbal jams, like Kalyanaka Guda and Shatavari gulam

Tablets

Jaggery is used as base for many tablets. Apart from acting as a good binding agent, it also adds immense medicinal value to the tablet. Example: Pranada Gutika and Vyoshadi Vatakam

Kashayam

In some herbal water decoctions, the decoction is traditionally advised to be taken along with jaggery. Example: Pathyaksha Dhatryadi kashayam

Guda Varti

Guda varti is ancient equivalent to modern rectal suppositories. They are administered through rectal route to relieve constipation and for other therapeutic effects. For Varti, usually jaggery is used as the base. Jaggery starts melting a little above room temperature. Rectal temperature is quite sufficient to melt the jaggery. So, while it melts, it releases the other herbs in the Varti into the rectal area, thereby, it acts as a carrier for other herbal powders.

Jaggery home remedies 

If you visit any Indian village in the afternoon, especially in summer, soon after you enter in, you will be given a small piece of jaggery and cold water to drink. This is to cool you down and to energize you instantly. Try it after coming home in the afternoon.

Various sweet drinks are prepared with jaggery, called as Guda Panaka, used extensively in Ayurveda to restore energy and for aphrodisiac effect.

I already have covered a couple of home remedies, where we used jaggery. Missed them?  Here they are –

Trikatu home remedy for cough

Amla remedy for excess body heat

Home remedies for acidity

Guda sharkara – The next step in processing of jaggery, is where they get the form of coarse granules. This is used in treating injured patients, people with emaciation and for aphrodisiac purposes.

Use by Sushruta:
Sushruta made use of jaggery in “dahakarma’ – heating process, because jaggery can retain heat for a long period of time.
Reference: Dahakarmani upayukta: | Sutrasthana 12/4

Use in leech therapy

In leech therapy, after the leech is applied and vitiated blood is let out, if still more vitiated blood is remaining in the affected area, then a paste of jaggery, honey and turmeric is applied to the spot. This causes further letting out of impure blood. Read more about leech therapy – Jalauka (reference: Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 26/46

Precautions, side effects

Long term use, in high dose may cause weight gain.
Not recommended in diabetes.
Jaggery used, continuously for a long period of time may cause intestinal worm infestation.
Jaggery is contra indicated if you have ulcerative colitis.
Taking radish and jaggery along with fish is contra indicated in Ayurveda.
In case of Shotha – swelling, inflammation disorders, taking jaggery products is contra indicated. Reference – Charaka Samhita, Chikitsa Sthana 12/20
Jaggery shouldn’t be consumed in cold or cold weather. Gur, being a natural coolant, can increase the cold qualities in the body and worsen respiratory symptoms.
It is best to avoid jaggery while having fever, cold and cough, for the same reason.

Jaggery in diabetes

Is there any benefit of using jaggery in diabetes?
Jaggery contains sugar hence is not recommended in diabetes. However, the amount of sugar per gram of jaggery is lesser than that of one gram of white sugar. Hence, if your diabetes is under good control and if you are using sugar in your diet (say, in coffee or tea), it is best for you to replace white sugar with jaggery.

Jaggery for intestinal worms

Unique use of jaggery in intestinal worms:
Jaggery – if used for long time may cause intestinal worms. But in some Ayurveda medicines, used in treating intestinal worm infestation, like Manibhadra Guda, jaggery is used as an ingredient. This will help in attracting the worms into the intestines and to kill them with the other herbs in the medicine.

Jaggery for hemorrhoids

The powder of Harad fruit is made into paste with equal amount of jaggery. This is administered before food to reduce pain, itching and size of hemorrhoids. (Charaka Chikitsa Sthana 14th chapter).

86 thoughts on “Jaggery (Gur) Health Benefits, Usage, Side Effects – Full Ayurveda Details”

  1. 1. Due to some wiring problem in my brain, I always get confused between Guda (jaggery) and Ghrita (Ghee). Sorry for the mistake. Thanks for pointing it. I corrected it.
    2. Usually fresh ghee will not be that sweetish. It will have salty or alkaline taste.
    3. The dhauta and Adhauta variants were only existent in olden days. If you get the jaggery, heat it till it liquefies, filter it, then it is Dhauta. If you use it as it is, then it is Adhauta.

    Reply
  2. Is it alright to heat jaggery in the pressure cooker, or is it harmful in any way? For example, we make “Sweet Gud Daliya” (jaggery with cracked wheat) by mixing liquefied+filtered (dhauta) jaggery with cracked wheat and putting them both in the cooker to cook.

    Thank you,

    Reply
  3. it is said that the only substances that can be given to a new-born are…honey and jaggery..! is it true?

    Reply
  4. How do ayurvedic companies prepare sharkara,guda,sita,matsyandika,etc. Are they all jaggery or there is difference in their preparation??

    Reply
    • Usually red and white varieties of sugar candy is used for Mastyandika, Sita and Sharkara.
      Jaggery is used for Guda.
      Matsyandika is prepared with supernatant portion of the sugarcane juice.

      Reply
  5. It’s a very good article and very informative.
    Dr. Hebbar you wrote that ‘Various sweet drinks are prepared with jaggery, called as Guda Panaka’, may you pl. mention some ways of making Guda Panaka and their benefits.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Even if new jaggery is bought from the market, it is good to store it for a month or so, before using it. I am unaware of any technique to know old / new.

      Reply
  6. Dr, in coastal villages of north Karnataka (telagin bella) and in southern parts of Maharashtra (kakvi), liquid gud is used extensively. Is their much difference between the advantages/disadvantages of liquid gud over solid gud?

    Reply
  7. Dr.Hebbar you didn’t mention whether Jaggery can be consumed by diabetic patients or not. It will be beneficial to the reader such information are included in the article.

    Reply
    • Hi, Jaggery also contains sugar content in it. Hence not suitable for diabetics. Thanks for pointing out.

      Reply
  8. HI,Doctor,Thank you.. all the information on ayurveda from you is very helpful.what about the use of ayurvedic medicine having jaggery as ingredient by diabetic patients.

    Reply
  9. If I am right, Everything we eat is converted to glucose only inside the body. So why should not one eat Natural sugar or jaggery.

    Reply
    • Hi, everything is not converted to glucose in the body. There are other components such as protein, fats etc.

      Reply
  10. Hi, if it is not prepared well, there will be moisture trapped in jaggery making it prone for getting infected.
    Generally worms are attracted to sweets.

    Reply
  11. Hi, if it is not prepared well, there will be moisture trapped in jaggery making it prone for getting infected.
    Generally worms are attracted to sweets.

    Reply
  12. Doctor, according to AHS Sutrasthana 10.33:

    madhuraṃ śleṣmalaṃ prāyo jīrṇāc chāliyavād ṛte /
    mudgād godhūmataḥ kṣaudrāt sitāyā jāṅgalāmiṣāt //

    Why sitā (white sugar) has no increasing effect on kapha?

    Reply
    • The meaning of this verse is – Generally, substances of sweet taste increase Kapha except old Shali (more than one year old rice) and Yava – Barley – Hordeum vulgare, Mudga (green gram), Godhuma (wheat), Kshaudra (honey), Sita (sugar candy) and meat of animals of desert – like lands.
      The reason is, sugar candy is Laghu – light to digest, which is opposite to heaviness of Kapha Dosha. A substance may act by its taste, its qualities, its Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion), Veerya (hot or cold potency) or with Prabhava (special effects). In this case, sugar pacifies Kapha dosha by the power of its lightness – Laghu quality.

      Reply
  13. Hi, palm jaggery, if contains remnant moisture, then it catch fungus. Better to throw it away.

    Reply
  14. will it be proper to use-it daily for a healthy heart ?
    as it will increase body weight due to reach source of sugar & will increase fat even ,may be harmful to body’s lipid profile to some extent

    Reply
  15. Sir, how much gram of jaggery one should take considering it doesn’t increase the weight. I love eating chana and jaggery. Kindly advise that how much gram of jaggery is okay for maintaining good health.

    Reply
  16. hello,thanks for giving such a nice information,I’m giving my 15 months daughter jaggery from last 9 months in almost every food,because she won’t eat if it is not sweet,I’m worried if she will get infected with worms,she eats approximately 8 spoons of jaggery in a day,and can you please suggest the home remedies to prevent worm infection

    Reply
  17. Respected Doctor
    Please advise me should gur be consumed by blood pressure person or not.

    And Request please advise can gur be taken in place of sugar for High BP or high sugar person.

    Reply
  18. Is it safe to use jaggery melted, mixed in boiling water and then cooled and refrigerated? I used two different jaggery powders in similar fashion. One of the jaggery water turned into a thick syrup after some time with a bland taste. What could it indicate.

    Reply
      • Hello Doctor,

        The refrigerated jiggery water turns into a thick soup with bland taste after some days. Any idea why is this happening and what does it indicate?

        Reply
        • Hi, it seems there is free water in the jaggery, making it rancid. Please consider buying organic jaggery that remains solid in room temperature.

          Reply
  19. Please tell me is it harm, If we eat mashed jaggery-chapati with oil or ghee on daily basis.
    Approx 100g jaggery per day

    Reply
    • 100 grams of jaggery is bit too high for daily consumption. I would suggest to decrease its quantity a bit.
      No problem in eating mashed jaggery-chapati with oil or ghee n daily basis.

      Reply
  20. does jagery increase aam dosha.
    read in one of the advts. by an ayurvedic doctor that in case of aam dosha leading to aama vata, jaggery shouold not be taken.

    Reply
  21. Hello Doctor, what does ayurveda say about blackstrap molasses? Is it suitable to take daily for building the blood and iron levels? Or is jaggery better?

    Reply
    • Blackstrap molasses is very similar to jaggery in qualities.
      Both are good sources of Iron.

      Reply
  22. Hii doctor, can we give jaggery with milk to my 18 month old son? Is it even gud for adults? I found on net that if it taken by adults, it increates height.. is it true? Pls reply…thanks

    Reply
  23. Jaggery with milk is good to take for gaining weight. It is no good in high Kapha conditions such as obesity, cold, cough, sathma.

    Better to store jaggery for one year yourself and use it.

    Reply
  24. Dear sir

    These days every night before sleep I boil milk in iron wok along with good amount of jaggery ghee almond pistachios saffron and cardamom. Is this permissible according to ayurveda ? Is it good or bad ? Kindly let me know . I am on wheat and rice free diet since last 7 months. Totally gluten free .

    Reply
  25. G’day Dr. Hebbar,
    I am a vitiligo patient, I dont have a lot of patches, so I’m trying to find ways to cure this autoimmune disease.
    Someone in my locality has suggested the consumption of Jaggery after reporting many such cases of vitiligo patients being cured from the same, so I have decided to try jaggery. I have purchased medicated jaggery, is this benifitial?

    Reply
  26. Is black strap molasses very hard to digest? Is it the same as phanita, inspissated sugarcane juice which is meant to be bad for consumption?

    Reply
  27. When we make tea with jaggery it get spoiled…so is it good to use jaggery in tea preparation?is it good to have tea with jaggery ?

    Reply
    • Tea with jaggery is fine. But if it starts fermenting, it may spoil the milk. Better to use sugar candy or unrefined sugar.

      Reply
  28. Store in an air tight container, in a mud or iron pot, preferably near to a source of heat, such as stove/ kitchen.

    Reply
  29. Can we eat jaggery in summers ? I am consuming gur instead of white sugar these days. Is it fine ?

    Reply
  30. In ayurveda it is restricted to eat sweet after meals. Is that true? Can we take gur after meals?

    Reply
    • Hi, sweet is consumed usually in the beginning of meals, not at the end. Hence, it is best to take gur before meals.

      Reply
  31. Dear Sir,
    What is “Sharkara” as used at many places in Charak Samhita: Is it Mishri (The Big rock sugar candy, eaten by Lord ShriKrishna) or is it the jaggery powder (the granular brown shakkar?

    Reply
  32. Sir Is it true ,that jaggery shouldn’t be consumed in cold or cold weather? Or the time while having fevers,cold or cough?

    Reply
  33. In precautions content you are told jaggery is contraindicated, but in cakradatta sotha Roga adhikara, jaggery is one of the ingredient in punarnava lehyam

    Reply

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