By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
Sago or saboodana is a food which is full of energy due to rich carbohydrate content. It is extracted from the spongy center of sago palm stems (Metroxylon sagu) and it is in the form of starch.
It has tiny amount of calcium, iron, potassium, folic acid, Vitamin B too. But this amount is too short to fulfill the daily need.
Vernacular names of Sabudana:
Hindi Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi & Marathi -Saboodaanaa
Urdu name – Sabudaana
English name – Sago pearls
Kannada name – Saabakki
Tamil name – Javvarisi
Malayalam name – Chavvari
Telugu name – Saggubeeyam
The large amount of sago comes from Southeast Asia, particularly from Indonesia and Malaysia. Among this, large quantities of sago are sent to Europe and North America for cooking purposes, as it has big demand over there.
In India sago pearl or saboodana is prepared out of Tapioca root also; where the white colored, opaque pearls are formed by processing the roots of Tapioca. So, testing the genuinely appears to be a difficult task even for the stockists as well as consumers.
Usually the sago prepared from tapioca is dissolved immediately where as dissolution is slow in case of original sago pearls.
It is used in various forms like puddings, gruel or soups, upma, kheer, kichdi etc.
According to the book-‘The New Oxford Book of Food Plants’ traditional Indian medicine uses sago in combination with rice to cool the body. This strong reason makes us to accept it as an herbal remedy to treat several health complaints resulting from too much heat, like bilious head ache, hepato-cellular disorders, acid peptic disorders etc.
For muscle strength
1. For muscular growth and strength –
Sago is rich in protein content and hence it helps in the muscle growth as well as in strengthening the muscle powder. So sago/ saboodana can be used in various forms like kheer, pudding or upma so as to avail this benefit.
For IBS, weak digestion
2. Sabudana for Debility, weak digestion and IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)
Saboodana in the form of khichdi is light for digestion. It is used as a kichdi/upma during the festivals as well as to those who are under Vrata/ Upavasa (during Sankashtahara chaturthi, Ekadashi, Chandrayana, Janmashthami etc) during religious fasting. This serves as an instant energizer.
For headache, migraine
3. Burning and Bilious head ache, vertigo, migraine –
In the above said conditions sago gruel is very much useful. One fist full of sago is dissolved in 2-3 cup of water or milk. This is cooked well and by adding little jaggery or sugar candy it is taken out of the fire. This can be taken twice or thrice a day.
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As baby food
4. Baby food-
Saboodana is easily digestible and non-irritating food.Its aroma is also appreciable. It is free from colorants and artificial preservatives. So it is safe to use as a baby food in all the age groups. Importantly if the child is suffering from diarrhea and malabsorption this has significant role.
Read related: Swarna Vacha: Home Remedy For Immunity, Memory, Intelligence
For sexual vigor
5. Bulk enhancer and to increase the sexual vigor-
Saboodana is soaked in water and kept overnight. Water is filtered and only soaked sago are taken. To this coconut milk is added and cooked by adding little cow’s milk as well as sugar candy. When it is thick similar to kheer taken out of the fire and if necessary little saffron or cardamom may be added.
This is advised to take during night time. It induces good sleep and promotes sexual vigor. Regular practice helps to gain the weight too.
A good start of ‘sago -saga’ will take us towards good health and spirit.
Purity test for Sabudana:
Dry Sabudana for a day under sunshade. Burn it in open air. If pure, it will swell and burn without leaving any ash. Adulterated Sago will leave behind considerable amount of ash.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD