Sugar cane is native to southeast Asia. The Arabs spread its cultivation throughout the Mediterranean countries, then the Spanish and Portuguese carried it to America in the 16th century. Cane sugar is obtained from this plant, as well as molasses, also called cane honey, which is the syrup residue after separating the sugar crystals from the cane juice.
Sugar Cane Scientific Facts
- French: Canne a sucre.
- Spanish: Cana de azucar
- Environment: It grows in subtropical regions of southern Europe, and the tropical area of Central and South America, mainly in Cuba.
- Description: Plant of the Gramineae family, similar to the standard cane, with aerial stems (canes) which grow up to 4 m high. Its flesh is sweet and juicy.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The stem (cane).
Healing Properties and Indications
The sugar cane juice contains saccharose, a disaccharide sugar whose chemical formula is C12H22O11. It also includes a high amount of mineral salts and vitamins, most of which remain in the molasses. Brown sugar (non-refined sugar) contains some molasses, which gives it its color; hence it has some mineral salts and vitamins. However, refined sugar (white sugar) is pure saccharose, lacking any other nourishing substances.
Sugar cane juice and the decoction of its flesh have pectoral as well as invigorating and refreshing properties. Its use is recommended for people suffering from bronchial catarrh, chronic bronchitis, or asthma.
How to use Sugar Cane
- Fresh juice, prepared by grinding sugar canes.
- Decoction, with 250 g of peeled sugar cane per liter of water.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 332. Print.