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By JEROME MICHAEL EBRUPHIYO/Science and Nature/Monday, September 20, 2021

What Are The Health Benefits Of Sugar Cane (Saccharum officinarum)?

                              
                            
This post will provide information on "What are the health benefits of sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum)?" as well as provide answers to questions like: Who discovered sugar cane? Where does sugar cane come from originally? What was sugar cane first used for? How did people discover sugar cane? Is sugar Cane good for health? What are the side effects of sugar cane? Can sugarcane cause diabetes? Is sugarcane bad for health? What does sugarcane do to the body?

History of Sugar Cane (Saccharum officinarum)

Sugarcane is a grass plant of the genus Saccharum, tribe Andropogoneae that can be found in 36 species variety. It was originally native to warm tropical regions of Asia, but after early civilizations found out about its usefulness it quickly spread. This enabled new civilizations to improve theirsugar production with crossbreeding (all current commercial sugarcanes are complex hybrids), which only increased sugarcane’s popularity. Sugarcane was originally domesticated around 8000 BC in New Guinea. From there knowledge about this plant slowly moved toward east across Southeast Asia until it reached India, where the first organized production of sugar began during middle of 1st millennia BC. In the beginning sugar was extracted from sugarcanes by chewing and extracting fluids via water, but in 5th century AD Indian chemist found a way to crystalize extracted sucrose, making sugar much easier to transport. With this great discovery, sugar became very expensive trading item of India, and sugarcanes themselves started spreading across the Asia and Middle East. Arab nations adopted sugarcanes, and spread them toward Mediterranean, especially after they managed to conquer Egypt. From there sugarcanes reached Spain around 715 AD, but they did not took hold until Crusades, when majority of the Europe became acquainted with the sugar that was imported from the Middle East. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cypress and Azores tried to establish stable economy around sugarcanes in 16th and 17th century, but vast new lands in the New World offered better climate. Because of that, sugarcanes were quickly introduced to the Americas, where landowners created vast plant ages of this plant. Because growing and processing of sugarcanes was not easy, and demand for sugar was extremely high, organized culling of Africa for slaves became very profitable and popular. With over 12 million slaves displaced from Africa, production of sugar skyrocketed, managing to drop in price and become available to everyone during 19th century. Cuban sugar derived from sugarcane was exported to the USSR, where it received price supports and was ensured a guaranteed market. The 1991 dissolution of the Soviet state forced the closure of most of Cuba's sugar industry. Sugarcane remains an important part of the economy of Guyana, Belize, Barbados, and Haiti, along with the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, and other islands. About 70% of the sugar produced globally comes from S. officinarum and hybrids using this species

Description of Sugar Cane (Saccharum officinarum)

Sugarcane or sugar cane refers to several species and hybrids of tall perennial grass in the genus Saccharum, tribe Andropogoneae, that are used for sugar production. The plants are 2–6 m (6–20 ft) tall with stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sucrose, which accumulates in the stalk internodes. Sugarcanes belong to the grass family, Poaceae, an economically important flowering plant family that includes maize, wheat, rice, and sorghum, and many forage crops. It is native to the warm, temperate tropical regions of India, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea. The plant is also grown for biofuel production, especially in Brazil, as the canes can be used directly to produce ethyl alcohol (ethanol).

Health Benefits of Sugar Cane (Saccharum officinarum)

  • It is the best way to energize yourself and ensure you don’t experience dehydration
  • Enhances liver function
  • Sugar cane juice contains high concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese along with the presence of flavonoids helps the body fight cancerous cells, especially prostate and breast cancer
  • It eases the digestive system
  • The natural sugar has a low glycemic index, preventing spikes in blood glucose levels
  • Being a natural low-cholesterol, low-sodium food with no saturated fats, sugarcane juice helps to keep the kidneys in top shape
  • Consumed in a diluted form, with lime juice and coconut water, sugarcane juice can help reduce the burning sensation associated with sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and prostatitis
  • Aids in the development of bones and teeth
  • Sugar cane helps to overcome bad breath and tooth decay
  • Topical use of sugarcane juice can help reduce and cure skin problems such as acne

Side Effects of Sugar Cane (Saccharum officinarum)

While the juice is packed with nutrients, there are certain side effects. Policosanol present in sugarcane can cause:
  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches and weight loss (if consumed excessively)
  • It can also cause blood thinning and can affect cholesterol levels in the blood
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