Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Sugar Cane is a perennial grass that is native to the tropical Asian regions. It has rather fleshy, fibrous, jointed stalks that are abundantly rich in sugar, and it grows to measure between two and six meters tall. It is a member of the grass family, which also includes wheat, maize, and rice. Sucrose is the basic product of Sugar Cane that gathers in its stalk internodes.
Cultivating Sugar Cane requires a temperate climate that has just the right level of moisture. Therefore Sugar Cane is grown in prime growing regions such as in Pakistan, India, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Australia, the Philippines, Cuba, Hawaii, South Africa and also in El Salvador. Although Sugar Cane produces seeds, growers prefer the modern stem cutting technology as the best common reproduction method. The cutting must at least contain one bud, and hand planting these cuttings in some instances is highly encouraged. In the more highly advanced countries such as the US and Australia, billet planting is utilized.
History and Origin
The inhabitants of New Guinea were believed to be the earliest to adopt Sugar Cane at about 8,000 BC, although the recorded history of solid sugar is in India at AD 500. After it was adopted, the cultivation then spread further and finally reached in to southern China, India and Indochina. The conquerors along with Muslim traders exported the Sugar Cane plant together with the refining technologies to European countries and Middle Eastern countries. The cultivation of Sugar Cane and its processing then extended further and finally reached Persia by the sixth century AD; Sugar Cane was then later carried to the Mediterranean through the Arab expansion.
In more ancient civilizations, the people used to chew on the Sugar Cane in order to extract the plant’s addicting sweetness. The Indians discovered the process to crystallize sugar at about 350 AD. Initially, original Sugar Cane came from the tropical South and Southeast Asia. However, there are different types of Sugar Cane and most of these newer and diverse species most likely came from different locations such as India and New Guinea.
The early methods of Sugar Cane refining was done by pounding and grinding the cane to be able to extract the juice. The juice would then be boiled afterwards, or dried under the sun in order to yield a more sugary solid.
With Sugar Cane, an alternative eco-friendly fuel called Ethanol can be produced. Ethanol is a renewable power resource in place of the more traditional gasoline.
Sugar Cane production creates a thick substance called molasses that is a vital ingredient of rum alcohol. Pure alcohol is actually produced using molasses.
• Skin Care
Sugar Cane can also be found to be used as a main natural ingredient in a variety of skin care products, such as body scrubs and exfoliating products, due to its grainy texture. When mixed with lemon juice and all other ingredients, it will yield a natural organic wax that is also useful in removing body hair.
The pure sugar and molasses mixture can be incorporated in to tobacco in order to produce a sweet mixture commonly smoked using a hookah.
• Bio-degradable Plastic
Using modern technology, Sugar Cane is useful in creating an eco-friendly bio plastic that is completely compostable. This is the answer for the traditional non-biodegradable plastic.
Sugar Cane together with other ingredients such as lime can produce a soil improver and an organic fertilizer.
A Sugar Cane extract called policosanol is found to have side effects according to studies. This includes dizziness, headaches, insomnia, stomach upset and weight loss.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan