Sugar cane

Saccharum officinarum

Medicinal Uses

Sugar has a bad reputation in western countries as a key factor in obesity. However, the main medicinal use of sugar cane is as the fresh juice crushed from the stems, which does not have the harmful properties of refined sugar.

Sugar cane features in the traditional medicine of South Asia. It has been used to treat a wide variety of health complaints from constipation to coughs. It has been used externally to treat skin problems, a use that is being supported by scientific evidence. Both the roots and stems of sugar cane are used in medicine to treat skin and urinary tract infections, as well as for bronchitis, heart conditions, loss of milk production, cough, anaemia, constipation as well as general debility. Some texts advise its use for jaundice and low blood pressure. A common remedy is to mix fresh stem juice with dry ginger in order to relieve hiccups . A plaster made from equal parts of sugar and yellow soap is used externally for treating boils, while crude sugar is applied to carbuncles.

Wound healing - Sugar cane juice is rich in a wide range of compounds apart from sucrose (sugar). It is likely to be some of these that are responsible for observed wound healing properties, and which may help to stimulate the immune system.