Sugar Cane

Botanical Name :Saccharum officinarum Linn.
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Tribe: Andropogoneae
Genus: Saccharum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Other Scientfic Names :Saccharum violaceum F.-Vill. ,Saccharum officinarum Linn.,Saccharum chinense Roxb. ,Saccharum officinale Salisb.

Common Names :Agbo (Ibn.),Unas (Ilk.), Caña dulce ,(Span.) Unat (It.) ,Tubo (Tag., Bik.), Noblecane (Engl.),Tubu (Sul.) Sugar cane (Engl.),Una (Ibn.), Hong gan zhe (Chin.)

Habitat :Native to warm temperate to tropical regions of Asia.Sugarcane indigenous to tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia. Different species likely originated in different locations with S. barberi originating in India and S. edule and S. officinarum coming from New Guinea. Crystallized sugar was reported 5,000 years ago in India.

Around the eighth century A.D., Indian traders introduced sugar to the Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, Egypt, North Africa, and Andalusia. By the tenth century, sources state, there was no village in Mesopotamia that did not grow sugar cane. It was among the early crops brought to the Americas by the Andalusians (from their fields in the Canary Islands), and the Portuguese.

Description:
Sugarcane refers to any of 6 to 37 species (depending on which taxonomic system is used) of tall perennial
coarse and erect grass, attaining a height of 1.5 to 4 meters, 2-5 cm thick, with long and short internodes. Stems are solid, polished, green, yellow or purplish. Leaves are large and broad, with blades 0.9 to 1.25 meters long and 4-5 cm wide. Panicles are very large, white, drooping and terminal, 40 to 80 cm long, branches up to 35 cm long. Spikelets are numerous, 1-flowered, about 3 mm long, with surrounding white villous hairs about twice as long as the spikelets.

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Cultivation:
Sugarcane cultivation requires a tropical or temperate climate, with a minimum of 60 centimetres (24 in) of annual moisture. It is one of the most efficient photosynthesizers in the plant kingdom. It is a C4 plant, able to convert up to 1 percent of incident solar energy into biomass [4]. In prime growing regions, such as India, Pakistan, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Australia, Ecuador, Cuba, the Philippines, El Salvador and Hawaii, sugarcane can produce 20 lb (9 kg) for each square meter exposed to the sun.

Although sugarcanes produce seeds, modern stem cutting has become the most common reproduction method. Each cutting must contain at least one bud and the cuttings are sometimes hand-planted. In more technologically advanced countries like the United States and Australia, billet planting is common. Billets harvested from a mechanical harvester are planted by a machine which opens and recloses the ground. Once planted, a stand can be harvested several times; after each harvest, the cane sends up new stalks, called ratoons. Successive harvests give decreasing yields, eventually justifying replanting. Two to ten harvests may be possible between plantings.

Harvesting :
Sugarcane is harvested by hand and mechanically. Hand harvesting accounts for more than half of production, and is dominant in the developing world. In hand harvesting the field is first set on fire. The fire burns dry leaves, and kills any lurking venomous snakes, without harming the stalks and roots. Harvesters then cut the cane just above ground-level using cane knives or machetes. A skilled harvester can cut 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) of sugarcane per hour.

Chemical constituents and properties:
Sucrose is the product of the sugar cane juice.
Considered antidote, antiseptic, antivinous, bacterical, cardiotonic, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, , cooling, laxative, stimulant.

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Edible Uses:
Sugarcane as food:-

In most countries where sugarcane is cultivated, there are several foods and popular dishes derived directly from it, such as:

*Raw sugarcane: chewed to extract the juice

*Sugarcane juice: a combination of fresh juice, extracted by hand or small mills, with a touch of lemon and ice to make a popular drink, known variously as ganne ka rass, guarab, guarapa, guarapo, papelón, aseer asab, Ganna sharbat, mosto , caldo de cana’.

*Cachaça: the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil; a liquor made of the distillation of sugarcane

*Jaggery: a solidified molasses, known as Gur or Gud in India, traditionally produced by evaporating juice to make a thick sludge and then cooling and molding it in buckets. Modern production partially freeze dries the juice to reduce caramelization and lighten its color. It is used as sweetener in cooking traditional entrees, sweets and desserts.

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*Panela: solid pieces of sucrose and fructose obtained from the boiling and evaporation of sugarcane juice; a food staple in Colombia and other countries in South and Central America

*Molasses: used as a sweetener and a syrup accompanying other foods, such as cheese or cookies

*Rapadura: a sweet flour which is one of the simplest refinings of sugarcane juice

*Rum: a liquor made of the distillation of sugarcane commonly produced in the Caribbean. Rum is more purified than the Brasilian Cachaça.

*Falernum: a sweet, and lightly alcoholic drink made from sugar cane juice.

*Syrup: a traditional sweetener in soft drinks, now largely supplanted in the US by high-fructose corn syrup, which is less expensive because of subsidies.

*Rock candy: crystallized cane juice

*Sayur Nganten : name of Indonesian soup made of trubuk stem (Saccharum edule).

* Cane Sugar :Cane sugar is the most popular sweetner arround the world.

Medicinal Uses:

Folkloric
*Refined sugar has been used for fevers, lack of secretion, dry coughs.
*Molasses is used as a laxative.
*Sugar is applied to wounds, ulcers, boils, and inflammed eyes.
*Pulped sugar used to dress wounds; the cane used for splinting broken bones.
*Malay women use it in childbirth.
*Decoction of root used for whooping cough.
*In India, plant juices used for abdominal tumors.
*In Cote-d’-Ivoire, leaf decoction used for hypertension.

Studies
• Immunostimulating Effect: The phagocytic activity of peripheral blood leucocytes in chickens increased significantly when orally administered sugar cane extracts, with higher antibody responses and delayed type hypersensitivity responses.
• Prokinetic Effect: S officinarum was one of seven known herbs in a polyherbal formulation. Study showed increased gastric emptying and suggests a potential for use as a gastrointestinal prokinetic to improve gastrointestinal motility.
• Hypoglycemic Effect: Study reports the hypoglycemic effect of juice from sugar cane stalks. The isolated constituent, saccharin, provided a transient reduction of blood glucose. The transient hypoglycemic effect of complex polysaccharides is suggested to be possibly from increased glucose utilization in the liver and peripheral tissues.
• Phytochemicals / Antioxidant: Study of sugarcane leaves yielded luteolin-8-C (rhamnosylglucoside), with radical scavenging activity. The juice yielded falvones diosmetin-8-C-glucoside, vitrexin, schaftoside, isoschaftoside and 4′,5′-dimethyl-luteolin-8-C glucoside. Its content of flavonoids suggest a potential for sugarcane as a dietary source of natural antioxidants.

click & see:    Ayurveda Medicinal Properties of Sugarcane Juice

Other Uses:
*Ethanol is generally available as a by-product of sugar production. It can be used as a biofuel alternative to gasoline, and is widely used in cars in Brazil. It is an alternative to gasoline, and may become the primary product of sugarcane processing, rather than sugar.

*The dry  waste after extraction of sweet cane juice is used as fuel to  boil the juice to make jaggery.

Known Hazards:
Sugarcane contains hydrocyanic. Sugar cane is a known teratogen. Molasses in excess amounts, alone or mixed with feeds, may cause diarrhea, colic, urticaria, kidney irritation, sweating and paralysis in domestic stock; horses seem more susceptible, and toxicity could prove fatal.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.stuartxchange.com/Tubo.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarcane

http://www.hbws.org/cssweb/print.cfm?sid=1991

http://iriejamaica.blogspot.com/2009/04/i-love-sugar-cane-mon.html

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