Sugarcane is a tall perennial grass that is used for sugar production. Sugarcane juice, on the other hand, is the syrup that is extracted from pressed sugarcane. It is obtained when peeled sugarcanes are crushed in a mill, creating a tasty drink that is consumed all around the world.

Originating in tropical South and Southeast Asia, sugar production from sugarcanes is said to have begun in North India. Several Sanskrit and Pali texts mention sugar production. The Sanskrit word Sarkara, from where the scientific name for sugarcane, Saccharum seems to have been derived, also acts as evidence for the knowledge that was imbibed from ancient India.

Traders from the Middle East introduced sugar to the Mediterranean, from where it entered the Americas through the Spanish and the Portuguese farmers. Columbus brought sugarcane to the Caribbean Islands on his second voyage to America, from where it was shipped to Europe. Sugarcane cultivation was an important part of the slave trade during this time as well.

Sugarcane juice works wonders on the body because of the antioxidants that are present in it. These antioxidants help to fight infections and also boost immunity. Sugarcane is also rich in minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and other electrolytes, making it a great cure for dehydration.

Sugarcane has some environmental benefits as well. In several places around the world, the sugarcane bagasse that remains after the canes is crushed to extract juice is converted into paper materials. Unlike paper made out of trees, this sugarcane paper is environment-friendly and recyclable. In certain cases, sugarcane is also used as a biofuel and is used in ethanol production as well.

Some basic facts about sugarcane:

  • Botanical Name: Saccharum officinarum
  • Family Name: Poaceae
  • Common Name: Sugarcane, eekh, karimbu, ganna
  • Parts Used: The stem of the sugarcane plant is used to extract sugar.
  • Native Region and Geographical Distribution:  Sugarcane is cultivated in Brazil, India, China, Thailand, and parts of the United States like Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Hawaii. Peru leads the worldwide production of sugarcane, followed by Zambia.
  • Interesting Fact: When Greek and Persian merchants first encountered sugarcane on their travels to India, it was considered a luxurious and expensive spice.
  1. Health benefits of sugarcane juice
  2. Sugarcane juice side effects
  3. Takeaway

Sugarcane juice as a diuretic

Sugarcane is traditionally used as a diuretic. Studies indicate that regular use of sugarcane juice will affect a clear and fast flow of urine, which will ensure proper functioning of the kidneys. By clearing out the extra toxins from the body, it is further beneficial in relieving high blood pressure, urinary tract infections and other kidney related diseases.

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Sugarcane juice for weight gain

According to traditional belief, regular consumption of sugarcane juice results in weight gain. It is rich in nutrients and minerals that help in enriching the body and providing it with the healthy type of carbohydrates which is necessary for the proper maintenance of the body. So, sugarcane juice can act as an effective remedy for individuals who are dangerously low weight or those who want to put on some extra kilos.

(Read more: Weight gain diet chart)

Sugarcane for dehydration

Sugarcane juice is packed with plenty of important minerals in high quantities, making it act as a wonderful cure for tiredness or lack of energy. People who are weak or stressed are often encouraged to regularly consume a glass of sugarcane juice so that their bodies would feel rejuvenated. Sugarcane juice provides for the Carbohydrate fluid (CHOs) and a few electrolytes that have been lost throughout the day, resulting in the individual feeling refreshed and energized.

Post-exercise, it enhances muscle glycogen resynthesis proving to be a better rehydration drink than plain water. This is one of the reasons why sugarcane juice is recommended to athletes and people who indulge in heavy workouts.

(Read more: Dehydration causes and treatment)

Sugarcane juice for jaundice

Jaundice is a condition wherein the liver starts to malfunction and produce more bilirubin, the chemical that makes up the yellow part of bile. As a result of this, the affected person would show symptoms like yellow discoloration of skin and nails.

Traditionally, sugarcane juice is known to be very good for liver health, and it is considered an excellent remedy for jaundice. Since sugarcane is an alkaline food item, it helps to reduce acid levels in the body. This, in turn, assists the liver in healing and recovering quickly from the disease.

Further, the nutrients present in sugarcane helps to keep the body strong while the liver recovers, making it a beneficial remedy or supportive cure to liver diseases.

(Read more: Liver disease treatment)

Sugarcane juice for digestion

Sugarcane juice is said to be a rich source of potassium which promotes the balanced secretion of digestive juices. It also helps to fight stomach infections and prevent them from developing into harmful diseases. As a source of potassium, sugarcane juice is also said to help in keeping the pH levels in the stomach balanced, thus contributing to a healthy functioning stomach.

Since a major part of sugarcane juice is water, it would aid in softening of stools, which, in turn, remedies constipation.

(Read more: How to improve digestion)

Sugarcane juice for cancer

Sugarcane is rich in antioxidants and therefore is a potential source of anticancer agents. Several compounds present in sugarcane juice have shown a greater radical-scavenging capability than standard drugs. Furthermore, researches have also proved that sugarcane has anti-proliferative activity against several cancer cell lines like breast, lung, melanoma, colon, prostate, ovary and kidney cancer.

(Read more: Cancer types)

Sugarcane is said to be one of the world's best sources of natural sugar, after honey. And like other natural food items, it obviously acts as a remedy for many different health problems, helping to keep the body fit and healthy. However, there are cases where sugarcane has proven to be harmful to the consumer which shows that this otherwise wonderful grass, may have some side effects too.

  • Sugarcane juice tends to get oxidised on being exposed to air for a long time and it can prove to be fatal to anyone who consumes it. This could be especially worrisome if you buy sugarcane juice from street side vendors who do not follow proper storage practices.
  • Sugarcane is a rich source of carbohydrates. This makes it rich in calories as well. This means that excessive consumption of sugarcane juice can be harmful to the body and may lead to weight gain.
  • Studies indicate that consuming sugar cane juice may increase the chances of dental caries.
  • It has already been established that sugarcane is good for diabetic patients. However, too much of even natural sugar can be harmful and hence, care must be taken to ensure that consumption is kept regulated and controlled.
  • If the consumed sugarcane juice is not produced under hygienic conditions or if the canes have not been properly cleaned, there are all chances that it may be carrying pathogenic microbes, spreading diseases or infections. Furthermore, the presence of chemical pesticides can also be detrimental to health.
  • Sugarcane has been used as folk medicine since long and has the ability to treat numerous disorders. However, sugarcane can induce toxic effects in humans due to its ability to upload toxic heavy metals (e.g. Cadmium, Lead) and micronutrients (e.g. Copper, Zinc, Manganese). In a study, the risk of the oral cavity or pharynx cancer was seen in the sugarcane farmers who were exposed to occupational solvents.

Sugarcane juice is an important beverage that plays a big role in Indian households and kitchens. Apart from its property as a natural source of sugar, it is also had as a refreshing summer drink. The fact that the health qualities of sugarcane have been mentioned even in ancient Indian scripts shows exactly how beneficial it is to humans and how it can effectively maintain the health of the body. However, care must be taken to consume sugarcane juice in moderation since excessive consumption may do more harm than good.

Medicines / Products that contain Sugarcane


  1. Amandeep Singh et al. Phytochemical profile of sugarcane and its potential health aspects. Literature Review · May 2015
  2. Richard P. Spencer. Potassium metabolism and gastrointestinal function; a review. The American Journal of Digestive Diseases February 1959, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 145–158
  3. Amandeep Singh et al. Phytochemical profile of sugarcane and its potential health aspects . Pharmacogn Rev. 2015 Jan-Jun; 9(17): 45–54. PMID: 26009693
  4. J Karthikeyan, S Sankar Samipillai. Sugarcane in therapeutics. ResearchGate [Internet]
  5. Kommi Kalpana et al. The Effects of Ingestion of Sugarcane Juice and Commercial Sports Drinks on Cycling Performance of Athletes in Comparison to Plain Water . Asian J Sports Med. 2013 Sep; 4(3): 181–189. PMID: 24427476
  6. Frencken JE, Rugarabamu P, Mulder J. The effect of sugar cane chewing on the development of dental caries. J Dent Res. 1989 Jun;68(6):1102-4. PMID: 2808868
  7. Bruno Henrique Fumes et al. Determination of pesticides in sugarcane juice employing microextraction by packed sorbent followed by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry . Journal of Separation Science, 24 May 2016
  8. Alves VG et al. Phenolic compounds and anticancer activity of commercial sugarcane cultivated in Brazil. An Acad Bras Cienc. 2016 Sep;88(3):1201-9. PMID: 27598841
  9. Duarte-Almeida JM et al. Antiproliferative and antioxidant activities of a tricin acylated glycoside from sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) juice. Phytochemistry. 2007 Apr;68(8):1165-71. Epub 2007 Mar 12. PMID: 17350657
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