Jaggery is a type of unrefined sugar, which is extensively used in many Indian cuisines as well as in Ayurvedic medicine. It is often substituted with white sugar as a healthier alternative. It is derived from sugarcane juice which is concentrated by heating and molasses are not removed during the process. This results in the formation of a brownish-yellow colored solid form known as Jaggery.
Chemical composition –
Jaggery dominantly contains Sucrose, followed by fructose and glucose. It also contains slight amounts of proteins, fats, and trace minerals like iron and especially potassium which makes it a better alternative than sugar to maintain the electrolyte balance. It also contains traces of Vitamin B complex.
Ayurvedic properties and therapeutic benefits –
Ayurveda describes it as a backbone of fermented medicines known as Asava and Arishta (medicated fermented decoction) as it helps in the process of fermentation and is a natural preservative. Jaggery is known as Guda in Sanskrit and is known to have Pitta increasing effects if used in excess. It has a Madhura rasa (sweet taste) and is Ushna (hot in nature).
Health Benefits –
It has immense health benefits. It is recommended to use at least a year old jaggery for consumption. Freshly made jaggery is known to increase Kapha Dosha and lead to metabolic disorders and cause indigestion. Some of the benefits of jaggery are as follows:
- It is useful to immediately restore the electrolyte imbalance, hence used in case of dehydration with water.
- It is a known bladder and colon cleanser hence helping with the proper elimination of urine and stool.
- Jaggery promotes digestive strength and taste.
- It relieves fatigue and tiredness and is useful in anemia.
- Jaggery is recommended for obesity as a replacement for candied sugar as it helps to metabolize the fat by its Ushna (hot) properties.
Ayurvedic Uses and home remedies:
- Jaggery powder or a small piece can be mixed with 1 tsp of Ghee and consumed during or after meals as a replacement for sweet cravings.
- It can be used in making tea instead of adding refined sugar, it can be added for sweetness.
- It can also be used to make various jams and candies such as Awla Candy.