Jaggery, also called GUR (GUDA), is traditional form of raw sugar or unrefined sugar derived from sugarcane juice. It is manufactured through heating the sugar cane juice to make thick jaggery crystals. It is dark yellow or brown in color and a great substitute to chemically processed or centrifugal sugar. It is widely used in India, Myanmar and some other Asian and African countries.
Jaggery (gur) Content
|Insoluble matter (fiber, ash etc.)||10%|
Jaggery preserves some of minerals and plant phyto chemicals due to which it is considered healthy and better than refined sugar. The process of making refined sugar removes almost all nutrients, minerals and plant chemicals. It does not occur with making jaggery in traditional way.
Health Benefits of Jaggery
Jaggery has many health benefits and medicinal uses in addition to its sweet taste and sugar substitution. The most important proverb is:
“NATURAL OR LESS PROCESSED FOODS ARE MUCH BETTER THAN THE PROCESSED FOODS.”
Jaggery is less processed and prepared in natural way similar to our cooking method for various foods. It is also free from some chemicals, which are used in making refined sugar. However, some people use baking powder while making jaggery.
Jaggery making includes extraction of sugarcane juice, heating and filtering the juice to make thick paste, cooling down of dark yellow paste, and collecting jaggery crystals.
Jaggery making is a simple process, so it is free from many harmful chemical processing.
Jaggery can also provide therapeutic benefits, so it is used as adjuvants of various medicines in ayurveda and folk medicine.
Improves appetite and digestion
Jaggery (gur) has digestive stimulant property, which helps in improving digestion and appetite.
Many naturopaths and alternative therapists recommend using jaggery after food to improve digestion. In India, it is a common practice among people, which suffers from abdominal heaviness after eating meal.
The digestive stimulation action of jaggery occurs due to its conversion to acetic acid in the stomach. It helps in rectifying enzymatic activity in the abdomen, which ultimately corrects digestion and improves appetite.
Gives strength to intestines and relieves constipation
Jaggery contains mineral and plant ashes. 10 grams jaggery provides only 16 mg magnesium, which is equal to 4% daily magnesium requirement. Magnesium is beneficial for intestinal health. It provides strength to intestines.
However, jaggery does not provide much more nutritional benefits, but it has a unique characteristic to make intestines smoother by reducing strain. Thereby, it improves peristaltic movements of intestines, which facilitate the movement of fecal matter. Therefore, it helps in acute as well as chronic constipation. Jaggery can work as detox, so it can help you to cleanse your colon naturally.
According to ayurveda, jaggery has hot potency, which means it produces heat in the body and secretes the bile from the liver and gall bladder. Bile and peristalsis are interlinked. The secretion of bile salts into intestines helps improving peristalsis. Due to this fact, jaggery also helps in reducing constipation problem and regulates bowel movements.
General debility or physical weakness
Jaggery is a healthy sugar, which also provides instant energy to the body. In general debility, it can be used with milk. Jaggery and milk combination has strengthening effects in the body. Thus, it can help reducing physical weakness and provides energy.
Healthy jaggery energy drink
If you do not like eating jaggery with milk, then following jaggery energy drink can be very beneficial for you.
|Lemon Juice||10 ml|
|Black salt||1 grams|
Mix all ingredients in a cup of water and drink it in place of other energy drinks. It provides similar benefits, but in more healthy ways.
The simple jaggery remedy helps a lot in common cold. You can eat it with dried ginger and black pepper and you will observe it has similar effects as conventional medications have.
|Black pepper||250 mg|
|Dried ginger powder||500 mg|
Crush jaggery crystal and mix it with other ingredients. Eat it after meal three times a day. It works immediately after eating first dose.
Jaggery also benefits in chronic cough. It reduces throat irrigation due to soothing and smoothening effects on soft tissues of throat. According to ayurveda, it produces warmth in the lungs and dilates the respiratory tract, so it helps in cough, asthma and breathing trouble. You can replace your sugar intake with jaggery if you are having any respiratory trouble.
Difficulty with urinary flow
Sugarcane has diuretic characteristic. This property is also present in jaggery. It works in urinary hesitancy and difficulty with urinary flow, but it might not help with prostate gland hypertrophy. It can reduce inflammation of urinary bladder and helps in proper urination.
For this purpose, ayurvedic doctors recommend drinking jaggery dissolved in hot milk. It improves urinary flow.
Jaggery is a good home remedy for hiccup, but it is used with dried ginger powder.
|Dried ginger powder||500 mg|
Crush jaggery and mix it with ginger powder. Eat this mixture with warm water to get rid of hiccup.
In folk medicine, jaggery is advised to eat before taking Anthelmintic medicines. It is believed that jaggery helps expelling worms into intestines and then Anthelmintic medicine kills all intestinal worms.
Migraine and headache
Jaggery with cow’s ghee (clarified butter) helps in migraine and headache. This remedy is generally used in Punjab, India. You can take 10 grams jaggery with 5 ml cow’s ghee twice a day before sleeping and on empty stomach in morning before sunrise.
Intestinal Gas or Flatulence
Jaggery is anti-flatulent, so it helps reducing intestinal gas. For this purposes, you can eat 5 grams jaggery after each meal.
Muscle Strain and ruptured tendon
Jaggery helps in muscle strain and ruptured tendon It helps in quick healing and relieves muscular strain.
Jaggery helps in symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. It has muscle relaxant property, which reduces uterine cramps and abdominal pain before menstruation.
Some women also complain about backache before, during or after menstrual period. Jaggery also helps in reducing backache. Its beneficial effects are due to strengthening action of jaggery in the body.
Furthermore, jaggery also reduces anxiety and mood swings. This effect might be due to the release of endorphins after eating jaggery. This hormone can change your mood and helps you to relax.
Jaggery contains minerals such as zinc and selenium. These minerals are known for their anti-oxidant properties. However, jaggery does not contain sufficient amount of these minerals, but still it can assist the body to fight off infections.
Other benefits and uses of jaggery
- Jaggery is a cardio tonic, according to ayurvedic science, so it is used in heart weakness.
- Jaggery is also blood purifier, so people with blood or skin disorders can replace refined sugar use with jaggery.
- Jaggery is a good source of iron, so it helps in anemia.
- As a preventive measure, GUR can prevent asthma and allergic conditions.
- Eating jaggery reduces joint pain and stiffness. These effects are more reported when jaggery is used with dried ginger powder.