Jaggery is a popular traditional form of unrefined sugar that we get from sugarcane juice. It’s a great substitute for sugar for its sweet taste. But that’s not the only benefit. This yellow-brownish natural sweetener bestows a bouquet of health benefits. In ancient Ayurveda, vaidyas used it for medicinal purposes. They were well aware of the amazing health benefits of Jaggery.
Experts say that refined sugar has a damaging impact on your health. It is devoid of nutrients, minerals and plant chemicals. In traditional preparation, jaggery preserves the minerals and phytochemicals present in sugarcane. It is free of chemicals used in making refined sugar. So, that’s what makes jaggery a better choice than sugar!
The Indian Golden Syrup includes extraction of sugarcane juice, heating and filtering the juice to make a thick paste. Then cool down this dark yellow paste, and collect the jaggery. This process preserves most nutrients present in the sugar cane juice!
History of Jaggery
Jaggery is a popular sweetener widely used in India. Some sources claim that jaggery was brought to India by the Portuguese, and some say it originated in the subcontinent. The Indian name for jaggery is gur or guda, however, the word jaggery comes from the Portuguese word jagara.
Folklores also say that the Portuguese discovered the ingredient in Kerala in the late 1600s. The practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine have been using it for 3,000 years. So, the debate on the origin of jaggery is still going hot! Another interesting historical fact is that in Europe locals thought jaggery to be inferior to sugar.
8 Health Benefits of Jaggery
Jaggery has many amazing therapeutic benefits. This traditional Indian sweetener is an excellent remedy for breathing disorders. It’s effective in treating bronchitis and asthma. That’s not it. It’s also a great remedy for digestive issues, common cold and cough. Check out some of the 8 amazing benefits of jaggery.
1. Natural source of micronutrients
Firstly, jaggery is an excellent source to fulfil your body’s daily mineral requirement. It’s unrefined and retains all the natural goodness of sugarcane, keeps all the micronutrients intact. Also, it’s a great source of iron, calcium, potassium, manganese and zinc.
2. Improves appetite and digestion
Secondly, Jaggery is a digestive stimulant that helps in improving your digestion and appetite. This sweetener converts into acetic acid in the stomach. Thus, it can help in rectifying enzymatic activity, digestion and appetite. In ancient time, Ayurvedic Vaidyas recommended jaggery after food to improve digestion. In India, it’s a common practice among people who suffers from abdominal heaviness or indigestion.
3. Aids in relieving constipation
Thirdly, Jaggery is rich in minerals especially magnesium. It provides 4% of the daily magnesium requirement. Magnesium helps in strengthening the intestine and reduces strain on the intestine. It also contains zinc and selenium that have anti-oxidant properties.
According to Ayurveda, jaggery has hot potency and can aid in relieving constipation. Research too says that jaggery helps in facilitating faecal movement. It works as a detox and helps in cleansing the colon naturally. Thus, switching your sugar with jaggery can be the simplest remedy to hard bowels!
4. Helps in easing physical weakness
Fourthly, Jaggery is a healthy form of sugar that provides instant energy. In Ayurveda, jaggery is used with milk to treat general debility and physical weakness. This healthy combo also helps in fastening the speed of healing and recovery. Digesting jaggery is a slow process and this does not cause a spike in blood glucose, unlike sugar. Jaggery releases energy in a sustained manner. This makes it a great energy source for athletes.
5. Treats Common cold and chronic cough
Jaggery is a popular Ayurvedic remedy for the common cold and chronic cough. It aids in relieving throat irritation and provides warmth to the lungs. This dilates the respiratory tract and helps in the treatment of cough and asthma.
Furthermore, Jaggery clears excessive mucus from the system and clears the body of toxins. A study revealed that jaggery provides protection to those working in a smoky, dusty environment. Mix dried ginger and black pepper with jaggery and it becomes a potent medicine.
6. Eases your urinary flow
Sugarcane is a great diuretic and it helps in treating difficulty in urinary flow. It can also help reduce inflammation of the urinary bladder and aid proper urination. Ayurvedic doctors recommend drinking jaggery dissolved in hot milk for improving urinary flow.
7. Helps relieve migraine and headache
Jaggery mixed with cow ghee is an excellent remedy for migraine and headache. Take 10 grams jaggery with 5 ml cow’s ghee twice a day in the morning and before bed. This simple remedy works wonders but needs more research to validate.
8. Improves Immunity
Most importantly, jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals that help prevent free-radical damage. Being rich in antioxidants, it aids in boosting resistance against infections and aids in improving immunity. It also facilitates blood purification and enhances energy levels. Jaggery is also effective in reducing joint pain and stiffness.
Liquid Jaggery or Solid Jaggery
In Ayurveda, liquid Jaggery has been used as a natural healer for over three thousand years.
This golden syrup is prepared by concentrating on sugarcane juice after the clarification process for making solid jaggery. It is also rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and copper.
Also, liquid jaggery is more convenient to use than solid jaggery.
- Firstly, Liquid jaggery is a great natural source of carbohydrate.
- Secondly, a spoonful of liquid jaggery can help ease menstrual pain and other menstrual symptoms.
- Thirdly, regular intake of jaggery aids in the prevention of anaemia.
How to use?
- Layer it on toasts or parathas.
- It is a great alternative to honey and an affordable alternative to maple syrup.
- This goes perfectly with a cup of coffee, tea, milk or smoothies.
- Liquid jaggery can also be used in curries, salad dressings and baked goods.
The only thing about using liquid jaggery is that you have to store it in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. Even solid jaggery stored at a low temperature has a longer shelf life.
In recent times, because of the rising health awareness, people are looking for a healthy alternative to sugar. Many ayurvedic recipes include this amazing ingredient, especially the laddus. Jaggery is the perfect substitute that gives the sweetness of sugar along with a bucket full of benefits. You can also add it to your tea, coffee or milk and add it to your meals.
In conclusion, Jaggery is a potent natural sweetner with medicinal benefits! Therefore, it is a better choice than any other sweetener. In addition to the long list of benefits, it can also help people in their weight loss journey. But if you want to use jaggery for its medicinal benefits then do consult with an Ayurvedic doctor first for better guidance.
So, do try this and share your thoughts in the comment section!