Exceptional Health Benefits of Vellam (Jaggery)

by Saras Chelladurai Posted on 94 views 0 comments

Jaggery is a traditional product of date, cane juice, or palm sap without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in colour. It contains up to 50% sucrose, 20% invert sugars, 20% moisture, with the remainder made up of other insoluble matter, such as wood ash, proteins, and bagasse fibres.

Sugar cane (Vellam – Tamil, Bella – Kanada, Bellam – Telugu and Gud – Hindi ) is the sixth largest produced crop in Madurai district, approximately 1,400 MT produced in the year 2011.

The sugar cane cultivators used crushers which were bull-driven. Nowadays all the crushers are power-driven. These crushers are located in fields near the sugar crop. The cut and cleaned sugar cane is put into the crusher. The extracted sugar cane juice is collected in a big vessel. A certain quantity of the juice is transferred to a smaller vessel for heating on a furnace. The vessel is heated for about one hour. Dried wood pulp from the crushed sugar cane is used as fuel for the furnace. While boiling the juice, some lime is added to it so that all the wood particles are collected on top of the juice in a froth during boiling which is skimmed off. Finally the juice is thickened and reduced to nearly one third of the original volume.

The quality of the jaggery is judged by its color; brown means it is higher in impurities and golden-yellow implies it is relatively pure. Due to this grading scale there are malpractices of adding color or harmful chemicals to simulate the golden color. Pure jaggery instead of refined jaggeries from the market can be stored in the air tight container to prevent from moisture for many months. Place it in the dark, cool and dry place.

Palm Jaggery we are calling as karuppatti in Tamil is made from the extract of Palm Trees.The process of making jaggery from the plant sources, does not involve any chemical agents and hence all the natural mineral salts are retained without adding any preservatives of chemicals. Jaggery is known to have various medicinal properties and other health benefits.

Health Benefits of Jaggery that may Surprise you

  • Digestive Agent: This may sound strange, but in India, it is recommended to take a few grams of jaggery after a heavy meal or after eating meat because it facilitates digestion. Jaggery activates the digestive enzymes and itself changes to acetic acid in the stomach, thereby speeding up digestion and making the process go very smooth, reducing strain on the intestines and digestive tract
  • Cleansing Agent: You may not normally connect sweeteners and sugars with “cleansing the body”, but that is actually one of the well-proven benefits of jaggery. Jaggery effectively cleans the respiratory tracts, lungs, food pipe, stomach and intestines.
  • Constipation: Jaggery pulls out dust and unwanted particles from the body, while also giving relief from constipation, perhaps due to presence of fiber in it.
  • Energy Food: We know that carbohydrates, consumed in our food, give us energy upon oxidation. The simpler the carbohydrate, the sooner the energy released. Jaggery is a more complex form of carbohydrate than plain sugar. When you eat jaggery, it is digested and absorbed gradually and releases energy over an extended period of time. This can provide the eater with warmth and energy for a more extended period without harming their internal organs.
  • Source of Minerals: Unlike sugar, jaggery is rich in minerals, mainly iron with traces of other mineral salts. While most of the iron in jaggery comes through its processing in iron vessels, the other minerals come directly from the sugar cane juice, since the juice does not undergo refinement or bleaching of any kind
  • Sweetening Agent: The first benefit of jaggery is that it is a colorful, taste explosion when consumed, and secondly, it is a sweetener. You can experience the difference yourself. Taste plain sugar and jaggery one after another, and it will be very clear to you. That was only the sugar cane jaggery, a single flavor. Now you should taste the Date Palm Jaggery, Palmyra Jaggery, or one of the other flavors available. Gas does not occur by eating jaggery after lunch or dinner.
  • Prevents from Anemia: Its richness in the iron and folates helps during pregnancy and prevents from anaemia by maintaining the normal level of red blood cells. It is a source of instant energy thus prevents from weakness and tiredness.
  • Cures Menstrual Problems: Women who have pain during periods jaggery is quite beneficial for them. Jaggery keeps your digestion system good. Therefore, eating jaggery during periods will reduce the pain and discomfort.
  • Improves Body Metabolism: Potassium helps maintaining the electrolyte balance, building muscles as well as improving metabolism thus aids in weight loss

Here are some Ayurvedic home medicine remedies using Jaggery

  • Treats Hiccups: Eating dry ginger powder by mixing with jaggery with luke warm water helps in getting free of hiccups.
  • Sour burp can be removed by taking jaggery and rock salt.
  • Skin and Face: Jaggery removes bad toxins from the blood and skin becomes fabulous and there is no problem of pimples and acne.
  • Cough and Cold: Jaggery is hot so its intake gives relief in cold and cough. If you do not want to eat raw jaggery during cold then you can eat in tea or snacks.
  • Relief in joint pain: Take a piece of ginger with jaggery. It will not have a problem of arthritis in the winter.
  • Throat and voice problem can be solved by eating jaggery with cooked rice.
  • Asthma and allergy problem does not occur by eating jaggery and black sesame.
  • Take 5 grams Saunth and 10 grams jaggery during Jaundice. You will get relief.
  • Memory increases by eating raw jaggery or jaggery mixed snacks.
  • Take 5 grams jaggery and mustard oil and eat it. You will get relief in respiratory disease.
  • Eye Vision improves if jaggery is mixed in millet porridge and eaten.

Pure jaggery instead of refined jaggeries from the market can be stored in the air tight container to prevent from moisture for many months. Place it in the dark, cool and dry place. Palm Jaggery we are calling as karuppatti in Tamil is made from the extract of Palm Trees. The process of making jaggery from the plant sources, does not involve any chemical agents and hence all the natural mineral salts are retained without adding any preservatives of chemicals. Jaggery is known to have various medicinal properties and other health benefits.

About 70% of the world’s jaggery production takes place in India, where it is commonly called “gur.” It’s most often made with sugar cane. However, jaggery extracted from date palm is also common in several Asian countries

Bottom Line: Jaggery is a type of unrefined sugar made from sugar cane or palm. Much of the world’s production takes place in India.

Author
Saras Chelladurai
Freelancer

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