What is jaggery? If you have an interest in Ayurveda, you may have heard a lot about this traditional ingredient. That said, you might not know what it is, or how it’s used.
The following points will clarify the topic. They’ll also help you better understand how to use jaggery in your own life.
What is Jaggery? Essential Facts about Jaggery
- Botanical: Saccharum Officinarum
- Sansrkit: Jaggery
- Hindi: Guda
- Other: Raw/unrefined sugarcane, Panela
Jaggery is a unique ingredient in Ayurveda. Because it can be prepared in a variety of ways, its energetics may vary significantly. For instance, the Rasa of unwashed jaggery is Sakshara, meaning it is slightly alkaline. The Rasa of washed jaggery is Madhura, or sweet.
This means its effects on the doshas also vary depending on which type of jaggery is being used. Washed jaggery balances Vata and Pitta doshas. Unwashed jaggery (also known as unrefined jaggery) balances Vata, while reducing Pitta to a small degree.
That’s why it may be important to know what kind of jaggery you are getting if you wish to use it for medicinal purposes. That said, as part of an Ayurvedic formula such as chyawanprash, it will offer general health benefits.
Jaggery comes from the toddy palm tree. Although this tree can be found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan, it primarily comes from India, which accounts for approximately 70% of jaggery production in the world.
Jaggery is essentially a form of sugarcane. Its appearance is dark brown to golden brown. Luckily, it is considered to be a healthy sugar, thanks to the vitamins it retains.
Jaggery is rich in many nutrients that are otherwise lacking in refined sugar. Specifically, it contains such nutrients as magnesium, iron, potassium, manganese, as well as some zinc and vitamin B.
Medicinal Uses of Jaggery
The nutritional content of jaggery ensures it has many health benefits. While you can use it as its own separate ingredient, to take advantage of its wellness-boosting properties, you may again wish to simply consume it in the form of a chyawanprash ingredient. This will also balance your prana which, along with practices such as yoga, optimizes your essential life-force and energy.
Some of the more noteworthy traditional uses of jaggery include:
Jaggery stimulates the digestive system. This facilitates easier digestion, which allows for the release of ama (or toxins) from the body. That’s a major reason jaggery has often been considered a strong ingredient for detoxification. Additionally, its effects on the digestive system help to relieve constipation.
Treating Colds and Coughs
Reducing irritation and speeding up the healing process when you have a cold or cough is one of the most common uses for jaggery.
As a healthy sugar, jaggery provides a boost of energy.
Usage and Dosage of Jaggery
The best way to consume jaggery is to take it in Ayurvedic formulas that contain botanicals or spices, like Chyawanprash. Jaggery works to amplify the flavors of other ingredients and restore energy.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)