Sugar-cane is sweet in taste and digestion, heavy, cool, demulcent, strength-giving, . spermatopoietic, and diuretic. It produces Kapham in the body, and proves remedial in haemoptysis, and helps the germination of worms in the intestines.
There are many species of sugar-cane such as, the Paundraka, Bhiruka, Vanshaka, Shataporaka, Kantara, Tapasekshu, Kastekshu, Suchi-patraka, Naipala, Dirghapatraka, Nilapora, and Koshakrit. Now we shall deal with the specific virtues of each of them. The Sugar-cane of the Paundraka and Bhiruka types is cooling, sweet, demulcent and constructive. It produces Kapham and is laxative without giving rise to imperfect gastric digestion. It is heavy and spermatopoietic. The Sugarcane of the Vanshaka species is possessed of similar properties as the two foregoing ones, though a little alkaline in its constitution, while that of the Shatapora species is a little more heat-making than that of the preceding class, and is found to subdue the deranged Vayu. The Sugar-cane of the Kantara and Tapasa species is possessed of the same virtues as that of the Vanshaka class. The Sugar-cane of the Kastekshu species is identical in its properties with that of the aforesaid Vanshaka class, though it tends to agitate the bodily Vayu. The Sugar-cane of the Suchipatra, Nilapora, Naipala and Dirghpatra species produces Vayu in the system, and subdues the Kapham and Pittam. It is slightly astringent in taste and indigestible (gives rise to acidity after digestion). The Sugar-cane of the Koshakara species is heavy (in digestion), cooling and proves curative in cases of haemoptysis and wasting diseases in general. Sugar-cane is extremely sweet about the roots, sweet at the middle, and saline at the tops and joints.
* Though the use of honey with hot substances is not forbidden in such cases, still many an experienced physician of the Ayurvedic school thinks it safe to refrain from its use, lest it might be retained in the stomach for a considerable time, or find out a downward outlet and pass off with the stool.
The juice of a sugar-cane when eaten raw is not marked by any acid reaction after digestion. It is spermatopoietic, and subdues the Vayu and the Kapham, and is pleasant to the taste. The juice of sugar-cane otherwise pressed out is heavy in digestion, is long retained in the stomach, and is followed by reactionary acidity, and arrests the evacuation of stool and urine. The juice of ripe sugar-cane is heavy in digestion, possessed of laxative properties, keen, and demulcent. It subdues the Vayu and Kapham. The inspissated or half boiled juice of sugar-cane (Phanitam) is sweet in taste and heavy. It increases the slimy secretions of the organs, acts as a flesh-builder, and is devoid of all spermatopoietic properties. It brings about a simultaneous derangement of the three bodily humours.
Common treacle is found to be charged with a little alkali. It is sweet in taste and not too cooling. It acts as a demulcent and purifier of the blood and urine. It subdues the deranged Vayu and, to a slight extent, deranges the Pittam as well. It increases fat, Kapham, and corpulency, and is possessed of tonic and spermatopoietic properties. White and purified (Shuddha) treacle is sweet in taste, and purifies the blood. It subdues the deranged Vayu and Kapham, and is one of the most wholesome diets for man. Its efficacy increases with its years.
The different modifications of treacle such as, the Matsandika, Khamda, and Sharkara (sugar) which are progressivly more refined, should be deemed as gaining more in their cooling, demulcent and aphrodisiac properties, and getting heavier in digestion in each of the successive stages of refinement. They are successively more frigorific, and beneficial in cases of haemoptysis.
To the properties considered as specially belonging to each of these modifications of treacle should be attributed its power of producing its own refinement and efficacy. The virtues of sugar such as, laxativeness, etc., should be regarded as proportional to its refinement, freedom from alkaline saturation, and the actual quantity of sweetening matter (lit. substance) contained in it.
Sugar prepared from concentrated honey (Madhu Sharkara) is parchifying and liquefacient. It proves beneficial in cases of vomiting and dysentery, is pleasant, has a sweet and astringent taste, and is sweet in digestion. Sugar prepared from a decoction of Yavasa Sharkara (Duralabha) has a sweet and astringent taste, leaves a bitter after-taste, and is possessed of laxative properties, and subdues the deranged Kapham. All kinds of sugar tend to assuage burning sensations in the body, and prove curative in hoemoptysis, vomiting, epileptic fits, and thirst. The sweet and concentrated extract (Phanitam) of Modhuka flowers should be regarded as parchifying. It produces Vayu and Pittam, and subdues Kapham. It is sweet, astringent in its digestive transformation, and deranges the blood.