Ikshu (Saccharum officinarum)

Basonym of Drug

There is no specific basonym associated with Ikshu (Saccharum officinarum) as it has been traditionally known by this name in various ancient texts and systems of medicine.

Main Sanskrit Synonyms

  1. Ikshu: This is the primary Sanskrit name for Sugarcane. It directly refers to the plant itself. Ikshu is widely used to denote sugarcane in various ancient texts and traditional systems of medicine.

  2. Prasannaka: The term “Prasannaka” refers to a plant with a delightful or pleasing appearance. This synonym highlights the attractive and refreshing nature of the sugarcane plant, which is often associated with its sweet and succulent stems.

  3. Khandava: “Khandava” is a Sanskrit term that can be translated as “having sweet stems” or “with sugary content.” It emphasizes the significant sugar content present in the stems of the sugarcane plant, which makes it a valuable source of sweetness.

  4. Guda: The term “Guda” in Sanskrit means “sweet.” This synonym directly relates to the sugarcane’s inherent sweetness, which is due to the high concentration of sucrose in its stems.

  5. Trin raja: Its plant is like king of grasses.
  6. Dirghacchada: The plant has long stem.
  7. Bhoori rasa/Maha rasa: The plant is filled with juice.

Regional Name (Vernacular names)

  • English: Sugarcane
  • Hindi: Ganna, Ikha
  • Tamil: Karumbu
  • Telugu: Cheruku
  • Kannada: Karibe
  • Marathi: Unsa
  • Gujrati: Sheradi
  • Bengali: Iksu khak

Scientific Classification of Dravya

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Monocots
  • Clade: Commelinids
  • Order: Poales
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Genus: Saccharum
  • Species: officinarum

Classical Classification of Dravya (Gana)

Charaka Samhita: Ikshu varga, Kanthya

Sushruta Samhita: Trina-Panchmoola, Ikshu varga

Vagbhata: Trina-Panchmoola, Ikshu varga

Bhavprakash Nighantu: Ikshu varga

External Morphology

Ikshu or Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) is a tall, perennial grass that belongs to the family Poaceae. It has sturdy, jointed stems known as culms. The stems are filled with sweet sap and can reach a height of 2 to 6 meters. The leaves are long, narrow, and alternate, arising from the nodes along the stem. The inflorescence of the sugarcane plant is a terminal panicle with numerous spikelets.

Useful Parts

The stem of the sugarcane plant, known as the culm, is the most valuable and utilized part. It contains the sweet sap or juice which is used for various purposes, including extracting sugar and making sugarcane-based products.

Important Phytoconstituents

The primary phytoconstituent of sugarcane is sucrose, which is present in high concentrations in the stem’s sap. Sugarcane also contains other sugars like glucose and fructose, along with minor amounts of organic acids, proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Sugarcane juice is a rich source of natural sugars and provides energy. It is also a source of antioxidants and micronutrients, contributing to its nutritional value.

Sugarcane’s medicinal properties have been recognized in traditional systems of medicine for its cooling and refreshing effects. Its juice is often consumed to alleviate thirst and provide instant energy due to its high sugar content.

Rasa Panchaka:

  1. Rasa (Predominant Taste): Madhura (Sweet)
  2. Guna (Property): Guru (Heavy), Snigdha (Unctuous)
  3. Veerya (Potency): Sheeta (Cold)
  4. Vipaka (Post-digestive Effect): Madhura (Sweet)
  5. Prabhava: Diuretic, Tonic

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala:

Dosha: Sugarcane is known to pacify Vata and Pitta dosha due to its sweet taste and cooling nature, making it suitable for balancing excess heat in the body.

Dhatu: The primary action of sugarcane is on the “Rasa” dhatu (plasma) and “Rakta” dhatu (blood tissue), contributing to nourishment and revitalization.

Mala: Ikshu has a mild laxative effect, aiding in promoting regular bowel movements and supporting the elimination of waste products (mala).

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications):

Sugarcane, when used judiciously, offers various therapeutic indications, including:

  1. Cooling Effect: Sugarcane juice is considered cooling and is beneficial in conditions associated with excess heat, such as burning sensations, inflammation, and heat-related disorders.

  2. Hydration: The high water content of sugarcane juice helps in maintaining hydration and quenching thirst.

  3. Digestive Health: It aids in digestion, soothes the stomach lining, and can be used to alleviate conditions like acidity and indigestion.

  4. Energy Boost: The natural sugars present in sugarcane provide a quick energy source.

  5. Blood Purification: Sugarcane juice is believed to help in purifying the blood and promoting skin health.

  6. Detoxification: It aids in flushing toxins from the body due to its diuretic properties.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose):

Sugarcane juice is the most common form of using sugarcane medicinally. However, its usage should be in moderation, and diabetic individuals should consume it cautiously due to its natural sugar content.

Sugarcane Juice: Consume fresh sugarcane juice in small to moderate quantities, preferably on an empty stomach or as a refreshing drink during hot weather.

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations):

 1. Ikshurasa: The juice extracted from sugarcane itself is considered an important formulation.

All fermented medicines in Ayurveda,contains Guda as a main ingredient.

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects):

While sugarcane is generally safe when consumed in moderation, excessive intake can lead to certain adverse effects:

  1. Spike in Blood Sugar: Due to its natural sugar content, excessive consumption can lead to a sudden spike in blood sugar levels, particularly in individuals with diabetes.

  2. Digestive Disturbances: Overconsumption of sugarcane juice can cause digestive disturbances, including loose stools.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures):

If any adverse effects are experienced due to excessive consumption of sugarcane, consider the following measures:

  1. Limit Intake: Reduce or discontinue consumption of sugarcane juice if adverse effects occur.

  2. Monitor Blood Sugar: Diabetic individuals should carefully monitor their blood sugar levels after consuming sugarcane.

Shodhana (Purification Method):

Sugarcane is not subjected to shodhana (purification) methods as it is consumed in its natural form, typically as juice. However, it is essential to ensure that the sugarcane and its juice are hygienically prepared and free from contaminants.

Note: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before incorporating sugarcane or any other herbal remedies into your health regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are on medication.

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Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any other medical condition.

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