Saccharum officinarum Linn.
Synonym: Saccharum officinales Linn.
Species: S. officinarum
Sindhi name: Khander
Local name: Ganna
English name: Sugar cane
Part used: Stem
Saccharum officinarum Linn. is a perennial plant with juicy, thick, and stout stem. Its clumps are pale or dark green to dark yellow which are sometimes striped. Leaves are broad, panicle, and ovate-pyramidal. Spiklets are linear, large, and oblong, surrounded by dense white hairs.1 A network of rhizomes forms under the soil which sends up secondary shoots near the parent plant. Fruits are dry and each one contains a single seed.2, 3
S. officinarum is widely cultivated and found in Pakistan. It is also cultivated in hotter parts of India.4 Sugar cane is found in the tropics. It is also a well known plant of south- east Asia.5
Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Mixture of S. officinarum and ghee is applied topically on skin for the treatment of psoriasis. The mixture of sugar and water is applied on hand burn in District Kashmor, Ghotki and Thatta (Sindh).
Sugarcane is the main source of glycolic acid. Leaf is reported to contain protein, fat, total carbohydrate, fiber, and ash.8,9 The phytochemical investigation of extracts have revealed the presence of alkaloids, tannins, anthraquinones, reducing sugars, saponins, flavonoids, polyphenols, steroids, and terpenoids.11
Flowers of S. officinarum contain sugars and calcium oxalate.4 Its juice contains sucrcose, glucose, and fructose. Non-sugar constituents present in the cane juice are carbohydrates other than sugars. Asparagine and glutamine are prominent amino acids.6 The predominant phenolics in culms of sugar cane are phenylpropanoids such as caffeic, chlorogenic, and coumaric acids, while apigenin, tricin, luteolin derivatives, and flavones appeared in lower amounts.
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific studies:
Stem of S. officinarum is laxative, cooling, and a potent diuretic.4,5 Malays use it during confinement as a protective medicine against meroyan. Pulp of sugar cane is used as a dressing to heal wounds. Sugar cane is used in Borneo as splints to treat fractures. In Chinese Traditional Medicine, sugar cane extract is taken to promote expulsion of phlegm from respiratory passages and to stimulate gastric activity. It is also used to treat abscess, ulcers, and wounds. This plant is also used for treating chest pain, eye inflammations, and sore throat.5 The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India recommended the juice of the stem in haemorrhagic diseases and anuria; and the root in dysuria.6 It is a folk remedy for arthritis, bedsores, boils, cancer, colds, cough, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, hiccups, inflammation, laryngitis, opacity, penis skin, sores, sore throat, spleen, tumors, and wounds.7
S. officinarum possessed antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.10 Using its hydroxyacetic acid and glycolic acids is a good way to battle the signs of skin aging. It is also perfect for people experiencing acne and blackheads.
1-Shinwari, Z. K. (2006), A Pictorial Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Pakistan, p. 378, Kohat University of Science and Technology Publishers, Peshawar.
2- “Saccharum officinarum“. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. Retrieved (2012-09-21).
3-“Saccharum officinarum L.”. FAO. Retrieved (2012-09-21).
4- Joshi, S. G. (2000), Medicinal Plants of India, p. 320, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishers Co. Pvt.Ltd.66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.
5-Compendium of Medicinal Plants, p. 315
7- Duke, J. A. and Wain, K.K. (1981), Medicinal Plants of the World, 3.
8- Duke, J. A. and Atchley, A. A. (1984), Proximate Analysis. In: Christie, B.R. (ed.), the Handbook of Plant Science in Agriculture. CRC Press and Publishers, Inc., Boca Raton, FL.
9- Miller, D.F. (1958). Composition of Cereal Grains and Forages. National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Washington, DC. Publ. 585.
10- Ghiware, N. B. (2012), International Journal of PharmTech Research. Vol. 4, No. 4, pp1785-1791, CODEN (USA). ISSN : 0974-4304.
11– Bhore, N. V. (Apr–Jun 2012), International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Vol. 3 (2). ISSN: 2229-3701.