Palm sugar was originally made from the sugary sap of the Palmyra palm (Borassus flabellifer (Lontar Palm)), the date palm or sugar date palm (Phoenix sylvestris). Now it is also made from the sap of the sago, arenga pinnata and coconut palms, and may be sold as "arenga sugar" or "coconut sugar".
Borassus flabellifer, commonly known as doub palm, palmyra palm, tala palm, toddy palm, wine palm, or ice apple is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, including Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The chief product of the palmyra is the sweet sap (toddy) obtained by tapping the tip of the inflorescence, as is done with the other sugar palms and, to a lesser extent, with the coconut. The sap flows for 5-6 months, each male spadix producing 4-5 l per day; the female gives 50% more than the male. The toddy ferments naturally within a few hours after sunrise and is locally popular as a beverage; it is distilled to produce the alcoholic liquor called palm wine, arrack, or arak. Rubbing the inside of the toddy-collecting receptacle with lime paste prevents fermentation, and thereafter the sap is referred to as sweet toddy, which yields concentrated or crude sugar (gur in India; jaggery in Ceylon); molasses, palm candy, and vinegar.
Palmyra palm jaggery iis much more nutritious than crude cane sugar, containing 1.04% protein, 0.19% fat, 76.86% sucrose, 1.66% glucose, 3.15% total minerals, 0.861 % calcium, 0.052% phosphorus; also 11.01 mg iron per 100 g and 0.767 mg of copper per 100 g.
The fresh sap is reportedly a good source of vitamin B complex.
Jaggery is made from the sap of palms. This process does not involve 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. It is a relatively unrefined sugar.
Jaggery is often called medicinal sugar and possess nutritive properties of high order. It purifies the blood,prevents rheumatic afflictions and bile disorder. Jaggery is known to have various medicinal properties and other health benefits.
Jaggery is a wholesome diet. It contains minerals, important among them are iron,calcium,magnesium, and phosphorus. Jaggery also contains reducing sugars including glucose and fructose,protein and fat. Daily use of jaggery may increase human life span. Incidence of less diabetes is reported in jaggery consuming areas compared to sugar consuming areas.
Magnesium found in jaggery strengthens the nervous system and potassium conserve the acid balance in the cells and combats acids and acetones. jaggery is very rick in iron and prevents anemia. Jaggery supplements the requirement of iron and calcium in women and children and also increases vitality in men and help in digestion. The micronutrients present in jaggery have antitoxic and anti carcinogenic properties. Its dietary intake can prevent the atmospheric pollution related toxicity and the incidence of lung cancer.
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