Botanical Name: Saccharum
Sugar was originally imported to Europe to be used as a medicine. Today the average person is said to consume about 53 lbs. of sugar a year, or the equivalent of 260 food calories per person per day. Sugar is used as a preservative and sweetener in many processed foods and beverages. Numerous studies continue to be undertaken to help clarify how using too much sugar can harm the body. To date, it is known that too much sugar leads to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, inflammation, tooth decay, dementia, hyperactivity and a host of other related ailments and conditions.
Below is an overview of Sugar (Tang), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Sugar (Tang).
Western Name: Sugar
Also Known As: Sugar Cane, Lump Sugar, White Table Sugar
Organs/Systems: Blood, Muscles, Brain, Cells
Key Actions: Energetic
Medicinal Uses: Preservative for tinctures, extracts, and syrups. Provide energy to all your cells for proper cell functioning. Sugar is an essential compound for brain activity and muscle functioning.
Pin Yin: Tang
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Spleen, Stomach
Key Actions: Lubricating, Energizing, Supports Spleen and Stomach
Medicinal Uses: Small amounts support healthy digestion, helps moisten the intestines and nasal passages, supports brain, and muscle activity.
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Neutral, Moistening
Caution: Excess sugar can be harmful to your health.
History/Folklore: One of the earliest written references to sugar is found in Chinese manuscripts dating back to the 8th century B.C. It was originally imported to Europe to be used as a medicine. Sugar is an excellent preservative and sweetener for bitter tasting formulas and herbs. Sugar is also noted in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its moistening ability.
The Chinese also soon began to use sugar to make desserts and use in other culinary recipes. By 647 A.D., they were establishing their own sugar plantations to cultivate sugarcane closer and more cheaply at home.
The Crusaders brought sugar home with them to Europe after their campaigns in the Holy Land. It was commonly called
Sugar was brought to Brazil by the Portugese.
The word “sugar” derives from the Sanskrit “sarkara,” via the Persian word for sugar, “shakkar.”
It was brought to sugar plantations in the Americas and West Indies during the 18th century, when sugar became available for common people to use instead of honey or molasses. Sugar production played a large role in the perpetuation of the slave trade, the role of migrant workers and the spread of ethnic cultures around the globe.
By the 19th century, sugar was considered a necessity. It drove colonization and created many unforeseen social changes felt all over the world. The distribution of modern ethnic populations was in large part influenced by the slave trade. This includes Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Scientifically, sugars are monosaccharides (glucose, gructose and galactose), disaccharides (sucrose) or oligosaccharides. The monosaccharides are called “simple” sugars, the most important being glucose.
Sugars are important organic energy carrying chemical packages used by plants and the body in many different ways. The monosaccharide, galactose for example, is found on red blood cells and is used by scientists to determine blood groups. All plants contain sugar as they use and make glucose as a primary product of photosynthesis. Fruits generally contain more sugar than vegetables, but all plants contain and use sugar. The proper amount of sugar enjoyed in fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs is not the problem, the issue is too much sugar, and especially refined and processed sugars.
Too much sugar can overload your liver causing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It can cause insulin resistance, leading to diabetes and to much sugar is known to cause inflammation and overactive cell growth in the body, increasing the potential for age-related illnesses and cancers. Eliminating processed foods, that are loaded with sugars of various kinds, is a good step toward reducing sugar excess in your diet.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, craving sugar is a sign of a weak digestive system. They consider excess sugar to be agitating
and disruptive to the functioning of the body’s systems as a whole. Too much sugar can result in a condition they call internal dampness, which can lead to sinus congestion, water retention, athlete’s foot and other damp conditions.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a little sweet can aid the digestive process. The sweet flavor can help lubricate the body’s functions, too much, especially of harsh processed sugars and it can shut the body down. They consider “full sweets,” those found in yams, carrots and whole fruits to be best as they are naturally integrated with other nutrients and proteins that help slow or balance the intake of sugar in the body in a way that plain processed sugar does not. Processed sugar, is an extreme overload to anyone’s system. This is why after eating a lot of processed sugars you can feel bloated and fatigued versus strong and focused.
Remember exercise helps burn off excess sugar because it stimulates your body’s metabolism.
The Invention of Sugar Cubes
Typical Sugar Names
is water soluble will be referred to with the –ose suffix.
Plants Used to Make Sugar?
Sugars are found in most plants, but only sugarcane and the sugar beet are used for making commercial table and baking sugars.
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