Family • Poaceae - Saccharum officinarum Linn. - SUGAR CANE - Hong gan zhe

Scientfic names

Saccharum violaceum F.-Vill.
Saccharum officinarum Linn.
Saccharum chinense Roxb.
Saccharum officinale Salisb.

Common names

Agbo (Ibn.)
Caña dulce (Span.)
Tubo (Tag., Bik.)
Tubu (Sul.)
Una (Ibn.)
Unas (Ilk.)
Unat (It.)
Noblecane (Engl.)
Sugar cane (Engl.)
Hong gan zhe (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

ARABIC: Qassab es sukkar.
BENGALI: Aankha, Ukha, Uuka.
CHINESE: Hong gan zhe, Guo zhe, Gan zhe.
DANISH: Suikerriet.
FRENCH: Canne a sucre.
GERMAN: Zuckerrohr.
HEBREW: Kaneh.
ITALIAN: Canna da zucchero, Canna mele.
JAPANESE: Satou kibi.
KHMER: ‘âmpëu.
KOREAN: Sa t’ang su su.
LAOTIAN: ‘o:yz.
MALAY: Tebu, Tebu telur, Tebu (Indonesia).
MALAYALAM: Karimbu, Karimpu.
NEPALESE: Ganna, Sahacar, Ukhu.
NORWEGIAN: Sukkerrør.
PORTUGUESE: Cana de açúcar, Cana do açúcar, Canna de assucar.
PUNJABI: Gacnaa.
RUSSIAN: Sakharnyi trostnik kul’turnyi, Sakharnyi trostnik lekarstvennyi, Trostnik sakharnyi.
SPANISH: Caña de azúcar, Caña dulce, Cañamiel, Caña melar, Caña sacarina, Caña común.
SWEDISH: Sockerrör.
TAMIL: Kaarumbu (Karumbu).
THAI: Oi daeng, Ton oi
URDU: Gannaa.
VIETNAMESE: Cây mía, Mía.

Tubo is a large, coarse and erect grass. Stems are solid, polished, green, yellow or purplish, attaining a height of 1.5 to 4 meters, 2 to 5 centimeters thick, with long and short internodes. Leaves are very large and broad, with blades 0.9 to 1.25 meters long and 4 to 5 centimeters wide. Panicles are very large, white, drooping and terminal, 40 to 80 centimeters long; branches up to 35 centimeters long. Spikelets are very numerous, 1-flowered, about 3 millimeters long, with surrounding white villous hairs about twice as long as the spikelets.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Immunostimulating effects of the polyphenol-rich fraction of sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum L.) extract in chickens / Kenji Hikosaka et al / PTR. Phytotherapy research 2007, vol. 21, no2, pp. 120-125

(2) Saccharum officinarum L. / Poaceae / Sugarcane, Noblecane: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.

(3) Hypoglycemic activity of polysaccharide fractions containing ß-glucans from extracts of Rhynchelytrum repens (Willd.) C.E. Hubb., Poaceae/ doi: 10.1590/S0100-879X2005000600010 Braz J Med Biol Res, June 2005, Volume 38(6) 885-893

(4) HPLC microfractionation of flavones and antioxidant (radical scavenging) activity of Saccharum officinarum L. / Fabiana C Vila et al / J. Braz. Chem. Soc. vol.19 no.5 São Paulo 2008 / doi: 10.1590/S0103-50532008000500014

(5) Sorting Saccharum names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

– Cultivated throughout the Philippines, very extensively in some islands and provinces.
– One of the major crops of the Archipelago.
– Introduced.


Sucrose is the product of the sugar cane juice.

– Crystals are odorless and sweet.
– Considered antidote, antiseptic, antivinous, bactericidal, cardiotonic, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, cooling, laxative, stimulant.



Parts used
Roots, sugar.

Edibility / Nutritional
– Nutritious.
– Largely used for preserving meat and fruit.

– Refined sugar has been used for fevers, lack of secretion, dry coughs.
– Molasses is used as a laxative.
– Sugar is applied to wounds, ulcers, boils, and inflamed eyes.
– Pulped sugar used to dress wounds; the cane used for splinting broken bones.
– In Mexico used to relieve coughs.
– Malay women use it in childbirth.
– Decoction of root used for whooping cough.
– In India, plant juices used for abdominal tumors.
– In Cote-d’-Ivoire, leaf decoction used for hypertension.


Study Findings
• Immunostimulating Effect: The phagocytic activity of peripheral blood leucocytes in chickens increased significantly when orally administered sugar cane extracts, with higher antibody responses and delayed type hypersensitivity responses.
• Prokinetic Effect: S officinarum was one of seven known herbs in a polyherbal formulation. Study showed increased gastric emptying and suggests a potential for use as a gastrointestinal prokinetic to improve gastrointestinal motility.
• Hypoglycemic Effect: Study reports the hypoglycemic effect of juice from sugar cane stalks. The isolated constituent, saccharin, provided a transient reduction of blood glucose. The transient hypoglycemic effect of complex polysaccharides is suggested to be possibly from increased glucose utilization in the liver and peripheral tissues.
• Phytochemicals / Antioxidant: Study of sugarcane leaves yielded luteolin-8-C (rhamnosylglucoside), with radical scavenging activity. The juice yielded flavones diosmetin-8-C-glucoside, vitrexin, schaftoside, isoschaftoside and 4′,5′-dimethyl-luteolin-8-C glucoside. Its content of flavonoids suggest a potential for sugarcane as a dietary source of natural antioxidants.
• Steroidogenesis / Testosterone Effect: Study investigated the effect of sugar cane (S. officinarum) molasses on steroidogenesis in testis cell culture. Results showed low concentrations of molasses increase testosterone secretion. Study suggests molasses may be a potential diet supplement to increase testosterone levels.
• Optimization of Cytochrome C Production: Comparative study of Manihot Esculenta and Saccharum officinarum showed S. officinarum to be a better optimizer for cytochrome C production.Sugarcane had the higher rate of carbohydrate yield compared to Cassava in terms of inoculum volume with a difference of 5.57%.

Toxicity concerns ! 
Sugarcane contains hydrocyanic. Sugar cane is a known teratogen. Molasses in excess amounts, alone or mixed with feeds, may cause diarrhea, colic, urticaria, kidney irritation, sweating and paralysis in domestic stock; horses seem more susceptible, and toxicity could prove fatal.