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20 Feb 2024


Written by
The Logical Indian
Science and Wellbeing

The Spread of Sweetness

The journey of sugar began with Indian artisans unravelling the art of crystallization. Their generosity in sharing this knowledge led to a pivotal gathering at Jundi Shapur, an Iranian university around 600 AD, where scholars from diverse backgrounds chronicled the wonders of sugar as a potent medicine. Arab entrepreneurs swiftly embraced these techniques, catalyzing the expansion of sugarcane cultivation across Southern Europe and North Africa by 850 AD, turning the Middle East into the epicentre of a sugary revolution.

Europe's Sweet Enlightenment

As sugar knowledge traversed continents, it transitioned from luxury to necessity, finding its way into the hands of Europe's elite. Crusaders returning from the Holy Land introduced Europe to the delights of sugar, marking its arrival in England in the 13th century. The invention of a new cane press in 1390 further fueled the sugar trade, leading to an economic boom. Madeira emerged as Europe's largest sugarcane producer by the late 15th century, transforming sugar into a highly sought-after commodity.

India's Contribution Beyond Sugar

India's contribution to the world of sweetness extended beyond sugar to jaggery, a traditional variant deeply rooted in Indian culture and cuisine. Known as "Sharkara" in Sanskrit, jaggery found its way into culinary delights and traditional medicine practices. Ancient scriptures like Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita extolled its health benefits, ranging from anti-allergic properties to cardiac tonic effects.

Lessons from History to Present

Today, as nutritionists echo the wisdom of Ayurveda, highlighting the benefits of jaggery and ghee in promoting overall well-being, we reflect on the disciplined food habits of our ancestors. Festivals and traditional practices underscore the integral role of jaggery in Indian culture, emphasizing its health-giving properties. In contrast to the modern era's abundance of refined sugar, our culinary past offers valuable lessons on embracing natural, unadulterated fare for robust health.


The sweet journey of sugar and jaggery from India to the world embodies a saga of sharing sweetness and health. As we honor the culinary traditions of our ancestors, let us heed the wisdom that food is the foundation of good health. By embracing natural sweeteners and mindful dietary choices, we continue the tradition of spreading sweetness and well-being, just as our forebears did centuries ago.

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IndiaFirst Life & the logical indian

Headquartered in Mumbai, IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Limited (IndiaFirst Life), is one of the country's youngest life insurance companies. The Logical Indian is an independent and public-spirited digital media platform for Indian Millennials. IndiaFirst Life and The Logical Indian have come together to showcase India’s rich history of innovation in different fields of life which have made a significant mark on humanity and globally. Please note, The Logical Indian (5w1h Media) as an entity is responsible for source validation and fact-checking from credible sources of the articles posted on this page.