Botany: Saccharum officinarum, cane sugar, is a perennial grass in the family Poaceae. It is cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions for the sucrose that is found in its stems. It requires a frost-free climate with sufficient rainfall during the growing season to make full use of the plant’s great growth potential.
History and/or folklore: In Hawaii, young shoots of cane sugar were used for lacerations and cuts. Along with other plants and salt, the shoots were wrapped in it leaves and baked over charcoal. The juice was then squeezed and placed on a cut. In the East Indies, the natives prepare a sort of sugar from the juice of various species of palm; the juice is called toddy and when fermented is used as an intoxicating liquor. The sugar is called Jaggery and is supposed by the native practitioners to possess considerable medicinal virtues. In Samoa, the leaf ash is used to treat sore eyes.
Saccharum officinarum, Cane sugar botanical extract:
The crop is harvested mechanically or by hand, chopped into lengths and conveyed rapidly to the processing plant. Here it is either milled and the juice extracted with water or the sugar is extracted by diffusion. The juice is then clarified with lime and heated to kill enzymes. The resulting thin syrup is then concentrated in a series of evaporators and further water is removed by evaporation under vacuum. The resulting supersaturated solution is seeded with sugar crystals and the sugar crystallizes out and is separated from the fluid and dried. Molasses is a by-product of the process and the fibre from the stems, known as bagasse, is burned to provide energy for the boiling of the syrup. The crystals of raw sugar have a sticky brown coating.
Sugar is the generalised name for a class of sweet-flavoured substances. They are carbohydrates. There are various types of sugar derived from different sources.
Sugar – as natural preservative
High levels of sugar can preserve against spoilage organisms.
Saccharum officinarum, Cane sugar botanical extract
Traditional use: moisturizing and regenerating products, body and hand products, and after-sun products.
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.