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Palm jaggery in India and its health benefits

Sap extract from Palmyra tree

Palm jaggery is almost like a jaggery that is made out of sugarcane juice. Palm jaggery is made from the sap extract of Palm Trees in Southern India. These trees are also known as Toddy palm trees or Palmyra trees . The Jaggery is processed from the unfermented Palmyra tree sap called neera in kannada language. It is highly priced due to its medicinal properties. It has an intense, earthy taste or reminiscent of chocolates in its taste.

The palm jaggery obtained after processing is darker and richer in colour. It is slight salty to taste but much healthier of the two. Due to its cooling effects over human body, it is of high value. It does not have the bone meal content which is used for whitening processed sugar. The price of the palm jaggery is double that of sugar.

The first extract of the palm juice which is boiled at high temperatures, is being added with a little salt. The added salt then acts as a preservative. This also prevents the jaggery from becoming too sweet. When it gets cooled, it is poured into a long cone made of palm leaves. The preservation of the final product is done by wrapping the cone with rice straws. At home, the consumers finely slice the cone, so that the jaggery is cut into disc shapes leaving a palm ribbon around its edges. Some families simply dry the extracted palm juice on mats. Others do it on lime floors called the kobas . After it dries, the jaggery is being stored in an air-tight container which preserves it for nearly one year.

Palm jaggery discs

Palm jaggery discs

Palm Jaggery in India

People of northern and western India prefer the sugarcane jaggery. But the people of the South, especially the South Kanara district, will not see beyond palm jaggery when it comes to adding this sweet flavoring agent to their home made sweet dishes. In Kannada language, the localites of the south kanara district call it Ole Bella.

Palm jaggery is quite popular in the Southern states of Tamil Nadu (called Karupatti vellam or pana vellam), Karnataka (it is called thaati bella in some places and Olebella in Mangalore, which is believed to be the best), Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

In the south Indian families of the coastal region of Mangalore and also the Keralites of the Malabar coast, palm jaggery has a big role. It is used in the preparation of delicacies like payasams and neyyai appams. Mangaloreans use the same to prepare puddings and sweets. In temples, it is distributed with banana, or a bit of coconut, as prasadam . In the Calcutta city of West Bengal state, it is an important ingredient in sweets like Payeesh, Nalan gurer sandesh and Nalan gurer moa.

men selling the Olebella at Mangalore

men selling the Olebella at Mangalore

Usefulness of Palm jaggery

  • Palm Jaggery is rich in calcium, iron and other useful vitamins and minerals.
  • One of the tastiest and healthy products. It is used in the preparation of sweet dishes.
  • It may be used sufficiently by people who suffer from diabetes.
  • It is used as a substitute of sugar in the preparation of coffee, tea, etc.
  • Panakam or Juice is prepared by adding black pepper and palm jaggery, to a glass of water. Sometimes a pinch of cardomom(elaichi) is also added to get a good flavor and taste.
  • In the South Kanara district region, most of the time it is given to women who give birth to a child. If the mixture of powdered palm jaggery and black jeera are given to such women, then impurities in the breast milk would disappear and baby gets the white and clean milk during breast feeding. Even in the case of milking cows, the same thing is repeated after it gives birth to a calf.

Why the palm jaggery has to be fed to the cow?

The body temperature of few hybrid cows fall down after a calf is born. Their neck gets tightened and breathlessness might follow. As per the veterinary doctors, the reason is lack of calcium content in the body. If immediate action is not taken the cow may reach to the coma state. The calcium is supplied to the body in the form of liquid. If palm jaggery is fed to the cow problem gets solved.

Three or four weeks prior to the birth of the calf, 100gm of jaggery is being fed for 5 days. After its birth ¼ kg of jaggery is fed so that there is no calcium deficiency. It is advisable to feed the minerals to the cow, if it is too weak and in unhealthy condition.

Palm Jaggery

Beware of adulterated jaggery

Palm jaggery utilization has spread to the East and West Bengal and the consumption is more in cities of the Bihar state, too. Like most other commodities, the commercial production of jaggery has also been corrupted by the lime addition to create it in larger volumes. In the Southern states, the consumer need not fear of such adulterations, because most families are having the palm plantations. They make their palm jaggery production, at their own houses. They use only the first extract of the palm juice, for this purpose.

Mangaloreans expect the basic ingredients to be available to them all the time. They are discerning eaters. So, they depend on Mangalore stores that have mushroomed all over India. All these stores provide them with Palm jaggery which is finally in the form of hard discs. The sweet dish, payasam prepared at home does not taste good for these people without the palm jaggery.

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Tasty Palm Seeds

Buy Palm jaggery & Palm Seeds online:

It is available in websites like Even though nutritional content is far greater than all other commercially available sweeteners, confirm the product quality before buying them online. Palm seeds are very juicy and tasty.


Shameena Parvin on May 03, 2016:

I don't know the advantages of karupatti . But I am very happy. Usually in an allopathi treatment the doctors advised us not to use jaggery. karupatti and honey for the diabetic patients.

Sivakumar Gopalan on January 12, 2016:

@YesBee, Palm jiggery is the best for diabetic patients and is the best alternative for Processed sugars. I don't know which siddha doctor you consulted.

sirisha on October 31, 2015:

good kid is hyperactive and advised by the doc to use very less amt of sugar.planning to use palm jaggery... but as u said palm sugar is toddy will it make my kid drowsy or more hyperactive

Muhammad on April 16, 2015:

Palm jaggery tastes better than chocolate...It has a distinct smoky flavour...

vivekananda (author) from India on April 16, 2015:

Palmyra jaggery in its purest form is far higher in essential vitamins and minerals and has only 3.1 grams of fructose sugar per 100 grams (coconut palm sugar that has 40 grams of fructose per 100 grams), thus explaining why Palmyra Jaggery is so good for diabetics. But i do not know what type of Palm Jaggery is available to you or sold online. So please check before you use it as a sweetener.

YesBee on April 02, 2015:

As per the email confirmation received from Siddha doctor , diabetic patient should NOT use Palm Jaggery . Let me know on what basis you have posted this jaggery can take diabetic patients

Natanael on January 05, 2015:

hello!,I like your writing so much! pegtencare we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your article on AOL? I need a specialist on this space to unravel my problem. May be that is you! Looking forward to look you.

pearlgee on August 18, 2014:

Drinking karupatti cofee in the morning makes the body healthy. Karupatti is a wonderful health food in southern part of tamilnadu. Aged people around 80 are healthy because they drink karupatti coffee

vivekananda (author) from India on January 10, 2013:

Mike Robbers, thanks for dropping by. I think you will really enjoy the sweet dish.

Mike Robbers from London on January 08, 2013:

Your hub has taught me something I had not known before so I thank you.. I'd love to try that sweet rice dish :)

vivekananda (author) from India on July 27, 2012:

That property is found in Acai palm and not in this type of Palm.

honeybee29 on July 27, 2012:

I saw in an online news bulletin that palm tree extract would help people that had strokes. What can you tell me about this?

vivekananda (author) from India on July 11, 2012:

Karupatti does not have low concentration of carbohydrates. But better than sugar because it has medicinal properties.

kaavyah on July 10, 2012:

very informative,vivek.But just wanted to know one more thing.Is karupatti high in carbohydrates,like sugar or is it low-carb?

vivekananda (author) from India on June 20, 2012:

Yes, of course. It is made from kallu.

Ramu on June 20, 2012:

You said Palm Jaggery is made of Palm Sap ? Sap is nothing but the liquid that oozes out from the palm tree ... Does that mean Palm Jaggery is made out of Toddy (kallu... they call it in telugu)

vivekananda (author) from India on June 17, 2012:

Thanks for the comment..Camille. Glad to know that you were born in India. Palm Jaggery is a useful sweetener. But many people outside India have yet to learn about it.

Camille Banche on June 15, 2012:

Yes yes I do know of the Palm Jaggery--we sure gave it to cows and cattle--India is where I was born--USA is where I live.How very wonderful.Glad to have found you all. Super,

vivekananda (author) from India on May 04, 2012:

thumatirajesh...Yes, of course it is made out of Palm tree sap and not Sugarcane.

thumatirajesh on May 04, 2012:

Please Clarify that the Palm Jaggery is not made out of Sugar Cane and it is made out of Palm trees extracts. Am I correct? Thanks for your valuable information. Rajesh

vivekananda (author) from India on April 17, 2012:

Thanks Surya for the comments.

surya on April 17, 2012:

Very informative thank you for such a nice article

Rudra on March 29, 2011:

Didn't know palm jagerry was so big.

jwood00 from the other side of morning on February 13, 2011:

Interesting hub. I've never heard of this before.

Katharella from Lost in America on January 27, 2011:

Thank you. There is a grocer by me that specializes in organics that are not at other grocers. I'll copy the wiki pages pages and take with. Thanks again.

vivekananda (author) from India on January 27, 2011:

I don't know exactly whether you can get this extract of palm tree in the USA. Because it depends on the species of palm trees that grow in a place. Borassus flabellifer is the species grown in India and some parts of Asia.

Please have a look at these pages - and also

If this extract is made available in the US, then surely it is possible to make the jaggery at your place.

Katharella from Lost in America on January 26, 2011:

Is it possible to find the ingredients to make true palm jaggery in America?

lex123 on January 05, 2011:

Great information. I was looking for this info, and landed on your hub.

indivar reddy on December 10, 2010:

I am happy to find this article as i was intrested to know about the palm jaggery and its process. This article cleared all doubts and very informative, thanks for the info


vivekananda (author) from India on August 12, 2010:

rls8994...Thanks for the encouraging comment.

rls8994 from Mississippi on July 15, 2010:

Great health hub! I'm all about being healthy! Did not know about palm jaggery. Thanks for the great information about this.

vivekananda (author) from India on June 05, 2010:

Well, that's fine. Your hub on Kumarparvat shows that you were also active in S.India.

suny51 on June 05, 2010:

Vivek,I did my Management from their(Bangaluru,now) and was posted in Belgam for training for many months,that was fun,I spent more time traveling the places and lesser time in job assigned to me and was transferred to Delhi as a punishment,but I still go to S.India often.

vivekananda (author) from India on June 04, 2010:

Thanks for the comment..suny. It's nice to hear from you saying that south India is your second home. I think you have a good experience traveling all over India. Am i right?

suny51 on June 04, 2010:

Hello Vivek,great one, very informative and takes me back to my stay in South India that's like my second home and still I have my best memories related with the places you have mentioned here and the taste of the stuff, I love it.beautiful.

vivekananda (author) from India on June 03, 2010:

Hi Valerie...this is indeed an excellent sweetener. But for those people who use sugar daily, might find it little difficult to get adjusted to this new sweetener.

valeriebelew from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA on June 03, 2010:

Sounds like an excellent sweetener, tasting good with medicinal properties. I am trying to eat only healthy foods, that contribute something to my health, rather than only taste good. Thanks for this hub. (: v

vivekananda (author) from India on June 03, 2010:

Thank you...dreamreachout. I hope that people all over the world might start consuming this product due to its medicinal properties.

dreamreachout on June 03, 2010:

Hey, palm jaggery was always available in Calcutta and West Bengal and it is always used to make sweet delicacies including payesh(payesham). In Bengali, it is called "Tal Patali"!!

However, date jaggery is more prefered here and other varieties like sugar-cane etc. are also used.

Thumbs up for highlighting our indigenous savouries!!

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