The sugar cane juicer has been used for centuries to press the sugarcane stalk and extract the plant's naturally sweet juice for consumption and/or the production of sugar, cane syrup or molasses. Since sugar cane juice is a very sweet unrefined carbohydrate, it has become one of the more popular vegetable juice drinks in today's health conscious world. Sugar cane juice is not only delightful to the palate; it is good for you too. Many nutritionists believe the organic juice extracted from the sugarcane plant provides healthy qualities from boosting an individual's immune response to disease to soothing an upset digestive tract. Over 5,000 years ago, the earliest sugar crystals were reportedly produced in India and China from sugar cane juice.
By the eighth century, the trade of sugarcane and its sweet nectar spread through the tropical regions along the coast of the Mediterranean. Most countries of ancient Mesopotamia, Northern Africa and Southern Europe began growing and harvesting sugarcane to meet the new commercial needs for sugar. Brought to the Americas by the Portuguese, the demand for the natural sweetener grew quickly and sugarcane became the agricultural product of the emerging Western world. Boiling vats were used to heat the juice from the pressed grass stalks resulting in a syrup (or molasses). The by-product of the heat cycles and refinement were the formation of sugar crystals. Manual extractors were used to produce a crude granulated powder and the exporting of sugar became big business. As the developing world's interest in sugar, molasses and cane syrup sweeteners continued to grow, the cultivation of new sugar cane fields grew throughout the temperate areas and islands of the western Atlantic. Soon, the sugar trade and the establishment of sugar cane plantations led to the earliest use of slave labor to cultivate, harvest, press and refine the juice from the sugarcane plant.
Sugarcane's grassy stalks were initially grown from seeds. However, plantation owner's soon realized the fibrous plant could be mass produced by stem cutting a bud and hand planting the section of sugarcane stalk. By replanting the budding stems, any given sugarcane stand could be harvested several times. Still, the extraction of the golden juice during the plantation era relied on manually operated juicing machinery most often turned by mule power. Today, sugar cane juice has become a healthy alternative to more popular sports drinks and artificial sodas. Since natural carbohydrates require less oxygen to be burnt than protein or fat, fresh squeezed sugarcane juice provides working muscles with an excellent source of glucose to maximize the performance and endurance of the human body. Researchers have found, when exercising or participating in a physical activity, sugarcane juice is more efficient and effective in maintaining glycogen levels in the muscles than energy drinks or sodas containing refined sugars. In addition, many fruit and vegetable juice drinkers believe sugarcane juice provides many other positive health benefits for aiding the body's immune system and promoting natural healing.