Molasses (a.k.a black treacle) is a flavoring or sweetener made by boiling sugar cane juice and extracting the sugar crystals. There are different varieties of molasses, the difference being how many times it has been reduced, method of extraction, and age. This gooey and thick natural sweetener gave rise to the phrase "as slow as molasses, because of its heavy, slow, and dense nature.
The production of molasses was developed in India around 500 BC. Arab invaders brought the product of Spain, and a century later, it came to the West Indie with Christopher Columbus. The British started sugar cane cultivation in Barbados in 1646 and traded it as a commodity by the end of the century.
Unsulfured blackstrap molasses is one of the most inexpensive Superfoods rich in vitamins and minerals and has many health benefits. Its benefits including being a general blood tonic that improves circulation, cleanses toxins, and builds strength. With its high iron content, it helps to regulate menstruation and pregnancy and brings needed warmth. Magnesium calms the nervous system with its heaviness and moisture and is a powerful digestive aid with a laxative effects. Its manganese content makes it an antioxidant fighting free radicals, and its iron and selenium content helps shrink tumors. Its low glycemic content makes it an alternate for diabetic intake. With a zero-fat content and few calories, it can be used as a sweetener. It is also believed that pantothenic acid helps relieve headaches and assists with asthma, insomnia, and stress, and potassium facilitates the absorption of calcium for bone and muscle health.
Ironically, sugar can be detrimental to our health, but the refined waste product (molasses) is considered a superfood. During the refinement process, all of the vitamins and minerals naturally occurring in raw sugar are removed. Making unsulfured blackstrap molasses begins with the harvesting of sun-ripened organic sugar cane making sulfur additives unnecessary. Then machines extract the liquid from the sugar cane, boiled and put it into the centrifuge to remove the sugar crystals. The liquid resulting from this part of the process is molasses. The boiling process is repeated a third time, leaving the thick dark black residue we know as blackstrap molasses.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, blackstrap molasses has the earth and fire elements and the tastes: sweet, bitter, and sour with a warming, mobile, and liquid action in the body. It is best for the Vata dosha but can aggravate Pitta and Kapha in excess.