Sharkara has a mild, sweet taste, and is described in Ayurveda as having a harmonising effect on the mind and body, particularly by pacifying Vata and Pitta doshas. The acid-producing parts of cane sugar are mainly found in the joints and roots, and these toxins are removed by cleaning and the slow process of crystallisation. During production, about 1/3 of the volume is lost. The light yellow, organically-formed crystals that remain are dried in the hot, Indian summer sun, which matures and elevates them to their full Ayurvedic potency. Finally, the crystals are crushed into smaller pieces and ground into a powder.
At the end of the refining process, sugar is normally bleached with sulphuric acid, which destroys any Ayurvedic qualities. Genuine Ayurvedic Sharkara is unbleached and can be identified by its almost neutral pH value, light grey colour, and a gentle caramel taste.