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MSc (Clinical Embryology), M.Tech (Biotechnology)
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MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
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13 Aug 2019 | 12:07 PM (IST)

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Sabudana or Indian Sago is extracted from Tapioca roots and is used in both food and for commercial purposes. Sabudana is a rich source of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin K, calcium and potassium.
It is nutritious, light and easy to digest making it an ideal “baby food”. It is also suitable for people having the problem of indigestion.
Regular consumption of Sabudana is beneficial for weight gain as it is rich in carbohydrates and contains high calories. It is naturally gluten-free which makes it a suitable replacement option for wheat-based products for people having wheat allergies.
Sabudana is generally eaten as Sabudana khichdi or kheer. It should be soaked in water or boiled before consumption. It is said that Sabudana porridge can be an effective and simple food to cool and balance body heat.
People suffering from diabetes should avoid eating Sabudana as it contains a high amount of starch and may cause a sudden rise in blood sugar levels[1].

What are the synonyms of Sabudana?

Manihot esculenta, Sago, Javvarishi, Indian Sago, Saboodana, Sago Pearls, Chavvari, Saggubeeyam

What is the source of Sabudana?

Plant Based

Benefits of Sabudana

1. Indigestion or Weak digestion
Indigestion means a state of incomplete digestion after having food. The main reason for indigestion is Agnimandya (weak digestive fire). Sabudana is good in the form of Khichdi because Khichdi is Laghu (light to digest). This helps someone with a weak digestive fire to digest without aggravating the symptoms of indigestion.
a. Make Sabudana khichdi at home.
b. Take 1/2-1 bowl or as per your requirement once or twice a day to get rid of symptoms of indigestion.

2. Low energy level (Weakness)
Sabudana is full of starch and is great for a quick boost of energy. Sabudana is Laghu (light to digest) in nature and is easily digested. This is why it is a good option to serve in India for breaking fasts during festivals.
a. Make Sabudana Kheer at home.
b. Take 1/2-1 bowl or as per your requirement to boost your energy level.

3. Diarrhea
Diarrhea is known as Atisar in Ayurveda. It is due to improper food, impure water, toxins, mental stress and Agnimandya (weak digestive fire). All these factors are responsible for aggravating Vata. This aggravated Vata brings fluid in the intestine from various tissues from the body and mixes with the stool. This leads to loose, watery motions or diarrhea. Sabudana is good to control diarrhea because it has Laghu (light to digest) nature and can be used as a food supplement during diarrhea. It also helps to retain fluid in the intestine to thicken loose stool and control the frequency of loose motion or diarrhea.
a. Make Sabudana khichdi at home.
b. Take 1/2-1 bowl or as per your requirement to control the symptoms of diarrhea.

Precautions when using Sabudana

Advice from Experts
Modern Science View
1. Take Sabudana only when it is properly cooked. This is because uncooked or improperly cooked Sabudana may contain chemicals called cyanogenic glycosides which may cause cyanide poisoning[2][3].

2.Consult your doctor while taking Sabudana if you have problems related to thyroid gland[2].
Modern Science View
Consult your doctor while taking Sabudana during Breastfeeding[2].
Modern Science View
Consult your doctor while taking Sabudana during Pregnancy[2][4].

How to use Sabudana

1. Sabudana Kheer
a. Soak ½ cup of Sabudana for 3-4 hours in water.
b. Take 2 cups of milk and bring it to a boil.
c. Add soaked Sabudana to it.
d. Allow it to cook in the boiling milk and simmer on low flame with continuous stirring.
e. Add sugar when the Sabudana becomes properly cooked.
f. Enjoy ½ -1 bowl of Sabudana kheer when hot for better taste to improve weakness.

2. Sabudana Khichdi
a. Soak ½ cup of Sabudana for 3-4 hours in water.
b. Heat 1-2 teaspoon of olive oil in a pan.
c. Add cumin seeds, chopped tomatoes, peanuts to it and saute for 5 minutes.
d. Now add soaked Sabudana to it.
e. Add salt and black pepper as per your taste.
f. Cook the Sabudana with continuous stirring till it gets properly cooked.
g. Eat warm and have it in case of diarrhea or indigestion.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What does Sabudana contain?

Modern Science View
Sabudana contains starch as the main constituent. It contains fats, protein, calcium, iron and fiber in a very low quantity.

Q. Can we eat Sabudana in fast?

Modern Science View
Yes, Sabudana can be eaten during fasts. People look for some non-grain food to eat during fast. Sabudana is one of the best non- grain food rich in carbohydrates.

Q. How long do you need to soak Sabudana?

Modern Science View
Soaking time of Sabudana depends on the size of its pearls. If the size of the pearl is small it need 2-3 hours of soaking while big pearls require 5-6 hours of soaking.

Q. Does Sabudana cause constipation?

Ayurvedic View
No Sabudana has a property of Laghu (light to digest). It helps to reduce the symptoms of weak digestion to prevent constipation, bloating or gas.

Q. Is Sabudana (Sago) good for weight loss?

Modern Science View
No, Sabudana (Sago) is not good for weight loss, in fact, it is good for gaining weight. It is a starchy substance, rich in carbohydrates and high in calories. Thus it increases the weight[4].
Ayurvedic View
Generally, Sabudana is not advisable for weight loss because it is full of starch and is Laghu (light to digest) in nature which does not help to control food cravings. This results in overeating and weight gain.

Q. What are the benefits of Sabudana for skin?

Modern Science View
Sabudana is good for skin as it provides a lifting effect on the skin and prevents ageing. Topical application of Sabudana smoothens and hydrates the skin. It also has antifungal property due to which it prevents skin infections and rashes[5][6].

Q. What are the side effects of eating Sabudana?

Modern Science View
Sabudana is low in protein, iron and calcium and has a high amount of carbohydrates due to which it has low nutritional value. Eating Sabudana for a long time may cause nutritional deficiencies.
The high glycemic index of Sabudana might also affect diabetic patients by rapidly increasing blood glucose level[4][8][2].

Q. Is it safe for diabetics to have Sabudana?

Modern Science View
Sabudana is rich in starch and carbohydrates so it is a good source of energy. But due to its high glycemic index (the rate at which food increases blood glucose level), it may be harmful to diabetes patients if taken in large quantities. It may cause blood glucose levels to increase rapidly. So it should be used in moderate quantities and with doctor’s consultation[7][8].

Q. Can I eat Sabudana khichdi during pregnancy?

Modern Science View
Yes, Sabudana khichdi can be eaten during pregnancy as it is a good source of dietary fiber, easy to digest and prevents constipation. It also has a cooling effect on the body. It has vitamin B and folate and thus prevents birth defects. The high carbohydrate content makes it a good source of energy for pregnant women[9].


  1. Yadav R, Garg G.A review on Indian sago starch and its pharmaceutical applications. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences.2013;2(3):99-106.
  2. WebMD.Cassava: Uses, Side effects, Doses, Interactions [Internet].Atlanta [last updated in 2016].
  3. Teles FF. Chronic poisoning by hydrogen cyanide in cassava and its prevention in Africa and Latin America.Food Nutr Bull.2002;23(4):407-12.
  4. Devi GC.The Power of Ancient Ayurveda: Ancient Ayurvedic Cookbook.Partridge Publishing Singapore.2018.
  5. Popoola TOS, Yangomodou OD, AkintokunAK.Antimicrobial Activity of Cassava Seed Oil on Skin Pathogenic Microorganisms.Research Journal of Medicinal Plants.2007;1 (2): 60-64.
  6. Manco LM, Mercurio DG, Melo MO.Development of cosmetic formulations containing glucan polymer of Cassava (Manihot esculenta): stability and sensory analysis.Biomed Biopharm Res. 2015; (12) 1: 91-98.
  7. Yessoufou A, Ategbo JM, Girard A, et al. Cassava-enriched diet is not diabetogenic rather it aggravates diabetes in rats.Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2006;20(6):579-86.
  8. Ogbuji CA, David-Chukwu NP..GLYCEMIC INDICES OF DIFFERENT CASSAVA FOOD PRODUCTS.European Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences.2016; 3(3):2059-3058.
  9. Karad KA, Thorat AV, Karad VA.Effect of Fortification with Shingada, Sabudana, and Rajgira Flour on Quality of Fasting Biscuits .IJSR.2013;ISSN (Online): 2319-7064
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.


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