Every country has had at one time in its history a type of highly valued plant! Interestingly, certain plants can be utilised as both food, herbal medicines or for other essential purposes. As a result, it is always good to identify everything we can benefit from these nature’s gifts to us.
So if you are still on this page, you are probably keen to understand some important facts about one of the strongest woody grass on earth ~ BAMBOO!
Having a good knowledge of this largest member of the grass family is not only essential for maintaining a friendly atmosphere but as well as for satisfying some of our basic needs.
Bamboo, bæmˈbuː, achara or achalla tree is a long perennial woody grass that belongs to the family of Poaceae and subfamily Bambusoideae. Bamboo tree is believed to be the most primitive tree due to its long valuable history. Found both in the temperate, tropical, and subtropical regions of the globe, this flowering rhizome-dependent plant is capable of adapting to harsh soil and weather conditions. Bamboo plant comprises of 1200 species and approximately 90 genera.
Bamboo trees are mostly predominant in villages, riverbanks, streams, ponds, forests, roadsides and farms. The bamboo trees can be found in every continent mostly in Asia, America and Africa except Antarctica. Bamboo plant is distinguished by its oval leaves and hollow stems that have nodes in between the segments. Both the bamboo leaves, branches and stems tend to remain greenish in colour during its lifetime except during fire outbreak or harsh sunlight.
It can survive for up to 20 years while the flowers can survive between 6 to 12 years but dependent on the type of specie. It is distinguished from other trees due to its outstanding flexible nature whereby it can bend, twist and withstand windbreak and harsh weather conditions without breaking. Studies attribute the bamboo plant as the strongest woody plant in the world due to its ability to be drawn out or stretched with a high weight-to-strength ratio.
Bamboo plant can be monopodial (running specie) for example p. Pubescens, phyllostachys edulis, p. Mitis or sympodial (clump forming) in nature. Some bamboo genus are Fargesia, Phyllostachys aureosulcata, Phyllostachys edulis, Phyllostachys nigra, Bambusa, Guadua bamboo, dwarf bambusa, Guadua angustifolia, Phyllostachys, sweet bamboo, Dendrocalamus giganteus and golden bamboo. Bamboo is among the most valuable woody plant due to its numerous useful and beneficial purposes.
28 Incredible Benefits of the Bamboo Plant
1. Nutritional Values of the Bamboo Plant
Bamboo shoot is a rich source of amino acids, phosphorous, dietary fiber, magnesium, protein, iron, potassium, copper, selenium, vitamin B1, nicotinic acid, calcium, zinc, sodium, riboflavin, carotene and essential minerals.
2. Chemical Values of the Bamboo Plant
Bamboo plant is a rich source of resins, arginine, silica, riboflavin, choline, thiamine, betaine, gluteline, cyanogenic glycosides, tyrosine, niacin, protein, albuminoids, histidine, oxalic acid, reducing sugar, phenylamine, nuclease, waxes, valine, urease, proteolytic enzyme, taxiphyllin, methionine, benzoic acid, urease, threonine, isoleucine, lysine, cysteine, acetylcholine.
3. Antimicrobial Properties
Singh et al., (2010) subjected the ethanolic and aqueous extracts of bamboo for antimicrobial activity against the strains of Staphylococcus aureus, E.coli, Bacillus and P.aeruginosa. The results showed that bamboo extracts have effective inhibitory ability against Staphylococcus aureus. Both the ethanolic and aqueous extracts proved highly effective comparable to penicillin. Researchers agree that both the methanolic, ethanolic and methanol-ethanolic extracts of the bamboo plant is a potential source of antimicrobial drugs.
4. Rhinorrhagia Treatment
Rhinorrhagia, which is also known as nosebleed is a health condition marked by hemorrhage from the nose. This can be attributed to the rupture of small vessels lying atop of the anterior part of the cartilaginous nasal septum. Studies reveal that herbal medicine from the shoots, seeds, leaves and roots of the bamboo plant can be used for treating rhinorrhagia.
5. Anthelmintic Purposes
Bamboo leaf can be used for preparing herbal drugs for destroying parasitic worms due to its strong anthelmintic compositions.
6. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Researchers reveal that combining a methanol extract of Bambusa arundinacea with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory analgesic offers a strong anti-inflammatory effect. As a result, it can be used for tackling chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, rheumatoid.
7. Astringent Properties
Due to the strong astringent properties of the bamboo plant, it can be used for preparing a herbal astringent lotion for reducing bleeding from minor abrasions or cuts. It can also be used for preparing cosmetics applied on the skin to make the skin less oily.
8. Antispasmodic Effects
Due to the antispasmodic effects of the bamboo plant, it can be used for preparing antispasmodic drugs for relieving spasm of the involuntary muscles.
9. Aphrodisiac Properties
Due to the aphrodisiac properties of the bamboo plant, it can be used for producing medicines for stimulating sexual desires.
10. Anticoagulation Effects
Bamboo leaves have been proven effective for preventing the formation of blood clots due to its anticoagulant properties. As a result, herbal medicines from the leaves can be used for preventing and treating disorders caused by abnormal blood clots.
11. Culinary Purposes
Young bamboo shoots are mostly used as green vegetables for cooking food, achara soup and curry. The young tender leaves can also be cut into small pieces and used for making pickles and for preparing meat and fish dishes. Young bamboo shoots can be stir-fried with other vegetables or stir-fried just alone. The shoots can also be used for producing soft drinks and bamboo wine.
12. Livestock Fodder
Young bamboo leaves can serve as fodder thus can be fed to livestock and farm animals such as cattles, goats, sheeps and cows.
13. Phlegm Treatment
Both the roots, branches, leaves, seeds and leaves of the bamboo plant can be used for preparing herbal medicines for treating phlegm. The medicine helps to clear the thick viscous substance secreted by the mucous membranes of the respiratory passages, especially during cold.
14. Laryngitis Treatment
Herbal medicines from bamboo shoots can be used for treating laryngitis, which is a health condition caused as a result of the inflammation of the larynx. This inflammation usually results in painful cough, harsh breathing, huskiness or loss of voice.
15. Febrifuge Properties
Bamboo leaves, stems, and roots can be used for preparing herbal medicines for treating and reducing fever.
16. Antioxidant potential of bamboo
Bamboo is known for its high anti-oxidizing properties and as such can aid the removal of potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.
17. Anti-cancerous Properties
The alkaline extract of Sasa senanensis leaves is believed to be effective for tackling cancerous growths due to its anti-cancer properties.
18. Anti-diabetic Properties
Bamboo shoots and its extracts can be used for preparing herbal medicines for regulating the blood sugar level.
19. Balanced Cholesterol Level
The herbal medicines from the bamboo plant parts can be used for regulating the cholesterol level.
20. Healing of Skin Eruptions
Bamboo bark can be decocted and used for treating skin eruptions.
21. Antileprotic Properties
Due to the antileprotic properties of the bamboo plant, studies reveal that the leaves can be used for preparing medicines for treating leprosy.
22. Laxative Effect
The pungent bamboo seeds can serve as a laxative for stimulating the evacuation of faeces.
23. Aids Digestion
Due to the high dietary fibre content of young bamboo shoots, studies reveal that including them in our diets aids easy digestion of food. It also boosts our appetite.
24. Antibacterial Properties
Bambusa bambose L. leaves extract is broad spectrum and contains antibacterial properties. As a result, the leaves can be used for tackling bacterial diseases.
25. Stimulating Properties
The leaves can be used as a stimulant for raising the levels of physiological or nervous activities in the body.
26. Construction Purposes
Long bamboo stems are normally used for construction purposes such as building houses, bridges, pillars, fences, roofing and flooring etc. The stem also serves as a stake, which can be driven into the ground to support a plant or mark a boundary. The stems can also be used for constructing furniture, baskets and utensils.
27. Electricity Supply
A study conducted in Thailand by Sritong et al., in 2012 shows that Tong and Gimsung bamboo species can be used for generating electricity. These bamboo species can serve as an alternative raw material for generating electricity for biomass power plants. Moreover, their study showed that these bamboo species offer higher energy comparable to the use of current raw materials.
28. Charcoal Production
Bamboo trees can be burnt to produce charcoals that are even 3 times as porous as wood. Bamboo charcoals tend to release more energy when burnt thus serves as fuel energy provider.
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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