Bamboo is classified as a grass and like all grass species, it grows fast. Some bamboo species are said to grow at a rate of 91 centimeters in a span of 24 hours! – that is about 4 inches per hour, you can literally watch a bamboo plant grow.
All this growth is caused by the absence of secondary growth and a highly developed rhizome defendant root system.
A bamboo plant comprises of a straight pole like hollow stem without branches and palm – fronds like leaves found at the top of the plant.
It has six stamens, three stigmata, and three lodicules- The lodicules – young shoots, push out during the growth process making way for the mature leaves to follows, old leaves dry out, turn brown and fall off as the plant thrusts out into the sky.
Bamboo plants keep growing and only flower towards the end of their lifespan which can be as long as 65 to 120 and years.
Bamboo species are originally native of Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. over the years, they have been distributed in places as far away as South America, Africa, Europe, Australia, and other parts of the world, except for the cold regions – Arctic and Antarctic.
This wide distribution means that Bamboo plants have the highest economic uses in many parts of the world amongst grass species.
In this article I will share some of these uses, I will concentrate on bamboo leaves, their physiological benefits, medicinal benefits, nutritional benefits, and many other unique uses.
Did you know that bamboo leaves have more than 100 uses in different sectors of the economy? Here are some of them: –
Medicinal Uses of Bamboo leaves
Bamboo leaves have a rich amalgamation of chemical compounds that make them an excellent source of curative drugs for clinical and physiological treatment in both human and livestock:
1. Dietary Fiber
Foods that are rich in dietary fiber help our bodies in a number of ways; they help to prevent and relieve constipation, they also help to maintain healthy body weight, young bamboo shoots are rich in dietary fiber.
Dried bamboo leaves when crushed can be used to brew a wonderful cup of tea in addition to being a healthy drink, bamboo tea contains silica an important nutrient that prevents the absorption of aluminum in the digestive system, and thus reduces stomach bloating, too much abdominal gas and relieves diarrhea.
Bamboo leaf tea has another very important use, it is a laxative that will relieve straining while passing stool. It softens stool, increases stool passing frequency and is a good alternative medicine for anyone suffering from hemorrhoids.
Bamboo leaves contain compounds like benzoic and hydrocyanic acids these are extremely valuable detoxifiers. Detoxifiers act as the body’s cleansers, they flush out any unwanted toxins and excessive mineral build-up from the liver and kidneys. Regularly drinking bamboo tea leads to a sense of wellbeing and health.
5. Treating stomach problems
After having a heavy meal, we always feel lethargic – a sense of heaviness and tiredness, this is more serious in people suffering from ulcers. Washing your food down with a cup of bamboo tea will hasten the stomach’s digestive process and help calm your stomach.
6. A skin remedy
Bamboo leaves when crushed into a fine paste, mixed with a few drops of olive oil and honey when regularly applied to the skin helps keep irritation and skin blemishes at bay.
As antibiotic bamboo leaves have extensive uses, they contain important antimicrobial properties that have a broad spectrum which acts against several strains of bacteria, Escherichia Coli, staphylococcus aureus, aeruginosa and many others helping to treat diseases caused by these bacteria.
8. Anti – leprosy
Fresh bamboo leaves have been used extensively in the treatment of leprosy.
Arthritis and rheumatoid are painful inflammations of the joints, fresh juice squeezed from bamboo leaves have strong non-steroidal analgesics that relieve pain.
Blood clots are dangerous, coupled with aneurysm they may cause blood vessels to rupture. Bamboo leaves have strong anticoagulant properties. When drunk regularly it will help prevent blood clots and treat blood disorders.
Involuntary muscle spasms are extremely uncomfortable; bamboo leaves have strong antispasmodic properties.
Bamboo shoots boiled and drank as tea has a high concentration of compounds that help reduce and manage high blood sugar levels. Drinking this tea after meals by diabetic patients helps to lower sugar levels.
High levels of pollution mean that we consume a high level of free radicals in our foods and drinks, this causes severe damage to our bodies; constantly fighting against disease-causing radicals. Drinking juice from Bamboo leaves first thing in the morning and the last thing at night before going to bed it will give you the benefits this strong antioxidant.
Bamboo leaves extracts can be used to brew an alkaline-based drink, which when consumed on a regular basis suppresses the growth of malignant tumors.
15. Anthelmintic treatment
Herbal drugs prepared from bamboo shoots have anthelmintic properties, meaning when taken orally will they will expel parasitic worms from the body.
16. Nose bleeding treatment
Nose bleeding or rhinorrhea caused by the breaking of cartilaginous nasal capillaries if not treated is a serious condition that can cause anemia, bamboo shoots mixed with roots make a wonderful herbal medicine that heals this condition.
A cold or strong cough when healing creates thick viscous phlegm that is unhealthy to the respiratory passage bamboo juice helps clear thick phlegm as an expectorant.
18. Treating Respiratory diseases
Respiratory diseases like asthma and other respiratory infections can be treated by bamboo leaves. Bamboo tea mixed with honey has medicinal properties to help manage or cure respiratory illnesses.
19. Laryngitis treatment
The inflammation of the larynx commonly known as laryngitis that leads to chest coughs and shortness of breath coupled with voice loss is treatable with a concoction of bamboo leaf extracts mixed with other herbs.
20. Treatment of fever
A Mixture of bamboo roots and leaves can help reduce cases of high fever and help manage the accompanying body aches.
21. Cholesterol management
High Cholesterol levels can cause cardiovascular diseases; bamboo leaves when drank help regulate cholesterol levels.
22. Reduce Hypertension
Drinking herbs made from Bamboo leaves will help maintain a strong heart, which in turn helps reduce cholesterol. With reduced cholesterol, unhealthy deposits in the blood vessels that cause high blood pressure by narrowing blood vessels are removed helping lower blood pressure.
23. Increasing libido
The male libido is of concern to many, Bamboo leaves have aphrodisiac properties that help men increase their virility,
24. Treatment of boils and swellings
Bamboo shoots used as herbal astringent can be used as a healing balm for boils and swollen lymph nodes it has a fast-acting soothing effect, that cures body swellings.
25. Cuts and Wounds
Bamboo leaves contain a compound that helps in healing of wounds and cuts. A medicinal lotion is prepared out of the freshly cut bamboo leaves, mixed with other herbs the poultice is used to cover cuts and wounds. Research has shown that fresh cuts close up faster, and the healing process of wounds is hastened.
26. Dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea treatment
Heavy menstrual circles – dysmenorrhea and lack of menstrual periods – amenorrhea are worrying concerns that affect women. Drinking Boiled bamboo water does not only help restore normal menstrual flows, but it also helps relieve back pain and stomach cramps associated with menstrual periods.
27. Strengthening Nail and Hair
Silica, Biotin, and tocopherol are important compounds in the growth of hair and nails bamboo leaves are rich in this important compounds, drinking bamboo tea every day will promote hair and nail growth and add a healthy natural sheen. The leaves can also be crushed and applied as a mask on the hair and nails, making them stronger.
28. Skin moisturizer
The antibacterial properties found in bamboo leaves can help maintain a healthy skin, mashed bamboo leaves mixed with olive oils made into a paste applied to the skin twice a day is a natural skin moisturizer that will make the skin smooth and supple. It also helps heal acne and other skin-related conditions.
29. Bladder Treatment
A painful burning sensation during urination is an indication of bladder infection. The anti-inflammatory properties in bamboo leaves and the broad bacterial spectrum found in bamboo leaves will help cure this condition. Boil the bamboo leaves add a few drops of honey and drink the mixture to help relieve the pain and ease the burning sensation.
30. Managing Alzheimer
Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory and thinking skills and causes dementia in old people, the antioxidant compounds in bamboo leaves will help flush out aluminum which is the main causal compound of Alzheimer. The silica also helps protect brain cells against free radicals that hasten aging and brain function deterioration.
31. Kidney treatment
Kidneys help flush out toxins from the body when they get diseased the body struggles to eliminate harmful compounds, drinking an herbal concoction of bamboo leaves will help treat kidney diseases and restore the body’s vitality.
32. Ease of Childbirth
Childbirth is a stressful moment for every woman, drinking bamboo leaves tea during the last trimester of pregnancy, does not only help in the baby’s development, but it also helps increase contractions leading to a fast childbirth process. It will also reduce heavy bleeding and hasten expulsion of the placenta.
33. Strengthen the Immune system
Silica found in bamboo leaves has a myriad of important uses, amongst them; silica helps prevent infections, it helps strengthen the body’s immunity.
34. Strong bones and teeth
Silica found in bamboo leaves has another use, it helps the body to absorb calcium, an important compound in strengthening bones and teeth, this protects the body against bone fractures and helps in stopping teeth cavities.
35. Metabolic Stimulant
Bamboo tea is a healthy body stimulant that increases the body’s metabolism increasing nervous activities and relaxing the mind.
Agricultural Uses of Bamboo leaves
36. Soil Erosion
Dry bamboo leaves when they fall on the ground act like a mulch creating a covering to the soil, which in combination with the root system helps protect the soil from soil erosion.
Dense bamboo foliage is an excellent windbreak shield that helps slow down the speed of the wind.
37. Environmental Remediation
Soil pollution ionization radiation is a serious environmental problem. Bamboo leaves absorb harmful chemicals from the air and help restore natural air composition.
38. Carbon Sequestration
Bamboo leaves help mitigate global warming by absorbing excess carbon dioxide from the air and storing it up. This helps reduce extreme climatic changes as it reduces greenhouse effects on the ozone layer.
39. Livestock Fodder
Bamboo leaves aren’t just food for pandas, they make a healthy fodder for livestock, helping increase milk and meat production while keeping the animals healthy.
Well-trimmed professionally manicured bamboo leaves look beautiful in a garden, they make wonderful landscaping feature.
Bamboo leaves are prickly and grow densely together forming a perfect live fence that will keep your privacy.
42. Sound Screen
The interposed bamboo leaves make a dense sound-absorbing mass that can be used to soundproof a house when stuffed around the walls.
Art and Design Uses
Bamboo leaves are used to weave excellent wicker baskets, wall baskets, storage baskets, and other kinds of woven baskets.
44. Oriental Rugs
Woven dried bamboo leaves make ornamental oriental door rugs, doormats, etc.
45. Necklaces and Bracelets
Dry bamboo leaves are used to craft beautiful handmade necklaces and bracelets.
46. Oriented Strand Boards
Wooden particles mixed with dry bamboo leaves and adhesives compressed under extreme pressure make decorative oriented strand boards.
47. Mat Boards
Woven bamboo leaf mats are glued together and make strong matboards; an excellent alternative to plywood.
48. Roof Thatch
Bamboo leaves make an impervious roof that is cool in summer and warm during the winter, it’s got perfect sound absorption qualities.
Dried bamboo leaves make a dustproof flooring in temporary structures and camping sites.
50. Strand woven bamboo
Strand woven bamboo is made from stripped bamboo strands and leaves compressed under pressure and lacquered, they are good for keeping rooms cool and maintaining humidity.
Stationery and paper use
Bamboo leaves and wood are crushed to make pulp that is used to make newsprint paper.
52. Toilet Tissue paper
Bamboo leaves mixed with recycled paper is used in the manufacture of toilet paper.
53. Floor Carpets
Woven bamboo leaves make natural ecofriendly floor carpets.
Culinary and Drinks uses
54. Bamboo leaf wine
Natural dewdrops are collected from bamboo leaves early in the morning. These dewdrops are used to process bamboo leaf wine.
55. Bamboo Tea
Bamboo tea is a sweet blended drink made from crushed bamboo leaves that has a myriad of medicinal uses.
56. Bamboo beer
Bamboo beer is made from crushed bamboo leaves which are then fermented and processed into a frothy alcoholic drink.
57. Bamboo vinegar
Bamboo vinegar is a high concentration of acetic acid but is basically 80% water. It’s made from boiling bamboo leaves, the vapour collected is allowed to condense.
58. Charcoal coated peanuts
Charcoal from bamboo plants is used to coat peanuts giving them an aromatic taste that is medicinally beneficial.
59. Bamboo shoots vegetable
Young bamboo shoots are chopped and either stir-fried or added to meat and fish dishes.
60. Food Preservative
Food wrapped in bamboo leaves doesn’t easily go bad, the antibacterial properties in the leaves help keep food fresher for longer.
Fabric and Cloth Uses
Dry bamboo leaves are used to create beautiful bamboo tote purses.
Fibers are extracted from bamboo leaves using a steaming process the fibers are then spun into yarn that is used to make beautiful dresses.
Bamboo boxers and underwear are an organic natural fiber that doesn’t cause irritation to the skin.
Socks made from bamboo fibers help absorb foot sweat and divert bad odors from the feet.
65. Bulletproof vests
Bamboo leaves and the soft inner pith of bamboo shoots are used to make a versatile impact-resistant material that can stop a bullet.
Bamboo leaves fabric blended with cotton make warm and cozy blankets
Bamboo leaves fiber make fluffy and comfy pillow stuffing
68. Sound screens
Bamboo leaves make ideal soundproofing material.
Starch from bamboo shoots is mixed with cornstarch and used to make bioplastics a biodegradable composite plastic.
Bamboo fibers mixed with organic resin are used to make bamboo composites used in the manufacture of many products.
Mattresses made from bamboo fibers are highly comfortable and durable
Baby dolls and other types of toys are made from bamboo leaves are durable, environmentally friendly, and nonpoisonous to children.
73. Baby Diapers
Disposable baby diapers are environmentally challenging, diapers made from bamboo fibers are healthy because of antibacterial properties, they are biodegradable and have a high absorption rate
74. Fish Traps
Dry bamboo leaves make natural ecofriendly fish traps.
Window blinds from woven bamboo leaves help keep the sun out and the room cool.
76. Table Mats
Woven bamboo tables are long-lasting and help protect the table’s wood from hot plates.
Bamboo fibers make high absorbent towels that are mild to the skin and protects against microbes.
78. Bed Sheets
Bedsheets from bamboo fiber which is dissolved in cellulose to produce viscose rayon that create soft cozy bed sheets.
Mizo bamboo hats or conical hats are made from dry-processed bamboo leaves
Bamboo viscose T-shirts have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that make them excellent wear for sportsmen and women, they protect against skin infections and irritation.
81. Bamboo Vests
Vests made from bamboo viscose rayon are strong and comfortable for health-conscious men.
Woven bamboo leaves make strong wicker chairs that are environmentally friendly durable and comfortable.
Tabletops crafted from bamboo leaves are highly sought after as collectors’ items.
Hammock swings made from bamboo leaves are eco-friendly strong and comfortable.
85. Interior Trim
Bamboo leaves are used in making interior car trims
Handcrafted bamboo leaves satchels are strong beautiful, durable and animal-friendly since they are not made from any animal’s skin.
Bamboo steamers are made from weaving bamboo baskets that are interlocked and stacked one on top of the other, with a lid at the top they are placed over a pot of boiling water and the steam helps cook the food placed inside.
88. Interior Design
Creative home decor incorporates bamboo leaves to create a natural earthy aesthetics.
Due to high levels of antibacterial and fungicidal properties, crushed bamboo leaves can be used as a sterilizer, to sterilize items or on hands.
90. Electromagnetic waves shield
Charcoal from bamboo plant and leaves has high absorption capabilities and can help prevent electric shocks and reduce dangerous exposure to electromagnetic waves.
Crushed bamboo leaves are fermented to create a biomass that can be gasified and used for cooking and heating at home or in small industries.
92. Bamboo food baskets
Bamboo leaves wicker baskets can be used to keep rice and other foods fresh.
93. Enhance sugar content in plants
When fruits are placed on dry bamboo leaves they enhance sugar content and help them to ripen faster.
Soaps made from bamboo leaves and sap in addition to having strong acids are medicinal and will neutralize strong alkalinity.
95. Floor Mats
Floor Mats woven from bamboo leaves have excellent thermal conductivity qualities and will help keep a house warm in winter and cool in summer.
96. Doors and Windows
Doors and windows made from bamboo leaves blend well with nature and help keep the house warm and comfortable.
97. Absorb Pollutants
Bamboo leaves absorb harmful pollutants from the environmental helping freshen the air.
Crushed Bamboo leaves biomass can be used for energy production.
99. Curing Influenza
The antimicrobial properties of Crushed bamboo leaves drank as juice can help cure influenza.
100. Helps Impart youthfulness and longevity
Drinking bamboo tea helps renew body cells and imparts youthfulness and longevity to body cells.
There are many other uses from the bamboo plant which are highly beneficial to humans and livestock alike. Bamboo leaves are used in industries, in the homes and are a high earning economic contributor. With all these uses, the bamboo plant is truly the world’s wonder grass.