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Chemical constituents, Uses & Benefits of Bamboo

Image of Bamboo

Bamboo is best known for its hard stems (culms) that are used in place of wood for a variety of applications, including furniture, scaffolding, flutes, fence posts, flooring, and even bicycle frames. Bamboo is used in Chinese medicine for treating infections and healing. Early Chinese books were written on bamboo slats and bamboo has been used as a source of medicine since ancient times.

The shoots (new bamboo culms  that come out of the ground) of bamboo are edible. The Golden Bamboo Lemur ingests many times the quantity of toxin that would kill a human. The exudates of the bamboo is extracted from internodes of the stems. It is astringent, acrid, sweet, cooling, expectorant, constipating, cardiotonic, haemostatic, aphrodisiac and diuretic.

Plant Chemicals

  • (+)- Cellulose (41-44%), pentosans (21-23%), lignin (26-28%), ash (1.7-1.9%), silica (0.6-0.7%).
  • Per 100 g of young shoots for green stem cultivators contain water (90g), protein (2.6g), fat (4.1g), carbohydrates (0.4g), fiber (1.1g), calcium (22.8mg), phosphorus (37mg), iron (1.1mg) and ascorbic acid (3.1mg).
  • Per 100 g of young shoots for yellow stem cultivators contain water (88g), protein (1.8g), fat (7.2g), fiber (1.2g), calcium (28.6mg), phosphorus (27.5mg) and iron (1.4mg).

Uses and Benefits

  • The leaf sheaths of bamboo are urticant. They are used in food for criminal poisoning.
  • Bamboo extract is used to treat various inflammatory conditions.
  • Its sprouts are acrid, bitter and laxative and are helpful in inflammations, ulcers and wounds.
  • The bamboo resin (tabasheer, banshalochan) has astringent, acrid, sweet, cooling, expectorant, constipating, cardiotonic, haemostatic, aphrodisiac, and diuretic properties. It is used to treat infantile epilepsy.
  • Bamboo is used as an abortifacient for kidney troubles.

Caution

  • Bamboo should not be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women, unless so prescribed by their doctor.