Bamboo is a perennial tree that grows up to a height of 12 meters with its trunk 8 to 15 cm in diameter. Bamboo trees are always found in clusters. The stem of the tree is round, smooth and hollow. Nodes are swollen. The tree has no branches but, the lower portions, that is, three-fourths of the tree, have more spines between each node. It has simple, shiny, thin, stiff, smooth and dark green leaves. Flowers are found in bunch and seeds resemble the corn of wheat, in shape.
Bamboo contains moisture 88.8 percent, protein 3.9 percent, fat 0.5 percent, minerals 1.1 percent and carbohydrates 5.7 percent per 100 grams of its edible portion. Calcium, iron, phosphorous, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C are amongst its vitamin and minerals.
Bamboo leaves are a rich source of hydrocyanic and benzoic acids. Tender bamboo-shoots contain various enzymes such as nuclease, deamidase, proteolytic enzyme, amylase, amigdalin splitting and silicon splitting enzymes. Besides, the juice of the pressed bamboo-shoots possesses protease activity which helps digestion of protein.
Botanical Name- Bambusa bambos
Indian Name- Bans
Below are some of the medicinal properties of bamboo:
- Bamboo leaves are beneficial in the treatment of stomach disorders. They are useful in strengthening the stomach and promoting its action. The young shoots of the tree are also useful in stomach disorders. Pickled or cooked, they are serving as an appetizer. In many parts of India, the leaves of the tree are used in the form of decoction to treat diarrhea.
- The tender shoots are useful in the treatment of respiratory diseases. Decoction of the shoots should be taken with a tablespoon of honey once or twice daily.
- The leaves of bamboo are also useful in killing intestinal worms, especially threadworms. They should be taken in the form of decoction.
- A decoction of the leaves as an emmanagouge would stimulate menstruation. It promotes and regulates the menstrual periods. A decoction of the nodes of the bamboo stem is also useful for this purpose.
- A poultice of the tender shoots is used for cleaning wounds and maggot-infested sores. Decoction or juice of the fresh bamboo leaves is applied as a medicine in such ulcers. Dosage- The juice of 35 grams of fresh leaves may be taken twice daily either alone or mixed with any other juice. The decoction extracted from 70 grams of leaves may be used by itself. About 120 ml of the juice extracted from very tender shoots may be taken twice daily.
The leaves of bamboo tree are stimulant, aromatic and tonic. They are useful in counteracting spasmodic disorders and arrest secretion or bleeding. They are also an effective aphrodisiac. Bamboo shoots are used as food in various ways. They are used in preparation such as bamboo candy, bamboo chutney and canning of bamboo in syrups.