- Medical facts about bamboo
Courtesy: S.S. Mani, Kalakad
The anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer bamboo
Thorny bamboo or the spiny bamboo is an important ayurvedic plant since almost all its parts are medically useful. Apart from its medicinal value, the very young shoots of this herb are pickled or made into curries in some parts of India and China. Stems of this plant produce good quality paper pulp. Leaves are used as fodder. The culms are strong and extensively used for building purposes.
Botanical name: Bambusa arundinacea
English name: Thorny bamboo
Hindi name: Bams, Kanta Bams
Bamboo is a tall thorny tree and grows upto 30 m in height.
Nodes: prominent, the lowest rooting, internodes up to 45 cm long.
Stem: Stem many, tufted on stout rootstock; sheath coriaceous, orange yellow streaked, glabrous beneath, base rounded ciliate, tip stiff.
Flower: Floral glumes 3-7 in number with upper most 1-3 male or neuter, lodicules 3, hyaline 1-3 nerved, ciliate.
Fruits: oblong grains, beaked by the style base, grooved on the side.
Parts used as medicine: Root, leaves, sprouts, grains and Bamboo manna
Bams has a sweet, astringent taste with cool, laxative, depurative, diuretic and tonic quality. It is especially useful in reducing vitiated conditions of Kapha and Pitta and is generally useful in conditions such as leprosy, skin diseases, burning sensation, discolorations, ring worms and general debility.
The leaves are sweet and astringent in taste and cool in action. They are useful in vitiated conditions of Pitta, ophthalmopathy, lumbago, piles, diarrhea, gonorrhea, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, wounds, skin diseases, and fever.
The sprouts are acrid, bitter in taste and laxative, carminative in action. It is useful in inflammation, ulcer, wounds, dyspepsia, nausea, intestinal worms, and flatulence.
The grains are acrid, sweet, aphrodisiac, thermogenic and tonic. They are useful in vitiated conditions of Kapha, intestinal worms and general debility.
The Bamboo manna is the siliceous secretion in the inner nodes of the stem. It usually occurs in fragments or masses, and is transparent or white in color. It is astringent, acrid, sweet, cooling, expectorant, constipating, cardio tonic, and tonic in quality. The manna is useful in vitiated conditions of Pitta and Kapha, vomiting, diarrhea, Hyperdipsia, burning sensation, leprosy, jaundice, cardiac diseases, bronchitis, cough, asthma, stomatitis, syphilis, fever, ophthalmia and general debility.
In traditional medicine, the sprouts of bams are made into a poultice and applied for dislodgement of worms from ulcers.
In general practice the leaf buds decoction is given after pregnancy to encourage the free discharge. The same decoction is also use ful in leprosy, fever and for children suffering from threadworms.
As a home remedy, the young sprouts are pickled and served to improve digestion and appetite.
In Unani medicine, the roots are burnt and applied locally to ringworm infections.
An infusion made from leaves is used as an eye wash and the juice of flowers is dropped in the ear for earache and to treat deafness.
The manna is a good recipe for asthma, snakebite, and all degenerative diseases.
Seeds and tender shoots are given with milk to improve the male regenerative system and for general debility.
In Indian traditional medicine, the decoction of roots is given as antidote for arka (Calotropis procera) poisoning.
Side effects: No evidence of toxicity or side effects found in Bambusa arundinacea ayurvedic preparations. However, young roots of the plant are highly toxic if they are not cooked properly before consumption.
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