The strongest woody grass on earth is considered multipurpose plant that no other plant can rival the utility of it - is Bamboo. It has woody and usually hollow stems with distinct nodes and inter-nodes , rhizomes and branches.
Bamboo tree is believed to be the most primitive tree due to its long valuable history. It is a plant found almost everywhere and is known for its rapid growth. They 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 comprises of 1200 species and approximately 90 genera.This amazing plant grows in tropical and temperate environments and is very hardy, not needing pesticides or herbicides to grow well. 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.
Some facts about the sustainability of bamboo are:
- It is grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers
- It requires no irrigation
- It rarely needs replanting
- It grows rapidly and can be harvested in 3-5 years
- It produces 35% more oxygen that an equivalent stand of trees
- It sequesters carbon dioxide and is carbon neutral
- It is a critical element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
- It is an excellent soil erosion inhibitor
- It grows in a wide range of environments
- It’s production into fibers has lower environmental impact than other forms of fiber, especially synthetic ones.
The uses of bamboo
Bamboo has spurred worldwide attention as a versatile plant with multifarious uses. Its uses ranged from subsistence to commercial food (young shoots) , to building and furniture and more. It offers vital economic and ecological benefits to many people in the world.
Bamboo is useful for various applications at different ages :
<30 days - good for eating
6-9 months - for making baskets
2-3 years - for bamboo boards or lamination
3-6 years - for construction
>6 years - bamboo gradually loses strength up to 12 years old
Shoots are used mainly in Asian food preparations. In Japan, the antioxidant properties of the bamboo skin prevent bacterial growth, and are used as natural food preservatives.
Beside bamboo tree is not only the food supplies for us but also for some animals such as panda and red panda.
In China, ingredients from the black bamboo shoot help treat kidney diseases. Roots and leaves have also been used to treat venereal diseases and cancer. According to reports in a small village in Indonesia, water from the stem (the side branches) is used to treat diseases of the bone effectively.
Fabrics and clothing
A fabulous trend right now is bamboo fibers being used in fabrics and clothing. Bedding made of bamboo fibers is as soft as or softer than most cotton bedding, and drapes with the look of silk without the expense. It is becoming a mainstream trend to have bamboo fabric products or clothing, populating many major chain retail stores.
Charcoal made from this amazing plant has been used for centuries as cooking fuel in China and Japan. The Bamboo vinegar or pyroligneous acid is extracted when making charcoal and is used for hundreds of treatments in almost all fields.
Bamboo is used extensively throughout the world as an inexpensive, plentiful and sustainable material in a variety construction projects and scaffolding is no exception. The strength and durability of the plant easily bears the weight of workers, their tools and other materials.
Bamboo has incredible tensile strength, meaning that it can withstand significant amounts of stress and is comparable to steel’s tensile strength. While the use of a natural material to aid in the construction of large-scale construction projects throughout the world may seem strange, one only has to look as far as China, where bamboo is used in much the same capacity as steel is in North America.
Health and Beauty Products
Many ingredients used in beauty products can be intimidating (such as placenta), but those concerned with simple aesthetics can forgo the disturbing in favor of skin exfoliants made from bamboo charcoal. When heated, bamboo charcoal is made into a medicinal vinegar, used in places like Japan to treat minor skin conditions like eczema.
Bamboo products like this are also known for anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
When bamboo tree plays a significant role in other aspect of human's life, many designers came up with the idea taking this certain plant as an fascinating inspiration into fashion era. It is used to make necklaces, earrings, watches, glasses and other types of jewellery.
More and more furniture, flooring, and even homes are being built with bamboo. Whether people like the look of the bamboo, or the way it holds up, it is becoming a more popular building material that many people are recognizing. The smooth floors hold up well in kitchens and other rooms, and the furniture, bound attractively with rattan or leather, gives any room a modern look.
Hollow tubes make excellent instruments, whether it is a flute or a drum, and bamboo is one of the best bases for instruments. The light, durable quality of the bamboo is coupled with its musical potential, and creates some of the most beautiful sounds that music has ever heard.
Of course, these aren’t all the uses for bamboo. There are many other types of products that can be made of bamboo, and all are coming back into their own as bamboo continues to grow more popular in the main stream economy. More and more essential utilities can be listed depends on the creation of humans.