Bamboo is the hard woody stems of bamboo plants. Bamboo cups were used in cupping therapy or the "horn method" in ancient China. Today, the Chinese still use cupping therapy to stimulate circulation through the tissues, manage pain and enhance healing.
In China, people identify bamboo as a symbol of desirable personality characteristics: it represents elasticity, endurance and perseverance. The stem bends and does not break.
In folk medicine, the leaves have been used to treat blood diseases and inflammation. Tabashir, which can be found as a hardened material inside bamboo, has been used for tuberculosis, asthma and leprosy. In Chinese diet therapy, a soup of bamboo shoots and carp is used to treat measles. The tips of the branches have been used in India for uterine disorders. The shoots are said to be an appetite stimulant and digestion aid. The root has been used for ringworm. The juice from the flowers has been used for earache and deafness.
Cane and bamboo may be alternative basic construction materials for orthotic and prosthetic appliances. Bamboo night splints and upper limb splints are believed to be effective, and bamboo walkers, crutches and wheelchairs are remarkably useful, inexpensive and lightweight.
Bamboo shoots may have some anti-thyroidal effects, anti-oxidant activity and pro-oxidant activity. Bamboo may be an alternative bone substitute, although study is lacking in this area. At this time, there are no human trials supporting the effects of bamboo for any indication.

Related Terms

Arrow bamboo, Arundinaria japonica, bambusa, Dendrocalamus, Fargesia, Himalayacalamus, Indocalamus, Otatea, Phyllostachys edulis, Pleioblastus, Pseudosasa japonica, Sasaella, Sasa japonica, Semiarundinaria, Shibatea, Thamnocallamus.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.