Bamboo is a fascinating plant. Some people only know it as nutrition Pandas love to snack on, but in reality the plant has a variety of practical uses that humans have leveraged for thousands of years. Not only is Bamboo a multi-practical plant, it is also an extremely sustainable one that is good for our planet. Did you know that bamboo is one of the fastest growing natural resources on the planet (it can grow up to one yard per day). While bamboo uses only 12 gallons of water to produce one pound of fabric, cotton requires over 200 times more. Also, bamboo does not require replanting after harvesting because its vast root network continually sprouts new stems. The roots pull in sunlight and greenhouse gases and convert them into new green growth. Bamboo grows without the the need for petroleum-guzzling tractors and poisonous pesticides and fertilizers and in fact when Japan’s Hiroshima was bombed, Bamboo was the first plant to grow back, bringing green back to the land. With all the amazing benefits that come from this plant, here are some of the ways it can be put to work.
1. Building roads
While Bamboo is used in road construction all over the world, you are more likely to see bamboo weaved into roads in places like India and China. Bamboo bridges have been built in China capable of supporting trucks that weigh as much as 16 tons. Bridges and roads built from bamboo instead of steel provide a cheaper, more environmentally sustainable engineering solution.
Bamboo rugs actually add a beautiful element to your home decor and can provide many practical benefits. Using them in your main entrance can help prevent dirt from being tracked into your home. Bamboo rugs also bring natural warmth to your house and are very easy to clean. Not only are bamboo rugs are smart choice, but they also add a great conversational piece to your home.
3. Nutritional / medicinal purposes
Bamboo is used extensively in Asian cooking for its medicinal purposes. The most edible part of the plant is the shoots which can be found in markets in various forms including canned, dried, and frozen. Bamboo leaves have antioxidant properties, have a low calorie count, are high in dietary fiber and are healthy for the skin. Medicinal uses include helping women regulate their menstrual cycle, easing labor pain in late stages of pregnancy, treating wounds and ulcers, curing stomach symptoms like indigestion and diarrhea, control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and much, much more.
Sounds like a miracle plant if you ask me!
Bamboo has often been used to construct weapons and is still incorporated in several Asian martial arts. Bamboo is naturally suited to blow guns, as you’d often see in movies. Bamboo is used as a staff with one end sharpened off in the martial art of silambam. Bamboo can also be turned into swords, bows and the first gunpowder-based weapons. The light weight of the plant is what makes it so favourable in the use of weaponry.
5. Musical Instruments
If you’ve ever held a piece of bamboo before, you know that the insides are completely hollowed out. If you have a musical inclination, you were surely tempted to use the bamboo staff as an instrument, blowing through the ends. The most common bamboo instrument is (obviously) the flute but it can be made into other instruments as well including slit drums, guitars, and ukuleles.
No this is not made up, bamboo beer really exists! And it’s not some special alcoholic drink for Pandas celebrating their birthdays. Bamboo breweries harness the plant, more specifically, the leaves, to create a sweet and refreshing taste.
7. Houses and Schools
According to UNESCO, 70 hectares of bamboo produce enough of the material to build 1000 bamboo houses. If timber was used instead, it would require the felling of trees from an already diminishing forest. Today, over one billion people in the world live in bamboo houses. There are also places in Bali, Indonesia and other parts of Asia that offer hotels made entirely of bamboo creating a pretty unique experience.
As durable as bamboo is, it can actually be woven into one of the most soft, comfortable fabrics on earth. Bamboo bedding is often compared to silk because of it’s soft and cozy feel. At Kyoto Threads, we’re actually leveraging the sustainability of bamboo to create one of the most innovative bed sheets on the planet. Check us out now, live on Kickstarter!