Be Bamboozled By Bamboo
- What is so special about bamboo? - What benefits does bamboo have? - What can we do with bamboo?
-What is so special about bamboo you ask! Bamboos are evergreen perennial flowering plants from the grass family. They are the fastest growing plant in the world. Some varieties grow at a peak rate of 5cm ( 2 inches) per hour, more typical rates are 10cm per day. The tallest bamboo reaches 20 meters (over 60 feet). China has estimated 3oo species of bamboos, they have 36 bamboo forests, they cover 4-7 million hectares making up 3-5% of China forests. India is second to China in bamboo harvest, it has larger bamboo forests making up nearly 13% of the countries forest area. Bamboo also converts about 35% more CO2 into oxygen than a regular tree. Bamboo also has a huge array of uses which I will delve into further.
-Benefits of bamboo! Bamboo is used extensively in Asian cooking, especially Chinese food. The most edible part of the plant is the shoots which are found in many forms- fresh, canned, dried or frozen. Bamboo is also very nutritional and has many health benefits and medicinal uses. The shoots are a good source of dietary fiber. Fibre has many benefits some of which help to prevent diabetes and heart disease, it also relieves constipation. It contains potassium, protein, riboflavin, manganese, copper, zinc, and vitamin B. Bamboo shoots are low in cholesterol and fat making it a healthy herb. Bamboos antibacterial properties help in treating wounds and ulcers, the juice is particularly good for ulcers. In China, ingredients from black bamboo help treat kidney disease. Roots and leaves have also been used to treat venereal disease and cancer. Not all bamboo is edible but some species also produce beer, wine, vinegar, and tea. -Other uses for bamboo! It has been used in road reinforcement in India. Bridges have been built in China, capable of carrying trucks that weigh as much as 16tons. It is used to make clothes, t-shirts, socks, boxers, blankets, towels, sheets, pillows, mattresses and is called the new hemp. It is used to make jewelry, beds, tables, chairs, and rugs. Children's toys, nappies, cups, spoons, and ladles are also made. Bamboo is used to make musical instruments such as flutes, drums, digeridoos and even saxophones. Bamboo is a sustainable building material used to make panels for floorboards, fencing, farming tools, greenhouses, baskets, animal pens, water pipes, and waterwheels. Also bicycles, skateboards, surfboards, snowboards, baseball bats, ski poles and fishing rods. And still there's so much more, these are the reasons why bamboo is my favorite plant. Whats yours?
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