Photo: sizumaru

The needle in Alexander Graham Bell’s first phonograph was made of it and Thomas Edison used it as a filament for his glass bulb. We’re talking about bamboo.

HERE’S A LOOK AT 15 interesting uses of the bamboo plant:

1. Bamboo is used for building roads.

Bamboo is being used in road reinforcements in Orissa, India. Bamboo bridges have also been built in China, capable of supporting trucks that weigh as much as 16 tons.

2. Bamboo is used for medicinal purposes.

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 culm (the side branches) is used to treat diseases of the bone effectively.

3. Bamboo is used to promote fertility in cows.

I must admit, I was pretty shocked to read about this one. Perhaps it has human applications, too?

4. Bamboo is used to build houses and schools.

Just check out the Green School in Bali.

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.

5. Bamboo is used to make clothes.

Bamboo– it’s the new hemp. T-shirts, socks, robes, boxers… your wardrobe can become entirely organic and sustainable.

6. Bamboo is used to make accessories.

Why stop with the clothes? Bamboo is also used to make necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other types of jewelry.

7. Bamboo is used to feed people and animals.

Bamboo 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. Bamboo leaves and shoots are also the staple diet of pandas and elephants.

8. Bamboo is used for scaffolding.

Photo: liangjinjian

Bamboo is often used for scaffolding because it proves to be an eco-friendly and cost-effective resource. In Hong Kong, bamboo scaffolding is preferred over metal scaffolding because of its easy availability and because it is cheaper.

9. Bamboo is used to make furniture.

Beautiful and intricately crafted beds, chairs and tables are made from bamboo.

10. Bamboo is used to make rugs.

Exotic woods like the mango are often used in Oriental rugs. Buying a bamboo rug will ensure that you save a tree.

11. Bamboo is used to make diapers.

For those of you who think that going green should start from infancy, wearing diapers made from bamboo cloth is an option. According to Japanese scientists, bamboo cloth can retain its antibacterial quality even after 50 washings.

12. Bamboo is used to make toys.

Growing up, I only had bamboo toys. My parents did not encourage me to play with plastic dolls- and gifts made from plastic were all put away. It was a clear signal from my environmentally conscious parents.

13. Bamboo is used to make durable utensils.

Cups and saucers, spoons and ladles can all be made from bamboo.

14. Bamboo is used to make beer!

If you haven’t tried it yet, I can vouch for the fact that bamboo beer tastes absolutely fabulous. Do go try it.

15. Bamboo is used to make musical instruments.

Flutes, drums, digeridoos, even saxophones– bamboo is versatile when it comes to making instruments.

Community Connection:

Bamboo’s also a way for impoverished communities to become economically self-sufficient. Read about Bamboo House India in this article.

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