Bamboo might be thought of as an environmental healer.

Bamboo might be thought of as an environmental healer.

Did you know?

Bamboo is not afraid of scarred or deformed landscapes and it can be grown on damaged soil. Overgrazed by cows, sheep or goats? Plant some bamboo. It'll bring back the soil. It will produce a crop every single year. Just one 'clump' of bamboo can produce over 200 poles. If you harvest the bamboo with love and affection, the roots not only live, they sprout new shoots again and again. The topsoil stays intact and the land is happy.

Bamboo likes to dance. When earthquakes hit, bamboo buildings sway with the rhythm and remain intact while their wooden neighbors are shattered. Following an earthquake in 1992 in Limon, Costa Rica, for instance, virtually all the houses were destroyed except for the bamboo ones. In Costa Rica, 1000 houses are built annually from just 60 hectares of plantation. Keep in mind, the wood we usually use would take 500 hectares just to build the same number of houses.

Bamboo also makes great furniture and flooring.

Not only is bamboo the fastest growing plant, but it's strong. Bamboo is winning a lot of heavyweight titles. It's stronger than oak; it can kick oak's butt. It's the most durable hardwood. If you throw a little lamination on it, bamboo is almost as strong as soft steel. It can withstand 52,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.

But bamboo isn't just some tough, aggressive wood. Bamboo also has a softer side. Its shoots provide nutrition for millions worldwide. The Taiwanese, for example, eat 80,000 tons of bamboo shoots annually. The shoots also nourish lots of animals, including elephants and pandas.

Bamboo is also a healer and an entertainer. Tabasheer-the hardened secretion from bamboo-treats asthma and coughs. The root of the black bamboo treats kidney disease. Roots and leaves treat venereal diseases and cancer. Water from within the culm treats broken bones. Bamboo can be made into musical instruments. There are a million uses for bamboo. In China bamboo is known as 'a friend of the people.' Bamboo is our friend, too.

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