Bamboo (Bambusa bambos) Uses, Research, Medicines, Side Effects

Vamsha – Bambusa arundinacea is a plant mentioned in Ayurveda for the treatment of cough, skin diseases, wounds, digestive disorders, nausea, gynecological disorders and fever. 

Latin name – Bambusa arundinacea Willd., Bambusa bambos
Family name – Graminae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name – Bans, Kattang, Tabasheer
English name – Bamboo, Katanga Bamboo, Spiny Bamboo,
Assamese name – Bnah
Bengali name – Bans, Behar
Gujarati name – Wans
Kannada name – Biduru, Andebidiru
Malayalam name – Mungil, Illi, Mulla
Oriya name – Bendu
Tamil name – Mungil, Mukku Mungil
Telugu name – Mullabongu, Mullavendru
Marathi name – Bambu
Punjabi name – Magar Bans
Jammu name – Lamberi
Uttar Pradesh name – Kanwas

Sanskrit synonyms

Sanskrit Synonyms of Bambusa bambos:
Vansharocana – Which improves taste and removes bad smell
Tuga – It destroys laghutva
Shubha – It is having good qualities
Yavaphala – fruits resemble barley
Tvakkshiri – It’s latex looks like milk. From this synonym of Tvak ksheeri, other synonyms like Tavaksheeri and Tabasheer, Tavasheer are derived.
Vanshakarpura – It looks like karpura
Truna Dhwaja, Trunadvaja – Superior among all the grasses
Shataparva – 100 or more than 100 leaves are present
Yavaphala – Fruits are yava shaped
Keecaka, Maskara, Suparva, Venu, Trinaketu, Shabdamala, Tvaksara, Karmara , Tvacisara, Tejana, Baddha Dalaya, Karmuka
Shataparva, Shabdamala, Karmara, Tvachisaraka, Keechaka,

Properties, part used, dosage

Medicinal Properties of Bans tree:
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet) Kashaya (Astringent)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Dry), Teekshna (Pungent in nature)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphapitta shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and pitta dosha)

Part used – Root, Dried resin, Tender shoot
Dosage of Tabasheer –
Powder – 1 to 3 g
Decoction – 50 to 100 ml

Uses of Vamsha

  • The root of bamboo is made into paste and applied over the area affected with eczema, dark discoloration.
  • The tender shoots of the bamboo is also made into paste and applied over the area affected with ringworm, discoloration of the skin etc.
  • The dried resin called as ‘Vamshalochana’ is made into powder and mixed with honey and given to treat cough, cold and fever.
  • Vamshalochana is taken in a dose of 3 – 5 g and mixed with hot water or buttermilk and given to treat indigestion, diarrhea and nausea.
  • Paste of Bamboo shoot or tender buds is made into paste and applied over wounds as part of treatment.
  • Decoction of the leaves is given in a dose of 40 – 50 ml to treat dysmenorrhea, pain in abdomen during menstruation and to strengthen the uterine muscles after delivery.
  • Decoction of the root is given in a dose of 40 – 50 ml to treat adverse effect due to dog bite and scorpion bite.
  • In case of diabetes, the seed of bamboo is made into edible food and given as regular diet.
  • The decoction of the tender leaves of bamboo is given in a dose of 40 – 50 ml to treat intestinal worm infestation.
  • Charaka ->Eatables prepared from bamboo seed eaten by asses, horses, cows, swans and deer and collected from their dung should be given to the patient suffering from Prameha
    If there is pain in piles, then it should be well smeared with medicated oil and the patient should be given, bath with the help of water prepared by above mentioned drugs.
  • Sushruta – Ras kriya preparation prepared with the root of bamboo vartis prepared with the same of it, cooking it in a vessel, should be used for Anjana.

Sanskrit verse

Traditional description, Indications

Traditional description of VamshaLochana:
Qualities:
Sheetala – coolant
Swadu – sweet taste
Kashaya – astringent
Katu –pungent, spicy
Tikta – bitter
Vastishodhana – cleanses bladder
Chedana – breaks down into small pieces (of phlegm, tumors etc)
Balances Kapha and Pitta

Indications:
Pittasra – Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Kushta – skin diseases
Shopha  – inflammation
Vrana – Ulcers, wounds
Mutrakrichra –Dysuria, urinary retention
Prameha – Urinary tract disorders, diabetes
Arsha – haemorrhoids
Daha –  burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc
Asra – blood disorders such as abscess, skin disorders, bleeding disorders such as menorrhagia, nasal bleeding etc.
Shopha  – inflammation

Bamboo seeds

Sara – induces mobility, causes diarrhea, purgation, relieves constipation
Rooksha – dry
Kashaya – astringent
Katu –pungent, spicy
Increases Pitta and Vata
Diuretic
Kaphahara – balances Kapha, useful in productive cough, asthma, bronchitis, chest congestion

Kareera

Kareera – the tip part of bamboo / Bamboo sprout:
Katu –pungent, spicy
Rooksha – dry

Guru – heavy to digest
Sara – induces mobility, causes diarrhea, purgation, relieves constipation
Increases Kapha
Vidahi – causes burning sensation

Bamboo shoot as per Bhojana Kutuhalam

According to Bhojana Kutuhalam 13th chapter, The bamboo shoot causes bloating of abdomen and is astringent, sweet and bitter in taste. The bamboo shoot is also pungent, bitter, sour, astringent in taste and cold in potency. It treats vitiation of pitta and raktha, relieves burning sensation, painful micturition and imparts taste and its knots have no medical properties.

Adverse effect

No adverse effect is known or reported after the normal use of Vamsha.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines containing Vamsha:
Pugakanda: It is a medicine in granule form, used in the treatment of vomitting, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, gastritis, bleeding diseases, anemia and constipation.
Bangshil tablet: It is a proprietary ayurvedic medicine used for the treatment of urinary tract diseases.

Maha tarunark rasa: It is a medicine which is useful to treat all types of fever and improves appetite.
Drakshavaleha: It is a medicine used for the treatment of jaundice, anemia, hepatitis and chronic hepatic disorders.

Vimfix tablet: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine useful to improve the vitality, vigor and improve the sperm count.
Dadimashtaka choorna: It is a powder used for gastro intestinal complaints like diarrhea, indigestion etc.

Sitopaladi choorna: It is a medicine used for the treatment of cough, asthma, fever, burning sensation of the sole of feet etc.

Tabasheer (bamboo) for cattle –
In North America, bamboo leaves are used as a cattle feed. Helps in easy digestion and provides energy.

Research

Research articles related to Bambusa arundinacea:
Anti – oxidant action: Aim of the study is to evaluate the total antioxidant capacity and antibacterial activityof leaf extracts of Bambusa arundinacea (Retz.) Willd. Bambusa arundinacea leaves were collected, powdered and extracted with hexane, ethyl acetate, ethanol and hydroalcohol (70% ethanol) separately. The extracts were screened for their antibacterial activity by agar well diffusion method and antioxidant activity by hydroxyl radical scavenging activity, ferric thiocyanate method and DPPH assay. The results revealed significant activity for hydroalcohol and ethanol extracts.

Anti – diabetic activity: In the present study, an attempt was made to investigate the anti – diabetic activity of Bambusa Arundinacea. Leaves extracts in different dosages (200, 500 and 600 mg/kg b.w.) in alloxan induced diabetic albino rats. The drug was administered orally for 20 days in different groups of animal, with each group containing 6 animals. The efficacy of this drug was compared with the diabetic rats. The blood glucose level of different groups was studied. Our study clearly showed that significant (P < 0.05) anti – diabetic activity in diabetic animals.

Analgesic and Anti – pyretic activity: The aim of this study is to find the analgesic and antipyretic activities of ethanolic extract of Bambusa arundinacea leaves (EEBA) in rats by using models tail immersion test, hot plate test and brewer’s yeast pyrexia model. Analgesic activity of the ethanolic extract of B. arundinacea leaves at a dose of 100mg/kg b.w., p.o. and 200mg/kg b.w., p.o. were evaluated against the standard drug Diclofenac sodium at a dose of 10mg/kg b.w., i.p. by tail immersion test and hot plate test. Preliminary phytochemical investigations showed the presence of flavonoids, alkaloids, steroids, carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids, tannins and phenolic compounds as major secondary metabolites. The results showed that in tail immersion and hot plate test, EEBA has shown significant (P < 0.05) increase in the latency period at both high and low doses indicating analgesic activity. EEBA (100 mg/kg and 200 mg/kg) also significantly (P < 0.0001) reduced brewer’s yeast induced pyrexia in rats.

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of Bambusa arundinacea
The leaves contains, crude protein, crude fiber, 1.75% calcium, phosphorus,170 mg / 100g on dry matter basis.The seeds contains, protein, fiber, carbohydrates & minerals, calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. The root contains cyanogenic glucoside and albuminoids

Classical categorization

Bhavaprakasha – Haritakyadi and Guducyadi varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu – Shatapushpadi varga
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu – Oushadi varga
Raja Nighantu – Mulakadi and Pippalyadi varga

Text references

Vamsa is the very ancient plant mentioned in Rigveda for the first time.
Charaka has also mentioned about vansa in the context of Arsas and also in the context of prameha (charak. ci. 6/45)
Shushruth mentioned this vamsa in the context of Raktaabisyanda in Sushruta uttara tantra 12/45

Morphology

Morphology of Bambusa arundinacea:
Bamboo is a type of fast growing grass which can grow to a height of 15 to 30 meters. The stem is hollow inside and outside with green to brown color. The stems have nodules in it. The leaf like structures is green in color with small hair like structures. The flowers in bamboo are seen during the end stage of its life. The flowers are seen in clusters. The fruits resemble barley. About 30 – 35 varieties of Bamboos are known worldwide and in India Bamboo is seen in South and Eastern India.

Adulterants and substitutes

Adulterant->Synthetic vansarocana
Substitute->Arrow root, Tavaksheeri

Bamboo shoots

Bamboo shoots, raw

Taste – sweet, astringent
Properties – light, dry, sharp, piercing
Potency – cold
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka )   – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata neutral
Pitta balancing
Kapha balancing

Bamboo shoots, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt

Taste – sweet, astringent
Properties – light, dry, sharp, pirecing (more light due to boiling)
Potency – cold
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka )   – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing (raw bamboo shoot is Vata neutral, but increased lightness on cooking makes it vata balancing)
Pitta balancing
Kapha balancing (more Kapha balancing than raw bamboo shoots due to increases lightness)

Bamboo shoots, canned, drained solids

Taste – sweet, astringent
Properties – light, dry, sharp, piercing (more light than raw bamboo shoots as canning makes use of hot water)
Potency – cold
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka )   – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing (as it is lighter than raw bamboo shoot)
Pitta balancing
Kapha balancing

Bamboo shoots, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt

Rasa – sweet, astringent, slightly salty
Guna – light, dry, sharp, piercing (more light due to boiling)
Veerya – not very cold (salt is hot in potency)
Vipaka – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing (raw bamboo shoot is Vata neutral, but increased lightness on cooking makes it vata balancing)
Pitta nourishing (as salt is Pittakara)
Kapha balancing (more Kapha balancing than raw bamboo shoots due to increases lightness)

Author:  Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

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