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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

Bamboo, BlackBamboo, DwarfBamboo FernBamboo, MosoBamboo PalmBamboo, Timber

Most of these are true Bamboos, but to simplify the situation, some from the fern and palm families have been included due to their common names and similar uses.

aka Partridge cane
(Phyllostachys nigra)

CONTAINS: Silicone and potassuim hydroxide.

Bamboos have a wider range of uses than most plants and are of great economic importance in Asia. Stems are especially strong with their high silica content. Young shoots of many species are edible and are canned for export.
The first mention of medicinal applications was circa 500 a.d. and describes the use of bamboo sap (zhu li) and the stem shavings (zhu ru). A silica-like substance called tabisheer (tian zhu huang) is used in a manner similar to the dried sap. It occurs inside the lower internodes in fragile chunks.
Black Bamboo is native to China, but has long been cultivated in Japan as well as Europe and elsewhere. The genus name is Greek for 'leaf-spike'. The 3 cm diameter stem is green at first, slowly turning brown, then purple-black. The joints of the stem are prominent, being blackish on the upper rim and white on the lower.
In Korea, the variety grown is P. henonis 'Staph ex Rendle'. It is used to prevent excessive salivation, pulmonary atrophy, hemoptysis, other respiratory diseases and acute infections.

PROPAGATION: By division in spring during a rainy spell or by cuttings of young rhizomes in late winter.
NEEDS: Some bamboos can be very invasive. Grown as an ornamental and attains a height of from 3 to 10 meters. Requires moist soil in a sunny, sheltered spot and periodic applications of manure. Keep the dead stems removed. Thin in spring to leave the strongest stems.
HARVEST: The leaves during the growing season, the young stems (for shavings) in summer, the roots in winter. All are dried for use in decoctions. The sap is pressed from the young stems and evaporated.


Sweet, cooling, diuretic, febrifuge, expectorant, controls vomiting, stems bleeding and has been used for bacterial infections.
Has been used to treat lung inflammations and phlegm that is difficult to expectorate. Also used for spasms, convulsions caused by phlegm and heat, strokes with phlegm obstructing breathing passages and childhood convulsions.
A primary use has been to treat coughs and mucous in children.
Leaf is considered antipyretic and diuretic and has been used for chest and head colds, pharyngitis and stomatitis with action being to encourage the flow of urine and suppression of fever.
The juice of the stem is considered antipyretic, antitussive, expectorant and sedative and has been used for bronchial, cartarrhal and cerebral infections.
Stem shavings and sap have been used internally for lung infections with cough and phlegm. They are also considered sedative and antipyretic. The stem bark is considered to be an epidermis anti-emetic.
Leaves and stem shavings have been used for vomiting and nosebleeds.
Leaves and roots have been used for fevers, especially in babies, and for convulvsions.
The roots check blood flow and restrict secretions of bodily fluids. They are astringent, antipyretic, diuretic and styptic. They are used in decoction form for anxiety, fever, sleeping problems and general restlessness. The roots have also been used for rabies.
Tabisheer is considered a specific anti-inflammatory and tonic for the lungs.
In the Ayurvedic system of herbalism it is considered a tonic. Sitopaladi churni is used for treatment and prevention of colds, coughs, bronchitis and asthma. It is made by combining 1 part cinnamon, 2 parts cardamom, 4 parts black pepper, 8 parts bamboo tabisheer (powdered), 16 parts raw sugar. All are ground together into a powder. The DOSE is 3 to 12 grams.

(Lophatheri gracilis)
No Image Available

CONTAINS: Cyrilindrin, arundoin, taraxerol, friedelin.

PART USED: Stems and leaves.

Sweet, bland, cool, alterative, diuretic, antipyretic. Affects heart, stomach and bladder.
Has been used to treat urinary infections with scanty urine output.
Has been used for mouth and gum sores, inflammations and irritability.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
6 to 9 gms

(Coniogramme japonica)
[san xue lian]

A fern rather than a bamboo. The rhizome or whole plant has been decocted and/or mixed with wine for abcesses, amenorrhea, aching bones, bloodshot eyes, mastitis, and myalgia.

(Phyllostachys pubescens)
[máo sun]
image 1 image 2

CONTAINS: Protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, ash, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, b-carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid.

Leaf has been used for arthritis.
Stem sheaths have been used for nausea and sour stomach.

aka China cane, Lady palm, Miniature fan-palm, Partridge caneSlender lady palm
(Rhapsis excelsa)

A palm rather than a bamboo, it is a common pot plant. Native to China, but is grown world-wide as an ornamental. It grows in clumps of 4 palms. The leaves are palmate (5 to 10 or more segments).

PART USED: Leaf stalk, bark, fruit.

Bark has been used as a styptic to stop bleeding.
The roots have been used to stimulate blood circulation and treat rheumatism.

(Phyllostachys bambusoides)
[ban zhu gen]
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The leaf has been used as an antipyretic. The stem (new shoots) have been used for hematuria.

©2000 & 2006 by Ernestina Parziale, CH