Written by: Renee Lindstrom
In 2012 my son and I received an offer to come by a clients and dig up some bamboo that was invading their driveway. After planting it the shoots all died back and I wondered if bamboo would ever grow. For two years it sat idle and it wasn’t until the third season it began to grow. It grew quickly and by the fourth it was filling in the spaces between plants. Now it is hardy with a steady growth of new stocks and leaves. It is strong and flexible.
Bamboo is the a fast growing woody plant that is considered a grass in the true grass family Poaceae. This family has over 10,000 species native to Asia and imported to North America as a decorative plant for landscaping.
Making Tea with Bamboo Leaves
There are a number of different types of bamboo leaves used for commercial tea processing. The Indocalamus Longiauritu pictured above is the bamboo that I have growing in my garden.
I have discovered the leaves of the Indocalamus Longiauritu were in a Chinese scientific study that suggests it has comparable components, biological activity and effective qualities to ginkgo leaves. The extract of the leaves was shown to have excellent resistance to radical, anti-oxidation, anti-aging, lowering of blood lipid and micro-circulation of blood cholesterol, dilated capillaries, clearing up, activation of the brain and memory, improve sleep, fight cancer, and had an effect of beautifying the skin.
These bamboo leaves contain a lot of flavone and lactone, chlorophyll, amino acids, polysaccharides, vitamins, trace elements and other nutrients. Active ingredients found are flavonoids compounds, biologically active polysaccharides and other phenolic acid derivatives, Anthraquinone compounds, amino acids and terpene Lactone, special active peptides, manganese, zinc, selenium and other trace elements.
They found it could efficiently regulate body fat, and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, improve immunity function.
In North America the Tea wholesalers suggest that Bamboo Leaf Tea has 10 times the amount of vegetable silica than horsetail. Horsetail has 5-8% vegetable silica versus the bamboo plant which is made up of 70% silica. Vegetable silica helps to fix calcium, so that the body can store more of this mineral and then use it to repair bones, collagen and other body tissues. Silica is water-soluble and so it is highest in the tea. If the body doesn’t use the silica it flushes it out of the body. Therefore drinking tea through the day is recommended.
A high silica content has shown to cut hair loss, increase growth and improve vitality.
Steps for preparing Bamboo leaves for Tea
- Pick new bamboo leaves
- Wash & drain leaves
- Dry fry in a pan until leaves start to turn brown
Preparing Bamboo Tea
- Gently bring dried bamboo leaves to a boil
- Reduce after a few minutes and steep to taste.
If you don’t have bamboo in your garden, get tea here:
30 Day Bamboo Leaf Tea Challenge
Bamboo as a Medicinal
Bamboo leaves have been used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years and in the Indian Ayurveda. They have used the Bamboo leaf extract and tea for detoxification of the body, to aid in digestion, in the treatment of blood diseases and inflammation, for protection against cancer and for improving sleep quality.
Bamboo is considered sweet, cooling, diuretic, febrifuge, expectorant and controls vomiting, stems bleeding and has been used for bacterial infections.