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A Plant for All Seasons

By Kim FerrerJanuary 21, 2018

BAMBOO IS ONE of the most readily-available plants in the world. It’s easy to grow and can be found almost anywhere. Despite its availability and several uses, it remains to be one of the most underrated and underutilized resources that we have today.

The humble bamboo has numerous uses: It is a friend of the environment and can be used for many surprising items that can be used for both commercial and home use. Just like its flexible features, there are a lot of things that one can make out from a bamboo — from food and medicine, to furniture and clothing. Here are other surprising things that bamboo can turn into:

 

Bamboo cups for ventosa

Ventosa or cupping therapy is practiced since ancient times but is still popular nowadays in spas as it can relieve stress and pains. It is a deep-tissue massage that uses cups made out of glass, earthenware, and bamboo. This therapy is believed to help blood circulation, to relieve pain and to ease anxiety and depression.  The process of the ancient art of cupping begins by putting a flammable substance, like cotton soaked in alcohol, in a cup and setting it on fire.

When the fire is out, the cups will be placed upside down on the skin, drawing that targeted area of the skin creating a vacuum. The cup stays in place for five to 15 minutes. Several institutions in the country like Brookshire Traditional Medicine Department in Davao City offers Ventosa, but unlike other wellness centers, they use bamboo instead of glass which is more traditional, light, break-resistant, and suitable for boiling.

 

Eco-friendly and anti-bacterial textiles

To create textile out of bamboo, its leaves and the soft pith in its stalk are extracted and crushed. After several filtrations, it turns to a smooth liquid then squirted into tiny holes creating threads. The threads will be woven which now is the textile product. It’s an eco-friendly alternative to cotton because growing bamboo doesn’t require a huge amount of water unlike cotton. Aside from being a renewable and sustainable material, bamboo has a “bamboo kun” which is a unique bacteriostasis bio-agent making its fabric anti-bacterial and resistant to odors.

 

Bamboo as Roads and Bridges

Aside from its flexible characteristic, bamboo is also durable and China can attest to that. A 10-meterlong bridge was built in Hunan Province which can carry the weight of a 16-ton truck. In a study conducted by the contractor, bamboo has greater tensile strength (its capacity to resist when pulled apart) compared to concrete.

Aside from being a sustainable material in making roads, it’s also eco-friendly because unlike cement, bamboo does not release greenhouse carbon dioxide.