Perennial tree, up to 100 ft (30 m), with multiple stems from its base. Has narrow pointed leaves and long loose clusters of yellow to yellowish-green flowers.
Habitat & Cultivation
Found throughout tropical Asia, especially in India and China, spiny bamboo thrives up to 6,900 ft (2,100 m) above sea level.
Root, leaves, sprouts.
Spiny bamboo juice contains high levels of silica.
History & Folklore
Spiny bamboo is arguably the most useful plant on earth, being used to make scaffolding, rafts, furniture, paper, and dozens of other items. It also has an important role to play in herbal medicine.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Various parts of spiny bamboo are used in Indian and Ayurvedic medicine. The root is considered astringent and cooling, and is used to treat joint pain and general debility. The leaves are used to stimulate menstruation, and, being antispasmodic, to help relieve period pain. They are also taken to tone and strengthen stomach function and to expel worms.
They are reputed to be aphrodisiac. The young sprouts are eaten to relieve nausea, indigestion, and gas, and a poultice of the sprouts is applied to help drain wounds that have become infected. The juice is rich in silica, and aids in the strengthening of cartilage in conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
In Chinese herbal medicine, the juice and shavings of the black bamboo (B. breviflora) are prescribed to counter “excess heat,” coughs, and a congested chest. Its roots are used as a diuretic and to treat fevers.