Bamboo in Chinese Medicine

Bamboo has been used for centuries as a staple of Chinese medicine.  The largest bamboo forests in the world are located in this eastern Asian country, and have been harvested incessantly for centuries, much of which goes to support herbal medicines.  It is interesting to note that these Chinese bamboo forests, which are the largest in the world, remain the largest in the world in spite of constant harvesting because bamboo grows so quickly – it is the fastest growing plant in the world, and in some cases has been recorded to grow more than 24 inches in a 24 hour period.  For more information on the characteristics of bamboo, visit either or

  • Zhuru – Bamboo Shavings

Bamboo shavings are used primarily to eliminate cold and flu-like symptoms.  The shavings of the bamboo come from below the outermost layer of cellulose.  The outer surface of the bamboo is first shaved off, and then the central layer of the bamboo shoot is shaved into thin slices that are very long.  These shavings that taste very sweet are then ingested to fight such symptoms as nasal congestion, fevers, vomiting, convulsions, and bleeding due to heat.



  • Tianzhuhuang – Bamboo Sap

In India this type of medicine is also known as tabashir.  Just like the zhuru, or bamboo shavings, the tianzhuhuang is sweet to the taste.  The bamboo sap is taken from the joints of the bamboo shoot, as well as from surface injuries.  These surface injuries are caused by parasitic wasps (all plants send sap to an area that has been irritated).  The tianzhuhuang is made from the sap that is dried, which dried sap can actually be found already dried inside the bamboo joints.  If a person shakes a bamboo shoot, he or she can hear that dried sap knocking against the sides of the plant in the hollow areas inside of the joints.



The bamboo sap is used to fight many of the same symptoms that the bamboo shavings, or zhuru, is.  It is taken to relieve fevers, to combat nasal congestion and phlegm, as well as to fight off coughs that are accompanied with severe expectoration.  It is also taken to aid those who have lost consciousness or who are losing consciousness frequently along with some of the other symptoms listed.  Tianzhuhuang is used especially for fevers found in children, as well as to treat epilepsy.

  • Zhuli – Bamboo Sap (in liquid form)

Zhuli is actually obtained very differently from the methods used to produce tianzhuhuang.  During the production of zhuru, the medicine obtained from bamboo shavings, when the bamboo is freshly cut with the outer layer already removed, the bamboo can be heated in order to coax the sap from the ends of the middle layer.  This sap is light yellow in color, unlike its dried counterpart, which dried bamboo sap is a darker yellow in color.

Just like the other medicinal bamboos, zhuli is sweet in taste and resolves the same issues as tianzhuhuang does.

  • Danzhuye – Bamboo Leaves

Danzhuye comes from the species Lophatherum gracile, from which the leaves are harvested and dried.  In Japan, a similar medicine is created from the leaves of the black bamboo.  Like the aforementioned bamboo medicines, Danzhuye is sweet and helps to relieve fevers.  It is also used to resolve fidgeting, as well as urinary retention, specifically when there is blood in the urine.



  • Kuzhuye – Bamboo Leaves (bitter)

Kuzhuye comes from the species Pleioblastus amarus, which is found primarily in the southern part of China.  Just like with Danzhuye, the leaves of the plant are gathered and dried.  However, the Kuzhuye is bitter to the taste and quite pungent.  It is used to treat fevers, fidgeting, and inflammation of the lungs.



For more on Bamboo in medicine, you can check out these sources.  For more on the conventional and fabric uses of bamboo, as in bamboo sheets, bamboo blankets, organic blankets, and organic sheets, check out our links as well!

Sources used:

“Bamboo.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Feb. 2013. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.

McClure, Floyd Alonzo. The Bamboos. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1993. Print.

Dharmananda, Subhuti. “BAMBOO AS MEDICINE.” ITM Online, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.


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