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Bamboo

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Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, and tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family. In bamboo, the internodal regions of the stem are hollow and the vascular bundles in the cross section are scattered throughout the stem instead of in a cylindrical arrangement. The dicotyledonous woody xylem is absent. The absence of secondary growth wood causes the stems of monocots, even of palms and large bamboos, to be columnar rather than tapering.
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Botanical Names
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Indian Names
Bamboo
Chemical Constituents
Main chemical constituents of bamboo are silica 90%, silacum, potash, lime, aluminia, cholin, betain, hydrate of silicic acid, nuclease, urease, proteolytic enzyme, cyanogentic glucoside and an alkaloid. Bamboo shoots contain different types of enzymes and over ten kinds of mineral elements such as chromium, zinc, manganese, iron, magnesium, nickel, cobalt, copper etc. and particularly selenium. Another important thing is bamboo shoot content Germaclinum, which can activate human body (1). There are many effective components in bamboo leaves, shavings and shoots including flavonoids, phenolic acids, polysaccharides, anthraquinones, coumarins, special amino acids and peptides, etc. Among these, phenolic compounds, anthraquinones and coumarins are all of relatively strong anti-bacterial and bactericidal functionalities. Studies in recent years show that there are abundant bioactive components in bamboo shavings such as triterpenoids, saponins and sterols.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Bamboo leaves are stimulant, astringent, febrifuge, tonic, cooling, antispasmodic, and aphrodisiac in nature. Antimicrobial activity of the successive extract of the fresh leaves of bamboo was evaluated against both Gram positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains by disc diffusion method. The results revealed that all extracts showed effective inhibitory action against Staphylococcus aureus. The aqueous and ethanol extracts showed very effective results as compared to standard penicillin (3). Bamboo can also be used in diarrhoea, dyspepsia, flatulence and worm problems. It is also used in fever, inflammations, ulcers and wounds. Bamboo helps to cure cough, bronchitis, asthma, asthmatic bronchitis and emphysema. Study also found that EBS has excellent anti-fatigue, anti hyperlipidemic and antihypertensive activities WEBS, which contains abundant biological active components such as triterpenoids, flavonoids, anthraquinones and phenolic acids, is prepared by supercritical carbon dioxide extraction from bamboo shavings. Bamboo extract also possesses antibacterial activity against pathogenic organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus .
Health Benefits
Bamboo is used in Chinese medicines for curing various diseases. It possesses various health benefits. Silicates are the main constituent of bamboo. It functions as a cross-linking agent, providing strength, flexibility and resilience to collagen and elastin to connective tissues. It plays a part in the integrity of the bones, arterial walls, skin, teeth, gums, hair and nails and has been used to alleviate eczema and psoriasis. As it provides strength to the bones it may be useful in preventing osteoporosis and in strengthening the musculoskeletal system, preventing injuries and speeding the healing of fractures. The leaves of bamboo act as stimulants, aromatics, and tonic. They are useful in counteracting spasmodic disorders (spasms, fits), and in stopping infection and bleeding. Bamboo extract can also be used as antibacterial agent (5). The leaves are also said to be beneficial in the treatment of stomach disorders, in promoting digestion, and as commonly used in many parts of India, as a decoction to treat diarrhea. It is necessary for bones to fix calcium and improves the texture of collagen and therefore, bamboo extract can be taken as a supplement for silica.
Research References
1. THE STRUCTURE OF BAMBOO IN RELATION TO ITS PROPERTIES AND UTILIZATION Walter Liese GERMANY 2. Wenying Feng Wang Zheng Guo Wenjing Sympodial Bamboo - chemical composition and fiber characteristics The Research Institute of Chinese Pulp and paper making, Beijing 3. Vijay kumar S., Rahul S., Satish V., Shankul K., Sumit G. and Ashutosh M. Antibacterial Activity of Leaves of BAMBOO 2010 International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences (2) 4. Jianyou Z., Jinyan G., Yuting D., Baiyi L., Xiaoqin W. and Ying Z. Antibacterial activity of water-phase extracts from bamboo shavings against food spoilage microorganisms African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 9(45), pp. 7710-7717, 8 November, 2010 5. Fu-Chu Y., Kuo-Hui W., Wen-Po L. and Ming-Kuan H. Preparation and antibacterial efficacy of bamboo charcoal/polyoxometalate biological protective material Microporous and Mesoporous Materials 2009 118(1-3): 467-472 6. Fu-Chu Y., Kuo-Hui W., Ming-Jie L., Wen-Po L. and Ming-Kuan H. Evaluation of the antibacterial efficacy of bamboo charcoal/silver biological protective material Materials Chemistry and Physics 2009 113(1):474-479