Medically reviewed by, Russell Braun RPH
When you think of tea, you probably don’t associate that with bamboo. However, both bamboo and teas have been used for thousands of years in Asian cultures for their health benefits. Is it possible to get these effects combined by making tea from bamboo? Finally, what wold be the benefits of drinking bamboo tea?
Most teas are made from some plant or spice that is also medicinal in nature. Examples include things such as:
You might wander what part of bamboo, the tallest shrub in the world, is used to make tea? Although it grows as tall as trees, bamboo is actually a grass. The tea is actually made using the leaves. These bamboo leaves contains the ingredient that few other plants do, silica.
In addition to silica bamboo also contains antioxidants, phytochemicals and minerals. Bamboo is also a source of dietary fiber. These components combine to provide a powerful health punch for bamboo tea.
Silica is a substance that is found in the crust of the Earth. Humans need silica as it is used in our bones and connective tissues. It is also a building block used for collegen production in the body. This is believed to be the reason why silica has many health benefits.
Only a few plants contain silica. Bamboo has by far more silica than other plants. The next closet silica containing plant is Horsetail. In fact, bamboo contains about 10 times more silica than horsetail.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Bamboo?
The health benefits of bamboo seem to grow as quickly as the plant itself at up to a foot per day. Some plants have a particular section that contains the most nutrients. However, all part of the bamboo plant have been used for medicinal use. This includes the leaves, roots, rhizomes and seeds.
|Strengthen Bones||Improve Tooth Health|
|Prevent Alzheimer’s||Rich in Antioxidants|
|Immunity Boosting||Prevents Hunger Cravings|
|Reduces Anxiety||Promotes Hair Health|
The high amounts of silica found in bamboo tea have bone promoting properties. Silica actually helps improve bone mineral density, a key component of bone strength. Researchers believe this also helps decrease the risk of osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease.
Silica stabilizes the matrix that both bones and teeth use as they form. This helps increase the mineralization in the teeth. Therefore they are stronger and less likely to be easily damaged.
Alzheimers is a devastating disease that robs and otherwise healthy person of the ability to remember basic things. Studies have shown people over age 60 are protected from Alzheimer’s when they drink bamboo tea. The reason seems to be that silica blocks the absorption of aluminum, which has been linked to an increased risk of the disease.
Bamboo leaves contain several antioxidants such as vitamin C & E, flavonoids and phenols. Antioxidants reduces inflammation and swelling. They do this by picking up free radicals that are created in our body during metabolism. Free radicals damage cells and lead to inflammation when antioxidants are not present. Numerous diseases are attributed to this inflammation as well as the aging process.
Bamboo Tea Benefits
The antioxidant effects of bamboo tea help your immune system by reducing inflammation throughout the body. In addition, bamboo tea has been found to have antiviral effects. It is believed to block the way some viruses attach to your cells. Chlorophyllin, a substance found in bamboo tea has been shown to block influenza and HIV viruses from entering cells.
Bamboo tea contains up to 4% fiber. Specifically, soluble fiber which means it dissolves in water. This form of fiber helps with digestive problems such as bloating and gas. It is also absorbed, unlike insoluble fiber, and helps to slow down the GI tract. This helps it prevent cravings. Even better it prevents blood sugar from raising quickly. That helps reduce the amount of insulin that is released, which is a fat creating hormone.
Most teas have some form of caffeine in them. Therefore they are not typically thought of for reducing anxiety because caffeine can actually increase anxiety for some people. However, decaffeinated teas have been studied and show to decease anxiety. Bamboo tea does not contain caffeine and in studies done on mice it has been shown to decrease anxiety as well.
Silica found in bamboo tea has been found to impact hair growth in the following ways.
- Increase volume of hair
- Make hair follicles stronger
- Improve density of hair
Due to the beneficial effects of silica it is incorporated into many cosmetic products.
Does Bamboo Tea Really Help Hair Grow?
Silica in bamboo tea promotes collagen creation as well as hydroxylating enzymes that moisturize hair and skin. These features are the primary way that bamboo tea helps hair to grow.
Bamboo tea contains 90mg of silica for every gram of bamboo. Human hair contains about 40% silica so it makes sense that bamboo tea helps ensure you meet your intake needs. It is also believed that increasing silica intake helps prevent hair loss.
Several dietary supplements that contain silica are on the market for these same health benefits. However, drinking bamboo tea has all the other benefits mentioned above in addition to hair growth. Therefore, it seems like a money saving option to use bamboo tea containing silica, antioxidants and other minerals over silica only supplements.
Does Bamboo Tea Have Caffeine?
When most people think about tea what typically comes to mind is green tea or sun tea. It makes sense as these are the most commonly consumed. They also both contain caffeine.
Bamboo tea on the other hand does not contain caffeine. This is a great benefit because caffeine, while great in the morning can cause issues if used later in the day. Due to the half life (3-5 hours) of caffeine in the body it can impact your sleep. That means after 6-10 hours (2 half lives) 50% of the caffeine will still be in your system. This can make it hard to get to sleep and affect the quality of sleep.
By skipping out on the caffeine you can enjoy bamboo tea any time of day and not have to worry about adversely affecting sleep. Keep in mind that sleep is vitally important to overall health.
What Does Bamboo Tea Taste Like?
Bamboo is a tall grassy plant. Therefore many people state that it has a sweet grassy flavor. It is also a light tasting tea and the sweetness is not too strong.
Bamboo tea can be consumed either hot or cold. Many people say that it has a pleasant cocoa like aroma.
What Is the Disadvantage of Bamboo?
The bamboo plant is not a drug and therefore has not been studied for side effects by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Foods and dietary supplements do not have to show side effect and safety data like prescription medications do. That being said there could be side effects, but there is no evidence at this point.
That means you should watch for any side effects you may perceive after drinking bamboo tea. As with any food or drug you could have an allergy to bamboo tea. Symptoms to watch out for that could mean your having an allergic reaction include:
- Difficulty breathing
If any of these occur you should stop using bamboo tea and talk to your doctor.
How Much Bamboo Tea Should You Drink?
Drinking one cup of bamboo tea will certainly not provide all of the benefits discussed here. Are you wondering how much and how often you need to drink bamboo tea?
Like most things in life good things come to those who are patient and persistent. Changes to hair, nails and other body components and functions take time. Therefore the best plan is to drink 1-2 cups of bamboo tea most days of the week. If you do, you should start to see results in two to four weeks. Keep up the habit for more prolonged effects like those seen with Alzheimer’s disease prevention.
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Rondeau, Virginie et al. Aluminum and silica in drinking water and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2009:169: 489-496.
Advincula de Araujo, Lidiane et al. Use of silicon for skin and hair care. An Bras Dermatology. 2016;3: 331-335