Q:

Is bamboo poisonous to humans?

A:

Golden bamboo is not considered toxic to humans or animals, but the shoots do contain cyanide, a toxic poison, and not recommended for consumption according to the University of Connecticut's College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. Nandina bushes, also referred to as heavenly bamboo, contain cyanide-producing berries that are bright red in color and toxic to birds. Monkeys and panda bears consume bamboo in the wild, and their bodies are able to naturally break down the cyanide and render it harmless.

Pandas can consume as much 25 percent of their body weight in bamboo on a daily basis. The bears eat bamboo leaves during the summer months and consume the inner stalks during the winter months.

In China, bamboo is utilized as a natural medication for a variety of illnesses. Bamboo shavings are used to treat fevers, nausea vomiting and convulsions. Bamboo sap is used as a natural treatment for epilepsy and lung congestion. Bamboo leaves are beneficial in treating dizziness and insomnia.

Bamboo grows extremely fast, with certain types growing as high as one yard per day. Bamboo is considered a sustainable source of hardwood due to the fact that the shoots are able to grow in various levels of soil with minimal care. Bamboo fibers are utilized to produce organic clothing, towels and bedding. Bamboo is also used as an alternative to man-made materials in the production of earth-friendly machinery and bicycles.


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