Bamboo has been making a lot of news lately as a green building resource. It is a highly renewable source of flooring material and is used as a basic component in the construction prefab homes. However, bamboo has been a very important ingredient in acupuncture and Chinese Herbal prescriptions for thousands of years. In Chinese, Bamboo is called Zhu. Different parts of the plant including the shoots, resin and leaves are used for different therapeutic actions. As discussed in previous posts, there are thermal and taste properties to foods we eat. Herbs are categorized in a similar fashion.
Zhu ru are the shavings of young bamboo shoots. It is considered slightly cold and has a sweet taste. Therapeutically, Zhu ru is used to treat acute fevers and to resolve phlegm disorders caused by heat, eg. deep cough and yellow phlegm, convulsions and vomiting.
Zhu li is bamboo sap. Zhu li also exhibits a very cold nature and a sweet taste. The Chinese medicinal applications of zhu li include acute fever, cough with profuse expectoration of phlegm and sputum, heat in the lungs, and loss of consciousness.
Dan zhu ye are the leaves of the bamboo plant. Bamboo leaves are also considered cold and have a sweet taste. They are used therapeutically to treat fever, clear heat and also function as a diuretic to clear heat and blood in the urine.
For more in-depth information on bamboo in Chinese herbal medicine, see Subhuti Dharmananda’s article