Ok, so you’ve put in the work to grow your bamboo plants and you’ve ended up with a surplus of bamboo leaves that you don’t know what to do with.
Luckily, there’s a lot of things you can do with the leaves, and we’ve compiled a list of 10 amazing uses of bamboo leaves here. Bamboo leaves have been used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times, probably because they are plentiful, easy to harvest, and full of good vitamins and minerals.
Bamboo leaves are particularly rich in organic silica, phenols, and amino acids which provide various health benefits. Some of the medicinal uses of bamboo leaves include tea, vinegar, and even skincare! If you need more evidence that bamboo leaves are an amazing opportunity, just look at all of the manufacturers (especially from Asian countries) using bamboo in the production of a variety of products.
If you’re like most bamboo enthusiasts, you probably started out unaware of the full potential of bamboo leaves. Regardless of whether you are an experienced bamboo grower or just a beginner, there are many ways you can put your bamboo leaves to use. We have compiled the 10 best uses of bamboo leaves in this article.
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10 amazing things you can do with bamboo leaves
There are many uses for both fresh leaves and dry bamboo leaves, ranging from traditional medicine to decorative purposes and even agriculture. You can explore these options so you can get the full potential of these perennial evergreen plants.
1. Brew fresh bamboo leaves for bamboo tea
You can use either fresh or dried bamboo leaves to make delicious and healthy bamboo tea. Although there are plenty of manufactured bamboo teas out on the market, it is easy to make your own, straight from your garden if you have the right species of bamboo!
To enjoy the amazing benefits and flavor of bamboo tea, simply pluck or cut fresh bamboo leaves from the branches (here are the best bamboo species for bamboo tea). Then, add hot water, and let it steep. A cup of this tea daily can aid digestion, ease diarrhea and flatulence, and boost the growth of your hair and nails. It is a great source of anti-oxidants that prevent oxidative stress.
2. Make a facial scrub with bamboo leaves
The medicinal benefits of bamboo leaves go beyond tea to skincare. Because of their high silica content and natural anti-inflammatory properties, bamboo leaves can be utilized daily as an anti-aging ingredient.
If you are dealing with black spots or wrinkles, you can make a DIY facial scrub with bamboo leaves. Bamboo leaves contain a high level of antioxidants that can help you tighten and nourish your skin without blocking your pores.
To make your bamboo facial scrub, crush some fresh bamboo leaves and gently apply them directly to your face. You can also mix them with your favorite facial oil for a smooth experience. You’ll love this skincare formula as it’s organic, easy to make, and effective.
3. Use bamboo leaves as fodder
If you’ve got plenty of bamboo growing and you have farm animals to feed, fresh bamboo leaves are a great source of food. We all know that the panda’s diet mainly consists of bamboo, but did you know that other animals can eat it as well?
After all, bamboo is in the grass family, a fact that you can learn more about here.
Bamboo leaves have a high dietary fiber content that can aid your livestock’s digestion. They are also a good source of nitrogen, especially in the dry season.
It’s also a great back-up option if you run out of hay or straw and need a quick feed solution.
Bamboo leaves are an especially good option when your animals are sick, as they’ll provide good nourishment and ensure quick passage of waste through the gut.
4. Make organic mulch with bamboo leaves
Bamboo leaves make an excellent natural mulch that’ll nourish the soil, boost the growth of your plants, and prevent water evaporation. If you’re already growing bamboo, you have access to free mulch in the form of leaves. The silica and nitrogen from those leaves are very beneficial for plants at all stages.
Using the leaves as mulch is a great way to let them decompose naturally, instead of adding them to your yard waste bin or compost pile.
You can include biodegradable matter to complement the bamboo leaves.
5. Weave a basket with bamboo leaves
Instead of letting your bamboo leaves go to waste, you can create eco-friendly baskets. The leaves can be used to weave excellent storage baskets, wall baskets, and wicker baskets.
The leaves should be used when still green and pliable, as once they dry out they can become too brittle to weave into a basket.
Natural bamboo baskets are wonderful biodegradable and sustainable containers. You can use wall baskets and wicker baskets for decoration or for storage. Bamboo leaves are naturally food-grade, so you can also create small bamboo leaf baskets, bowls, and plates for serving meals.
6. Make bamboo vinegar with bamboo leaves
Another great use of bamboo leaves is the production of bamboo vinegar. Bamboo vinegar has numerous health benefits and can be used in products such as skin toners and hair conditioners. There are two types of bamboo vinegar: one derived from rice vinegar, and one derived from bamboo charcoal production.
The first is made by boiling the leaves of the bamboo plant to create a bamboo leaf extract. You can then mix the bamboo extracts with rice vinegar for an easy bamboo-infused vinegar. Alternatively, you can ferment your own vinegar using bamboo leaf extract and rice. Either way, this type of vinegar can easily substitute store-bought vinegar in your cooking.
The other type of bamboo vinegar is a type of wood vinegar, which means that it is obtained from condensation during charcoal production. You can make this at home with your bamboo stems.
You’ll need a tank or furnace where you can heat and smoke the bamboo for several hours. As the moisture evaporates and condensates, you are left with a thick, smokey bamboo vinegar that you can then use in skincare, cleaning, and cooking.
7. Use bamboo leaves for animal pen flooring
If you keep animals, you can make good use of your bamboo leaves during the winter. At this time your animals are exposed to extreme cold and need ground insulation to stay warm. Bamboo leaves are shed naturally in small amounts year-round, so you can gather them at any time or cut them as needed.
A great way to add an insulating layer to the livestock pen is by laying bamboo leaves directly on the floor of the pen. This is a cost-effective option that is insulator as well as cushioning for your animals.
8. Whiten your teeth with bamboo leaves
While there are many products that claim to whiten your teeth, you can also consider safe and natural homemade solutions. Yellow teeth can be a huge problem for many people, so if you are looking for a natural and safe method to whiten your teeth, bamboo leaves are the way to go.
And guess what? You can easily produce this whitening formula at home. Simply mash washed bamboo leaves into a fine paste and put it on a toothbrush. Use this to brush your teeth daily to achieve bright white teeth.
9. Make bamboo oil with bamboo leaves
Another great way to utilize bamboo leaves is by producing bamboo oil. Unlike many other oils, bamboo oil doesn’t give off a greasy feel and it is lightweight.
Furthermore, bamboo oil is rich in minerals, antioxidants, and silica. The oil can be derived from both bamboo shoots and leaves. It is sometimes infused with a neutral oil such as sunflower oil.
One of the best uses of bamboo oil is to nourish your hair and skin with it daily.
10. Sell your bamboo leaves
We’ve already discussed many different uses of bamboo leaves around your home and garden, but if you still find yourself with loads of bamboo leaves, you can consider selling them for money. Given their many uses, you can easily monetize your bamboo leaves with the right method.
If you have a large plantation of bamboo and you are looking to earn extra cash from your plants, you can simply harvest the leaves to sell. Certain companies that manufacture products using bamboo require a steady supply of bamboo leaves, and if you reach out perhaps you can become one of their suppliers.
Can you eat bamboo leaves?
Although we now know that bamboo leaves have many different uses, they are not readily edible for humans. Bamboo leaves should be cooked to avoid poisoning since they contain cyanogenic glycosides called taxiphyllin which can be highly toxic to humans. You can fall ill if you consume bamboo leaves in high quantities.
In sum, there are many cool things you can do with bamboo leaves instead of letting them go to waste or end up in your yard waste bin. Now that you know more about the many uses of bamboo leaves, you can utilize your bamboo plants to the fullest.