Bamboo is one of the most popular plants in the world. It grows wild or cultivated in many places like India, China, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and many other countries. The plant has been used for thousands of years and it’s use continues today. People have different ways to grow bamboo including using it as a decorative object or even as a food source. There are many types of bamboo, but all kinds of bamboo are poisonous if ingested. Bamboo is a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae). It belongs to the same genus as potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants.
The leaves and stems contain alkaloids called saponins which cause skin irritation when they come into contact with skin. These chemicals act on your nervous system causing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and sweating. If these chemicals enter the blood stream, they can result in liver damage, kidney failure and death.
In addition to its toxicity, bamboo contains cyanide. Cyanide is toxic at low concentrations and lethal at high concentrations. When inhaled, cyanide gas causes respiratory tract problems such as coughing up of blood and rapid breathing. Cyanide poisoning may lead to coma or death depending upon the amount consumed and the individual’s health status. It is not surprising that some people in the world have died from bamboo poisoning.
Are there are safe way to get rid of unwanted bamboo plants?
The answer is yes. Bamboo plants contain complex organic compounds that prevent them from being used as food source for grazing animals such as goats, sheep, cows and others. There are herbicides available that will kill off bamboo plants, but these chemicals are harmful to humans. It is always best to use a natural herbicide such as Rotenone. This organic compound is relatively safe for humans and animals if used as directed.
People need to be careful when handling rotenone since it can cause health problems. In certain countries, people are required to wear protective masks and clothing when applying rotenone since this substance is highly toxic. People have died after getting this material on their skin or accidentally inhaling its fumes.
Sources & references used in this article:
American bamboos. by EJ Judziewicz, LG Clark, X Londoño, MJ Stern – 1999 – cabdirect.org
The draft genome of the fast-growing non-timber forest species moso bamboo (Phyllostachys heterocycla) by Z Peng, Y Lu, L Li, Q Zhao, Q Feng, Z Gao, H Lu, T Hu… – Nature …, 2013 – nature.com
Bamboo: an overlooked biomass resource? by JMO Scurlock, DC Dayton, B Hames – Biomass and bioenergy, 2000 – Elsevier
Study on how to effectively extract bamboo fibers from raw bamboo and wastewater treatment by NT Phong, T Fujii, B Chuong… – Journal of Materials …, 2012 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org