Every plant that God has created contains valuable gifts that people can use. But bamboo, which is the fastest growing plant in the world, is packed full of an amazing amount of treasures that people can easily renew.
Bamboo is often used in construction because its material is as strong as wood from trees. But unlike trees, which take years to grow and don't regenerate after they're harvested, bamboo is a grass that grows back so quickly after being cut down that people can actually watch it grow! People have observed bamboo growing more than 40 inches in only 24 hours, according to the American Bamboo Society.
Since bamboo is plentiful throughout much of the world (native species of bamboo grow in Asia, Africa, Australia, North America, and South America), it is readily available to millions of people who want to use it in their daily lives.
People often use bamboo to construct buildings because bamboo is strong, yet light and flexible. Scaffolding, flooring, and paneling are commonly built from bamboo. Bridges, furniture, fences, and carpets are also often manufactured from bamboo.
People also make a variety of clothing from bamboo fibers, including shirts, pants, sweaters, socks, and underwear. Bamboo clothing is soft and easy to dye. Since bamboo fibers are naturally resistant to insects, people often wear clothing made from bamboo in hot climates where insects are abundant, repelling the insects away from their skin.
Since bamboo is hollow and flexible, people have used it to make musical instruments for centuries. Bamboo is an especially popular material for wind instruments. The Hindu deity Lord Krishna is often portrayed playing a type of bamboo flute called a bansuri.
People and animals alike eat bamboo, which is a good source of potassium and other vital nutrients. All parts of the bamboo plant are edible, from the stalks to the leaves. One iconic animal -- the Giant Panda -- eats a diet that consists almost entirely of bamboo.
In traditional Indian medicine, people use bamboo to treat respiratory ailments. In traditional Chinese medicine, people use bamboo to help heal infections.
Lucky or Miraculous?:
Some people believe that bamboo may bring good luck to those who are near it. People who follow Feng Shui principles use a small type of bamboo called Lucky Bamboo to attract positive energy to their homes by planting stalks of the bamboo in pots they keep at home.
Others believe that bamboo possesses some miraculous spiritual powers to ward off evil. Both Buddhist and Shinto shrines are sometimes surrounded by bamboo groves that people have planted to act as barriers against evil getting close to the shrines.