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by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer
Bamboo is popular in Jamaica for 2 reasons; the Bamboo rafts we all love to lounge on as we float along the Jamaican rivers and Bamboo Avenue in St. Elizabeth. Outside of that, you’ve probably seen impressively crafted bamboo furniture or heard of the bamboo being processed into tissue.
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But did you know there are health benefits from bamboo too? I had no idea either!
Yes, bamboo grows in Jamaica, particularly in St. Elizabeth, Westmoreland and St. Catherine. It is that much more important to Jamaican farmers as the closely matted roots prevent soil erosion.
The most commonly found bamboo species in Jamaica is the Bambusa vulgaris. This is just one of the 1500 species grown around the world. Of course, other species have been brought to the island over the years but they haven’t been grown on as wide a scale as Bambusa vulgaris has.
Because of its durability, it is often used in the construction of houses, huts, boats, fences, props and furniture. It is also a raw material for paper pulp.
Bamboo grows very fast, up to 100 centimetres in 24 hours. Growth is affected by the environment the bamboos are in. They can grow to heights of 98 ft or they can be as small as 8 centimetres.
It is believed that bamboo was brought to Jamaica in the 18th century from Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
Bamboo can be used to make:
Bamboos are 70% rich in silica, the largest plant source of silica on the planet. It is also a great potassium, manganese, calcium, collagen and folic acid source.
Bamboo strengthens your hair and nails.
It rejuvenates and tightens your skin due greatly to the presence of silica and collagen in the plant.
Bamboo also increases bone density and flexibility.
How did we come to know about these benefits? Mrs. Lawrence knows quite a lot about bamboo and its health benefits and so she introduced it to us. You can watch the video below.
Bamboo is known for its strength, flexibility, strong roots, height and durability.
Jamaica has actually been appointed head of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan. There are strides to make bamboo a more integral part of the Jamaican economy by the Bureau of Standards Jamaica and the Bamboo and Indigenous Materials Advisory Council of Jamaica.
With these health and other benefits being realised, we might soon see a boom in the Bamboo industry. In fact, there are plans in place for a bamboo factory to begin operations in Westmoreland soon.
The Original Bamboo Factory is ahead of the curve though with their exceptional bamboo furniture on display. Take a look right here.
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Jamaican Bamboo Benefits | Written: February 23, 2023
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