A friend and fellow blogger in Japan was kind enough to send me links to some Japanese blog posts about bamboo leaf tea. (Thanks, Megumi!). So, following on from Bamboo leaf tea -part 1, here is some how-to (with the aid of Google Translate) for making your own bamboo leaf tea at home.
The instructions in the blogs are similar and use Kumazasa, a bamboo that grows in Hokkaido. In fact, Kumazasa is something of a Hokkaido speciality and is sold as tea (loose leaf, tea bag, and canned drink), granulated extract and candy. Bears are also very fond of Kumazasa bamboo.
Have you heard of bamboo leaf tea? The proponents of bamboo leaf tea make it sound marvellous, of course. The main health benefits proclaimed are those associated with the intake of silica.
Bamboo Leaf Tea lists some of the benefits;
- improves skin elasticity
- benefits teeth and gums
- improves connective tissue and strengthens musculoskeletal system
- plays a role in helping the body to eliminate aluminium
- strengthens hair and nails and encourages new growth
- thought to improve cardiovascular system
- may help to reduce high blood pressure
- essential for bone growth
I consulted Michael Tierra’s book, The Way of Chinese Herbs (1998) to see what he had to say. Bamboo leaf is listed under ‘herbs that clear heat and purge fire’. The properties of the bamboo leaf are listed as anti-inflammatory, antipyretic (reduce or prevent a fever), and diuretic (promote passing of urine). “Indications: This herb is used for heat conditions associated with irritability and anxiety. It can also be used for swollen, painful gums and urinary tract infections with signs of irritability” (p. 171). All this said, he makes no clear suggestion as to how to ingest the bamboo leaves as a medicinal herb.
This morning I went out and picked some low-hanging bamboo leaves. Following some ideas I found online, I roasted them in the bottom of the oven for short time and made a tea. The liquid was rather colourless, but the flavour was fresh, slightly sweet and subtle. Rather delightful really.
I made another cup of tea with fresh, raw leaves. The flavour was quite different – more like grass, but in nice way. Still, the lightly roasted leaves win the flavour stakes.
And the effects? I don’t know yet. I’ll continue to make and drink bamboo leaf tea and tell you another time. Do you have experience with bamboo leaf tea? Please leave a comment.