Bamboo grows amazingly quickly - up to 35 inches per day - and with a Guinness World Record to prove it. It's also extremely strong, whilst remaining flexible.
Wouldn't it be great if our hair could behave like bamboo?
Well, that's the basic premise behind consuming bamboo leaf tea, which is made from chopped, processed bamboo leaves and is caffeine free.
Bamboo is incredibly rich in silica, an element that's also found - to a lesser degree - in horsetail (another popular hair loss remedy).
Silica is believed to promote clear skin and to strengthen both hair and nails. It also plays an important part in bone formation and it is believed to help guard against osteoporosis.
As we age, the level of silica in our bodies drops, so it's important that we get enough of it in our diets. There are certain foods that are particularly good sources, including cucumbers, barley, oats and brown rice.
But because the silica content of bamboo is higher than any other, bamboo leaf tea is growing in popularity as a silica source. And the idea is that drinking bamboo leaf tea will confer the same benefits on the hair that it does to the plant - i.e. it will grow faster and stronger.
It is rich in anti-oxidants, potentially offering protection against heart disease and cancer, whilst research has shown that it also has the ability to lower lipid levels.
There is no scientific proof that bamboo leaf tea can prevent hair loss or improve the condition of the hair. And I have been unable to find any research into how much silica is actually absorbed by our bodies from the tea - so the fact that the silica content is high doesn't necessarily mean our bodies are receiving the maximum benefits from it.
It's also important to remember that hair loss has many different causes, so it would be quite remarkable if any one remedy could 'cure' them all!
Nevertheless, there are many positive reviews of bamboo leaf tea from women who've found that - at the very least - it seems to strengthen their existing hair. Even that can be a significant bonus if your hair loss is excessive. Given the other benefits that silica provides - and considering that our levels drop as we age - drinking bamboo leaf tea may well be worth a try.
Bamboo leaf tea appears to be safe to try, unless you are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is NOT because it has been found to be unsafe - it's simply because not enough research has been carried out to be sure whether or not it could cause any problems.
We also received a comment from a reader who had been told to avoid bamboo because of her thyroid issues. Whilst WebMD warns against bamboo supplements for those suffering from thyroid issues, it doesn't specifically mention bamboo leaf tea. Nevertheless, the safest option is to discuss this with your doctor.
As part of the research for this article I will be trying bamboo leaf tea and will update the article on a monthly basis to report back on any benefits. Fingers crossed!
I have found good quality, organic bamboo leaf tea quite hard to locate here in the UK and have decided to order mine online from bambooleaftea.net in Florida. This company takes care to separate the bamboo leaf from the stem before processing, acknowledging that the nutritional profile and processing time of the stem differs from the leaf. Bamboo stem tea is thus sold separately.Bamboo leaf tea - which is sold either as loose leaves or tea bags - is also available online at Amazon.
You make it much like any other tea, by steeping a teaspoon of the tea (or a teabag) in a cup of water.
The tea leaves or teabag can be re-used up to 3 times - you simply boil the leaves/bag for a few minutes the second time, then for at least 10 minutes the final time. This isn't just a thrifty practice - it ensures you've unlocked all the nutrients from the leaves.
There's no official 'dose' but aim to drink at least a cup of day to help you gauge any positive effects!
I'm not a fan of herbal teas - green tea being at the bottom of my list! - but bamboo leaf tea is actually quite pleasant!
It has a slightly sweet, vaguely earthy flavour and can be enjoyed hot or cold. If you don't find the taste particularly appealing, you can add a little honey or lemon to make it more palatable.
If you've tried bamboo leaf tea, please do share your results - good or bad. Please use this form to contact me - I look forward to hearing from you.