Maybe you have seen the bamboo palm and thought to yourself that it’d be great if you could eat it. In fact, some species of bamboo can be eaten, and in parts of Asia like in Taiwan and the Philippines, they eat bamboo quite often. That with said, can you eat this species?
Can you eat bamboo palm? Bamboo palm, also known as the reed palm, could be eaten because it’s not poisonous to humans. That said, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. The palm produces green fruit, but it is packed with oxalates that it will upset your stomach.
Why the Bamboo Palm is Popular
The bamboo palm has become a popular indoor plant because of how it isn’t poisonous to humans, cats or dogs. That has made it a popular plant choice because homeowners don’t have to worry that they will come home to a dead pet and a whodunnit mystery that leads back to a murderous plant. You can find the bamboo palm growing naturally in Central America and Mexico.
While you can eat some species of bamboo,and in fact, they do eat it in Asia, it isn’t advisable that you eat the bamboo palm. It is non-toxic, but it could still upset your stomach if you eat it. This isn’t like regular bamboo.
Why People Like Bamboo Palm
The other reason that other people like this type of bamboo is that unlike some of the other species of bamboo, it doesn’t take over an area. That is one of the things that has made it a favorable choice. It grows more slowly, and it prospers in low-light environments best. Direct sunshine can dry up the leaves and kill it off.
In most cases, bamboo palm won’t grow larger than 7 feet tall. In general, this plant grows best in zone 10.
The other reason that people like the bamboo palm comes from the fact that you get some splendid benefits from it. As an indoor plant, it gives you a nice and tropical look. This choice can remove some of the toxic indoor elements, which is why NASA even improved it as a clean air plant.
You need to aerate it and water it properly for it to grow well. While bamboo palm likes to be wet regularly, that doesn’t mean it wants ground that is regularly wet because this can be just as bad. It needs soil that remains moist, but it doesn’t do well with standing water. You might water your bamboo palm one to three times per week.
How to Eat Bamboo Shoots
I wouldn’t advise that you eat bamboo palm because it is a different type of bamboo that you eat. However, with that said, you will typically eat the shoots of the bamboo. Unless you want to see heaven and the angels, please don’t eat it raw. When you eat it raw, it contains a compound called cyanogenic that will produce cyanide in your gut.
Yes, cyanide–the stuff that spies take to die in emergencies.
The shoots are the edible parts of the bamboo, however. Before you can eat it, you will first cut away at the fibrous exterior. Next, you will boil the shoots. Make sure that you have boiled it well.
Disclaimer: I’d advise that you first do this with someone who has experience with cooking bamboo because you can’t afford to get it wrong.
Health Benefits of Bamboo Shoots
Despite some of the dangers if you eat bamboo wrong or cook it the wrong way, this food does have health benefits. Bamboo contains phytochemicals in it that get produced by many plants. It has antiviral and antibacterial effects that can be quite healthy for the body.
As far as nutrients go, most health experts agree that bamboo has good dietary fiber. It contains potassium, which is essential for a healthy heart, and this will maintain your blood pressure as well. In addition, bamboo contains iron, magnesium, sodium and calcium. This helps with the metabolic processes of the body in everyday life.
The Problem with Eating Bamboo Palm
Outside of the possibility to upset your stomach, the other issue with eating bamboo palm is that it doesn’t grow as fast as other species of bamboo. You will have spent a lot of time getting your bamboo plant to grow, but if you were to eat it, it won’t grow back as quickly as traditional bamboo.
To give you an idea of its growth, bamboo can grow up to 36 inches in a single 24-hour period. This stuff grows so fast that a lot of people see it as a great renewable resource.
With that said, bamboo palm isn’t exactly the same as bamboo, which is why you shouldn’t eat it. This type of bamboo can take between two to five years before it reaches a respectable size.
It doesn’t grow even close to as fast as regular bamboo. Regular bamboo has a reputation for taking over, and it can be difficult to get rid of. The Squigman heard a joke that if you want to get rid of bamboo, buy a panda–it’s the only way.
You don’t have to worry about that with bamboo palm. It’s different to that type of bamboo.
Benefits of Eating Bamboo
First benefit is you get to simulate what it feels like to be a panda, but you have a few awesome health benefits too that come with eating bamboo. For example, the nutrients in it maintain a healthy heart, and they can help you with lowering your blood pressure. It’s also pretty easy to get since it grows so fast.
Some of the other health benefits of bamboo include:
- Helps you lose weight
- Lowers bad cholesterol
- Prevents and fights cancer
- Relieves constipation
- Good for arthritis
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps with respiratory diseases
- Good for skin health
- Prevents diabetes
- Fights fungal infections
- Maintains bone health
Why Own a Bamboo Palm Anyway
Even though you can’t eat bamboo palm, you may still find it useful as an indoor plant. For one thing, it looks beautiful. It will give this wonderfully inviting tropical atmosphere in your home.
Bamboo absorbs formaldehyde in the home, which is one of the oldest known air pollutants around. Formaldehyde transmissions into the air usually come from paint, carpets, cooking and furniture.
The other thing is that it removes a compound known as toulene, which is one of the most common harmful liquids found in the home. Prolonged exposure to toulene can cause visual and neurological disorders. It can cause dizziness or throat irritation.
Bamboo palm adds moisture to the air, and it absorbs the toulene that is in the environment. As the indoor air gets clean, it helps to protect you from these harmful effects.
In short, you probably shouldn’t eat bamboo palm. You will most likely get sick from eating it, even though it is non-toxic to humans, dogs and cats. Its non-toxic nature, however, is part of what makes it a great plant to add to the home. That and in the Squigman’s humble opinion, I feel like a tiger in a tropical jungle!
Why not add it to the home? Things don’t always have to be edible to go in the home. Life is not a box of chocolates. Bamboo palm looks great as a plant to just own. Period.