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vamsalocana - Bambusa arundinacea Willd., Bambusa bambos

vamsalocana :

Bambusa arundinacea Bambusa arundinacea family Graminae is highly reputed ayurvedic medicinal tree commonly known as the Bamboo. It is tall sized tree growing throughout India, moist parts of India. It also occurs in Sri Lanka, Malaya, Peru and Myanmar. The different parts of this plant contain silica, Cholin, betain, cynogenetic glycosides, albuminoids, Oxalic acid, reducing sugar, resins, waxes, benzoic acid, Arginine, cysteine, histidine, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, Protein,gluteline, contains lysine, methionine, betain, cholin, proteolytic enzyme, nuclease, urease. Various parts of this plant such as Leaf, root, shoot and seed possess Anti-inflammatory, Anti-ulcer, Anti-diabetic, Anti-oxidant, anthelmintic, astringent, emmengogue activity. 


>The earliest known documentation of plant treatments is available in the Vedas, with over 300 plants description, Vamsha being one among them.

>Reference of Vamsha is described in 1st mandala, 110th sukta of Rigveda under the name Tejana.

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Bambusa
Species: Bambusa arundinacea

Allied species:

>In Atharvaveda, Acharya Saayana has defined Venu as – hollow inside and has mentioned its indication in snakebite, scorpion poisoning, disturbed sleep, 
headache, pain in flanks and abdominal pain.
>In Kautilya Arthashastra: The forest flora is classified into nine vargas one of which is VenuVarga wherein enumeration of different types of bamboo is found.
>In Charaka Samhita: Vamsha is included in kashaya skandha. It finds its utility in prameha, kshataksheena, kasa.
>In Sushruta Samhita, Tugaksheeri is mentioned under kakolyadi gana. Various other contexts of its utility are in mahakushta, prameha, also as virechaka, in agnikarma, anushastra and vrana bandhana dravya.
>Ashtanga Sangrahakara is of the opinion that vamsha ankura is kaphaghna and has katu vipaka
>In Ashtanga Hrudaya, Properties of Venuyava (seeds of bamboo): ruksha and 
ushna veerya is mentioned.
Vamsakareera (tender shoots of bamboo) causes rukshata, vidaaha and increases vata and pitta and is mentioned under shaka varga.
>Dalhana envisages twaksara, twak-ksheeri, and tugaksheeri as synonyms for vamsha lochana.
>Hemadri has referred vamsha ankura to be tridoshahara.
>Almost all the Nighantukaras have provided synonyms and description of Vamsha


Sanskrit: आर्द्रपत्रकः Ardrapatrakah,वंशः Vamsh,कण्टकः Kantakah,आमुपः Amupah,वम्भः Vambhah,कण्टकिलः Kantakilah
English: eye of bamboo, Spiny bamboo/ Thorny bamboo,Bamboo
Hindi: बांस Baans,बम्बू Bambu,बंस Buns
Urdu: Urduنبس Buns,بمبو Bambu,بانس Baans 0
Telugu: బొంగువెదురు Bongu-veduru,వంశము Vamsamu,వెదురు Veduru
Bengali: বাঁশ Baansha
Marathi: कळक Kalaka,माणगा Maanga,वेळू Velu,बांबू Baamboo,कळंक Kalanka
Konkani: वसो Vaso,वेलु Velu,वासो Vaaso
Oriya: Bans
Gujarathi: વાંસ Vaans,બામ્બુ Baambu
Tamil: Periya Mungil,Peru Varia Mungi,Mungil,பெருமூங்கில் Peru-munkil,குழாய்மூங்கில் Kulay-munkil
Malayalam: MalayalamIlli,Mula,മുള Mula
Kannada: ಬಿದಿರು Bidiru,ವಂಶ Vamsha
Punjabi: Magar bans
Arabic: Tabashir
Spanish: Bambú
Assamese: মোকাল-বাঁহ Mokal Baansh,জাতি-বাঁহ Jaati Baansh,Kotoha-banh/ Kata-banh/ Kota-banh
Japanese: Ma-take
Chinese: Yin du ce zhu, Ci zhuang ce zhu, Ci zhu (Taiwan)
French: Bambou roseau
German: Großer Dornenbambus, Rohrbambus
Burma: Vd-chha, Vathega-kiyo, Vasan, Vathe gasu
Nepal: Bhaalu baans (Bhalu bans), Kanta baans (Kanta bans), Tanu baans (Tanu bans), Taamaa baans (Tama bans)
Persian: nai, tabashir
Sinhalese: Katu una.
Tulu: muŋgilụ


As per Ashtanga Hrudaya and Raja Nighantu: 2 types
1. Ghana vamsha
2. Randhra vamsha: Narahari pandit, author of Raja nighantu mentions the properties of randhra vamsha in moolakadivarga as deepana, pachana, ruchikruth, ajeernanashana, shulaghna, hrudya and gulmanashana.


The word Vamsha has an uncertain derivation in Sanskrit, bearing the original meaning of ‘bamboo’ or ‘reed’.


Synonyms in Ayurveda: vamsalocana, vamsarocana, yavaphal trinaketa, kantalu, kantaki, vanshi, suparva, trinadhvaj, tejan, kicak,

  1. vamsalocana - which improve taste and remove bad smell 
  2. Tuga- it destroys laghutva 
  3. Shubha - having good qualities 
  4. Yavaphala- fruits resembles barley
  5. Vanshakarpura- looks like karpura
  6. Shataparva- 100 or more than 100 leaves are present

Rasa: Kashaya Madhura
Guna: Laghu Ruksha Teeskhsna
Veerya: Sheetha
Vipaka: Maduram
Karma: Kaphapittasamaka

The root (burnt root) is applied to ringworm, bleeding gums, painful joints (Khare, 2007). Seeds are acrid, laxative, said to be beneficial in strangury and urinary discharges (Chopra et al., 1958). Bark is used for skin eruptions (Khare, 2007). Leaf is emmenagogue, antileprotic, febrifuge, bechic, used in haemoptysis (Khare, 2007).


A plant of the humid tropical lowlands, where it can be found at elevation up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 8 - 36°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 2,500mm, but tolerates 700 - 4,500mm.
Prefers a position in dappled shade, but also grows in full sun. Grows best in a fertile, moist soil. Prefers a pH in the range 4.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4 - 7.
A fast-growing species, it forms a clump of stems up to about 5 metres tall within 7 years from seed and reaches full size after about 20 years, by which time there will be 25 - 50, perhaps even 100 culms
Twelve-year-old clumps are regarded as mature.
Bamboos have an interesting method of growth. Each plant produces a number of new stems annually - these stems grow to their maximum height in their first year of growth, subsequent growth in the stem being limited to the production of new side branches and leaves. In the case of some mature tropical species the new stem could be as much as 30 metres tall, with daily increases in height of 30cm or more during their peak growth time. This makes them some of the fastest-growing species in the world[].
Undisturbed clumps are almost impenetrable after some years because of the interlacing thorny branches.
The plant flowers gregariously over a region at intervals of 16 - 45 years. A complete flowering period of the whole clump takes as long as 3 years. This flowering is followed by the profuse production of seed, after which the old clump dies.


Seed - it has a short viability of less than 3 months in normal storage
Surface sow in containers as soon as it is ripe, preferably at a temperature around 20°c. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination rates in excess of 80% can be expected, so long as the seed is of good quality, with the seed sometimes sprouting in as little as 5 - 10 days, though it can take 3 - 6 months
 Prick out the seedlings into containers when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a lightly shaded place until large enough to plant out.
Division as new growth commences
Take divisions with at least three canes in the clump, trying to cause as little root disturbance to the main plant as possible. Grow them on in light shade in pots of a high fertility sandy medium. Mist the foliage regularly until plants are established. Plant them out into their permanent positions when a good root system has developed, which can take a year or more
Plants can be propagated vegetatively by rhizome, culm and branch cuttings. The propagules are raised in a nursery and after they have produced roots and developed rhizomes they are planted out in the field during the rainy season in pits filled with a mixture of compost and soil


Flowers only once in its lifetime (approx. 60 years).
Bamboos are harvested for food when the young shoots are 30–75 cm tall.


The silicious substance found near the joint inside is a white camphor like crystalline in appearance, slightly sticky to the tongue and sweet in taste (Vaidya, 1982; Watt, 1972). Shoot has active constituents are Oxalic acid, reducing sugar, resins, waxes, HCN, benzoic acid (Ghosh et al., 1938), diferuloyl arabinoxylanhexasaccharide, diferuloyl oligosaccharide (Tadash, 1991), (5, 5’-di--(diferul-9, 9’-dioyl)-[α-Larabinofuranosyl-(1→3)-O-β-D-xylopyranosyl-9 (1→4) –D-xylopyranose] (taxiphyllin) (Leslic, 1978). Seed contain arginine, cysteine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylamine, threonine, valine, tyrosine, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine (Chatterjee and Pakrashi, 2001). Leaves mainly contain Protein, gluteline, contains lysine, methionine, betain, cholin, proteolytic enzyme, nuclease, urease (Chatterjee and Pakrashi, 2001).


1.  Dadimashtaka churna -  Atisarachikitsa
2. Sitopaladi churna
3. Taleesadi churna Rajayakshma Chikitsa

Vati and gutika
1.  Brumhani gutika Samyoga sharamuliyo Vajeekaranapaada

Avaleha and paka
1. Pugakhanda Shularoga Chikitsa
2. Chyavanprasha Abhaya-amlakeeya Rasayanapaada
3. Drakshavaleha Pandurogachikitsa

1. Mahatarunarka rasa Jwara Prakarana

1.  Vamshavalekhadi taila Karnaroga Chikitsa

1. Mahagandhahasti agada
2. Panchashireesha agada Vishachikitsa
3. Vamsha twagaadi agada Sarpadashtavishachikitsakalpa

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Leaves, ,


    1. Decoction 50-100 ml. 
    2. Vanshalochana powder – 1-3 gm.
    3. The decoction of the tender leaves of bamboo is given in a dose of 40 – 50 ml to treat intestinal worm infestation.


    Tvakshiri or Tugakshiri is white in colour and used as substitute of Vamshalochana. It is prepared from the tubers of Curcuma angustifoliaRoxb. 


    Synthetic product is white, very shining, sticky to the tongue

    Commercial value:

    One of the best bamboos for windy sites due to the strength of the culms, it is often planted to form wind-breaks around farms - when planted as a hedge around a farm or field, it requires little care
    Planted along rivers in order to check floods


    Thorny tree, stems many, tufted on a stout root-stock, grows upto 30 meter high; culms 15-18cm across; nodes prominent, the lower emiting horizontal almost naked shoots armed at the nodes with 2-3 stout recurved spines; internodes upto 45 cm. long. Leaves 17.5 – 20.5 X 2-2.5 cm, linear or linear –lanceolate, tip stiff, glabrous or puberulous beneath, margins scabrous, base cilliate, mid-rib narrow, leaf-sheath ending on a thick callus and shortly bristly auricle. Inflorescence, an enormous panicles often occupying the whole stem. Caryopsis (grain) oblong, 5-8 mm long, grooved on one side. Flowering and Fruiting : Once in life time, often during September – May (Cooke, 1967; Anonymous, 1996; Anonymous, 1988; Bole and Pathak, 1988;Brandis, 1972).

    Bamboos characterized by woody, pointed stems, commonly called culms arising from the underground woody jointed rhizomes. Culms are round & smooth. Diameter – few mm to > 30cm. the number of fiber bundles & the manner of their scattering add much to the hardness of the culm. The thickness of the outer shell & the deposit of silica in outer cortical layer also make it very hard.when cums are fresh --- green colour. Ordinarily culms don’t bear any branches to a considerable height. Rhizomes is the pachymorph type., woody in nature, arched slightly, upturned sharply at the tip in manner of a walking stick handle, becoming thick & broad at the end bearing the culms & narrow at the proximate end called neck where it attached to the older rhizoms (Anonymous, 1988; Purohit et a., 2007).


    Detailed transverse section shows an outer thick walled radially elongated cells of epidermis covered with thin cuticle, traversed with stomata; underneath this lies 2 to 4 rows of thick walled, compactly arranged sclereidal cells of hypodermis followed by wide zone of parenchymatous ground tissue traversed with conjoint collateral vascular bundles of various sizes; -The vascular bundles in the outer region consist of two metaxylems lying side by side with one to two protoxylem rows lying in between them at the lower side and phloem tissue at its opposite side, mostly consisting of phloem parenchyma, the whole being encircled by thin walled fibrous sheath.- The vascular bundles at places, especially those located in the middle region of the ground tissue are associated with a huge bundle of groups of lignified parenchymatous tissue at its lower side adjacent to the vessels which in mature shoot develops into a lysigenous cavity. -The parenchymatous tissues of ground tissue encircling the vascular bundles are thick and beaded walled, and forms a characteristic network throughout.

    Geographical distribution:

    Global Distribution
    India: Assam; South America

    Indian Distribution


    Found most abundantly in mixed moist deciduous forest, and not so commonly in mixed dry deciduous forest and in semi-evergreen forest, growing best along river valleys and in other moist conditions, on hills at elevations up to 1,000 metres

    Plant conservation:

    Not Evaluated (NE)

    General Use:

    The stems and leaves are used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine as blood-purifier, in leucoderma and inflammatory conditions. An infusion of the leaves is used as an eye-wash. It is also given internally for bronchitis, gonorrhoea and fever. The tender shoots are pickled or steeped in oil for direct consumption or made into curries. They promote the appetite and help in digestion. The leaves are emmennagogue, anthelmintic, astringent and febrifuge. 

    Therapeutic Uses:

    It is useful in vitiated conditions of pitta and kapha, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperdipsia, burning sensation, leprosy, jaundice, cardiac diseases, haemoptysis, haematemesis, hemorrhage, bronchitis, cough, asthma, tuberculosis, strangury, stomatitits, syphilis, fever, ophathalmia and general debility.

    Systemic Use:

    Plant pacifies vitiated kapha, pitta, indigestion, diarrhea, amenorrhea, Ulcer, muscle spasm and general weakness

     (i) Aerial parts (stem and leaf) : as blood purifier, in leucoderma and inflammatory conditions; (ii) Decoction of nodes: for fertility control; (iii) Aqueous extract of leaf: bathing by the same is good for patients of piles; (iv) Leaf-paste : external application is beneficial in gout, wounds and for suppuration of boils; (v) Root: diluent, cures strangury, oedema; (vi) Ash of the basal part of culm and thick root: may be used along with sesame oil in treatment of baldness.


    Useful part    :    Young leaf, Grains, Bamboo manna.  

    Based on the part used the therapeutic effects vary, in Vamsha patra, mula, ankura, yava and twak are the part used and each of them have specific therapeutic value. In addition to these a siliceous concretion, vamsha lochana is the most important part of the plant found only in the female plants of Bambusa bambos.


    It is astringent, acrid, sweet, cooling, expectorant, constipating, cardiotonic, haemostatic, aphrodiasic, diuretic , febriguge and tonic. 

    Clinical trials:

    1. Vanithakumari G., Manonayagi S., Padma S., Malini T. Antifertility effect of Bambusa arundinacea shoot extracts in male rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1989; 25(2): 173.
    2. Watt G. A Dictionary of the Economic Products of India, reprinted edition, volume-I, Periodical Expert, Delhi (1972) 383-391. 
    3. Zhang J., Gong J., Ding Y., Lu B., Wu X., Zhang Y. Antibacterial activity of water-phase extracts from bamboo shavings against food spoilage microorganisms. African Journal of Biotechnology. 2010; 9(45): 7710-7717.


    1. Chandra K., Chaudhari BG., Dhar BP., Joseph GVR., Mangal AK., Dabur R., Mandal T K., Gaurav AM., Yelne MB., Singh SP. Database on medicinal plants used in ayurveda, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda & Siddha, Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, New Delhi (2007) 462-470.


    Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of bamboo during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
    Thyroid disorders, such as too little thyroid function (hypothyroidism), an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), or a thyroid tumor: Prolonged use of bamboo shoot might make these conditions worse.

    Toxicity studies:

    Consumption of improperly prepared or processed bamboo shoots may produce symptoms like rapid respiration, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, stomach pains, headache, vomiting convulsion, and coma

    Use in other system of medicine:

    Young shoots pickled or made into curries. Wood used by Chinese in household carpentry, furniture, boxes, ornamental vases, scaffolding, etc. Leaves used as fodder. Stems in great demand for manufacture of paper pulp of good quality.


    Bamboo consist of fresh leaves & dried fruits Bambusa arundinacea Linn Graminae (Kirtikar and Basu, 1990). Bamboos are members of the Graminae (Poaceae) family, as are corn, sugar cane and other grasses. Bamboos differ from the other members of the grass family by the presence of branches at each node. A bamboo culm consists of an internode (which is hollow for most bamboo) and a node, which is solid and provides structural integrity for the plant. At the node are one or more buds (depending on the species) which produce side branches. The root (burnt root) is applied to ringworm, bleeding gums, painful joints (Khare, 2007). Seeds are acrid, laxative, said to be beneficial in strangury and urinary discharges (Chopra et al., 1958). Bark is used for skin eruptions (Khare, 2007). Leaf is emmenagogue, antileprotic, febrifuge, bechic, used in haemoptysis (Khare, 2007).

    Photos of vamsalocana - ,

    KEY WORDS: vamsalocana, Bambusa arundinacea Willd., Bambusa bambos

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