Bamboo shoots: a novel source of nutrition and medicine

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(5):517-34. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2010.531488.


Bamboos, a group of large woody grasses belonging to the family Poaceae and subfamily Bambusoideae, are much talked about for their contribution to the environment. However, the food potential of Bamboo shoot per se remains unexploited. Literature on the nutritional and medicinal potential of bamboo shoots is scarce. This paper therefore provides insight on bamboo shoot as a food resource. Various edible species and exotic food products (fermented shoots, pickle, etc.) and recipes of bamboo shoots (bamboo beer, bamboo cookies) are consumed worldwide. Change in nutritional composition of different species of bamboo shoots with processing has also been reviewed. Bamboo shoots possess high protein, moderate fiber, and less fat content. They are also endowed for having essential amino acids, selenium, a potent antioxidant, and potassium, a healthy heart mineral. Occurrence of taxiphyllin, a cyanogenic glycoside in raw shoots, and its side effect on human health calls for the demand to innovate processing ways using scientific input to eliminate the toxic compound without disturbing the nutrient reserve. Lastly, the paper also reviews the utilization of medicinal properties acquired by bamboo shoot. Using the traditional knowledge, pharmaceutical preparations of bamboo shoots like bamboo salt, bamboo vinegar, bamboo extracts for diabetes and cholesterol control, etc. are now gaining importance. Further investigation is required by the researchers to make novel nutraceutical products and benefit the society.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bambusa / chemistry*
  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Fermentation
  • Food Handling / methods
  • Glycosides / analysis
  • Glycosides / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Nitriles / analysis
  • Nitriles / toxicity
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Plant Preparations / adverse effects
  • Plant Preparations / analysis*
  • Plant Shoots / chemistry*


  • Glycosides
  • Nitriles
  • Plant Preparations
  • cyanogenic glycosides
  • taxiphyllin