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.
The secret is in the silica…
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.
Bamboo offers other health benefits too…
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.
So can drinking bamboo leaf tea actually prevent hair loss?
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.
Does bamboo leaf tea cause any side effects?
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.
Putting bamboo leaf tea to the test…
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!
Update – Month 1 (Sept 25 2017)
I’ve now been drinking one cup of bamboo leaf tea daily for exactly one month, using each tea bag 3 times, as described below.
Before I started the tea, I was losing hair fairly steadily, with the most noticeable loss occurring every time I washed my hair (once every 3 days). I didn’t notice any improvement until this week, when the loss was considerably less. And whilst it may only be wishful thinking, my existing hair seems a little stronger too.
Now, the amount of hair I lose tends to fluctuate anyway. So the reduction I noticed may only be temporary. But I’m really hoping it isn’t, because I’m finding the bamboo leaf tea quite pleasant in taste and an easy remedy to try.
I’ll update this article again at the same time next month, by which time it should be clearer if the tea really is helping halt my hair loss, or if the improvement I’ve seen so far is just a coincidence!
Update – Month 2 (Nov 1 2017)
A few days late with October’s update… however, the news seems to be a mixture of good and bad!
The bad first: I have had quite a lot of breakage this month.
That being said, I blow-dried my hair twice in one week, which is I know more than it can take. (I had two social events and really wanted it to look nice – having such fragile hair can be so tough to deal with sometimes!).
The breakage itself was at least halfway along the length of each hair. To be fair, I believe it would take longer than 2 months for the overall strength of my hair to have been drastically improved. I feel (hope) that only the newest hair growth could possibly have benefited! So… I am not giving up on the tea’s ability to strengthen my hair just yet!
Now for the good news: The reduction in hair loss has continued – in fact, I can tentatively say that the shedding has slowed almost to a halt! What’s more, I am seeing some regrowth all along my hairline – the region from which I’ve steadily been losing hair for months.
Is the bamboo leaf tea to thank for this improvement? I can’t say for sure – but to try to keep this trial as effective as possible, I haven’t changed anything else about my hair care routine, diet etc. So I am cautiously hopeful that I may have found something that actually helps.
I will report back and let you know how things go in November.
Update – Month 3 (Dec 1 2017)
Well, things this month are much the same as last month!
I am still dealing with last month’s breakage, which – fortunately – doesn’t seem to have got any worse.
But I’m happy to report that the reduction in shedding has continued! I can safely say at this point that the amount of hair I’m losing per day is normal and NOT excessive. I do so hope this is due to the bamboo tea, which I’m quite happy to drink on a daily basis.
The fine regrowth along my hairline continues – only time will tell if this hair will grow back strongly, although I suspect it may always be somewhat fragile and weak.
I will be back next month with my fourth update – fingers crossed for more positive news!
Update – Month 4 (Jan 8 2018)
Despite being busy over Christmas and New Year (hence the late report – sorry!) I managed to keep up my daily tea regimen.
Things don’t seem to be looking quite so good this month. I’ve suffered extensive breakage, with no obvious cause. After several months of consuming the tea on a daily basis, I had hoped that the silica might have worked its magic and made my hair more resistant to breakage. Sadly, this hasn’t been the case. And whilst the regrowth of fine hair on my hair line has remained in place, it doesn’t seem to have grown much at all.
On a positive note, I am still not shedding, and I can safely say that this is the longest I have gone without losing an excessive amount of hair from the root each day. I am grateful not to be losing any more hair, but disappointed that any regrowth appears to have stalled.
Where to buy bamboo leaf tea
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.
How to make bamboo leaf tea
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!
A nicer taste than most herbal teas!
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.
Over to you…
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.
And to follow this page for updates about my results with bamboo leaf tea, please either subscribe to my newsletter, or follow Hair Sentinel on Facebook!
*I couldn’t stomach the taste of the bamboo tea, so I order bamboo supplements (Swanson Superior Herbs Bamboo Extract 300 mg). I take one a day. It is recommended to take bamboo extract standardized to 70% organic silica. I looked at many brands and found that Swanson was the most affordable, especially when ordered directly from Swanson Vitamins. I have ordered it from Amazon, but it’s more expensive.
My bottle has 60 veggie caps/300 mg.
After about a month or so, I noticed a difference in the strength of my hair and nails. I also noticed less hair fall out. I’ve been taking the supplement now for roughly six months. However, I recently had some incredibly stressful situations occur (both physically and emotionally) and now I’m back to the condition my hair was at before I started the supplement. I know that stress will cause hair to fall out and some breakage to occur. I’m going to continue taking the supplement while I recover, hoping that it will bring me back to the place I was before the stress occurred.
From Janine, US
*Note from editor: The bamboo tea Janine tried was a different brand to the one mentioned in this article.
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