by Heather Newman

I. What is Tabasheer?
II. Medical Uses
III. Chemical Constituents

I. What is Tabasheer?

Tabasheer is a hard, whitish, translucent substance extracted from the joints of bamboo.  Consisting chiefly of pure silica, this opal-like herbaceous gem is highly valued in the East for medicinal purposes, and has long been considered a love potion of almost mythical powers.  According to traditional Oriental belief, being in a bamboo grove (a favorite dwelling place of the Buddha) restores calmness and stimulates creativity.  Called “tian zhu huang” in Mandarin, which translates to “heavenly bamboo yellow,” tabasheer is a versatile, highly demanded substance described to be cold in nature and sweet in taste.  Although tabasheer comes from many different bamboo, largest quantities of this herb’s siliceous secretions have been found in Melocanna baccifera, Bambusa textilis, and Gigantochloa apus.

II. Medicinal Uses

As a very important ingredient in many Chinese medicines, tabasheer has a wide variety of applications:

III. Chemical Constituents

Tabasheer is composed of mostly SiO2 and H2O, and contains small amounts of Na2O, K2O, CaO, and MgO.


Bamboo - the Rainforest's Universal, Renewable, Spiritual Resource.
Dictionary of Difficult Words
Farrelly, D. 1984. The Book of Bamboo. San Francisco: 64-65.
Quindembo Bamboo
Techno-Shaman (Bamboo silica)
Techno-Shaman (Bibliography)
Varieties of Opal
Websters Revised Unabridged Dictionary  1913