Author : Jayanta Kumar Maji*, Mansi Patel, Priti J Mehta Department of Pharmaceutical Analysis, Institute of Pharmacy, Nirma University Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Page Nos : 65 - 72

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  1. Introduction

Bambusha also known as Bamboo-manna, Tabasheer, Vanshlochan and Eye of the bamboo is the siliceous materials generally found in the culms of the some species of bamboo. It is one of the drug of choice for treating bronchitis, asthma, emmenagogic, febrifugal, demulcent, poisoning cases,

paralytic complaints, cardio-tonic, aphrodisiac, small pox and measles, pecotoral properties and haemostatic etc [1,2]. It is also used as one of the valuable

ingredient in various Ayurvedic formulation like Sitopaladi, Talisadi,

Dadimashtaka, Vilwadichurna, Chawnprash [3]; Unani formulation like Qurs-e-Tabaasheer, KafooriLului (hectic

fever),       Qurs-e-TabaasheerMulaiyinin,

Qurs-e-TabaasheerQabiz, Safoof-e-Tabaasheer and Jawarish-e-tabaasheer [4].

Vanshlochans comprehended in both natural and synthetic way and sold without any solid official authentication system in Indian Market. For the first time Mr. Macie’s preliminary studies established the physico-chemical data of various specimens of tabasheer by series of experiment with water, vegetable colors, with acids, with liquid alkali, dry alkaliesand other fluxes [5]. Klinowski J et al, also in augurated its analysis with modern analytical technique viz; X-ray diffraction (phase crystallinity), thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA), solid state NMR, and X-ray fluorescence (elemental composition)[6].Recently studies were

carried out on naturally available samples of vanslochan from Odhisa (India) for its microscopical, physico-chemical and heavy-metal analysis according to Indian

Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia [7].In contemporary times tabasheer is deliberately adulterated with burned bones, synthetic silica , and arrow root (substitute) in various formulation due to its improper procurement and unavailability. Generally Vanshlochana is formed only after twelve years of flowering period in hollow internodes of Bamboo [8]

Indian traditional medicine faces challenges in terms of regulatory

approvals, safety and efficacy, standardization, and quality control.So there is a need of evidence based scientific studies for evaluation of the therapeutic efficacy and safety of Tabasheer. Present

review article explains the pharmacological, analytical and clinical importance of the vanshlochan in Indian Ayurveda. Bambusha is an antique component in Indian traditional medicine; it is time to re-evaluate the various clinically well-documented indications inform ofreverse-pharmacology, molecular biology, proteomics, metabolomics, and networking pharmacology.

2. Chronological history of Bambusha

Bamboo manna originates from Sanskrit word – Tvak – kshira (Bark milk). In regional language of Indian subcontinent it is known as Sansk. – Vanshalochan, Venulavana, English-Bamboo manna,

Hindi-Banskarpur, Bengali-Bans-karpur, Bans, Marathi-Bansmitha, Telegu-Mullu Vedru, Unani-Tabasheer[9].From the ancient time tabasheer (bambusha) has gained interest as actual drug in eastern countries like India, China etc. China claimed it as “fossil teeth of china” and the belenities (“thunder bolts”) due to its mode of occurrence. According to David Brewster claim, tabasheer is produced in particular those joint of bamboo which are in injured, unhealthy or inmalformed condition. It is also found in form of siliceous fluid (bambusha) inthose types of joints of stem where membrane lining cavities are destroyed or rent by disease [10]. The various studies related to tabasheer clarified concisely to reveal its controversy and original habitat [Table-1]. Alternatively the acquaintance about the tabasheer is basically familiarized in Western Europe by the Arabian Physician, but Patrick Russell (Vizagpattanam)

criticized as a royalty of tabasheer as an Arabian[11]. Sir Joseph Banks was magnificently growing bamboo in a hot house at Islington – collected special tabasheer by method of splitting. Prof Andes collected tabasheer as American specimen, but their result is different from other specimens in composition[12]. Dr. Russell successfully collected liquid and solid form of tabasheer from different joints of bamboo. His results gave details about the character of the tabasheer i.e it is clear, transparent, colorless or greenish tint or white in colour, sometimes it is thicker and of a white colour and other times darker and having honey like consistency [13]. Prof. Edward Turner categories tabasheer as three types: chalky, translucent, and transparent also claimed Indian tabasheer consist entirely pure silica with minute quantity of lime and vegetable matter. D.W. Rostvan Tonningen studied Java specimen named tabasheer.


Table: 1.The chronological findings of the various author in context

Vamshalochan (Tabasheer)

Author Argument Positive findings References
Mr.Thiselton dyer Concentrate the To categorize as vegetable [13]
(Attention name as interesting substance kingdom and Mineral kingdom
the respective
community (Physicists,
Botanist and
Dr. David Brewster Curious product in The phosphorescent , [13]
(Physicist) vegetable kingdom opalescence property
First Indian specimens (Tabasheer), with white, opaque, thoroughly
which gave Dr. Kennedy Making thin section for saturated with water, perfectly
examining under transparent and measure
microscope. refractive index.[ Colloid silica


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Sir Joseph Banks              Growing bamboo in a

hot house at Islington –

Collect special

tabasheer in the method

of splitting

A small pebble about the size of [13]

half a pea, externally dark brown

or black colour with reddish –

brown tint.

So hard as to cut glass, crystalline structure in parts, Contain silica and iron


Prof Andes South American A milk white colour, apparently [13]
(Pichincha) specimen crystalline, semitransparent and
gave MM. Fourcroy gelatinous. Ignition it became
and Vauquelin. black, and emitted pungent
fumes. 70% silica, 30% of
potash, lime, water and organic


Prof. Edward Turner         Indian tabasheer to

consist almost entirely

pure silica with minute

quantity of lime and

vegetable matter.


Tabasheer are categorized - [13]

chalky, translucent and

transparent tabasheer. Specific


gravity, Loss at 100 C, red heat


Guibourt                           A theory of the mode

of formation of

tabasheer – Certain


periods of its growth th


bamboo needed less


silica than at other


times, and that when


not needed, the silica


was carried inwards


and deposited in the





Silica-96.94%, Potash and lime- [13]

0.13%, Water -2.93%, Organic




Study different part of the


bamboo- Ashes of the wood –





D. W. Rost van Specimen tabasheer Silica- 86.387, Iron oxide-0.424, [13]
Tonningen from Java named as Lime-0.244, Potash-4.806,
“singkara” (island) Organic matter-0.507, water -
It resembles like Indian 7.632 (%)







Rationality behind the Bambusha study:


The bamboo-manna is not a sugar, but a white, gritty body and salt like brittle between the teeth (Fig-1). According to Watts’s (Dictionary of Chemistry) Bambusha is defined as “Hydrated silica, occurring in stony concretions from the




joints of bamboo, it resembles hydrophane, and when thrown upon water does not sink till completely saturated[14]. For collecting the natural vanshlochan listening to the rattling sound of the bamboo is one of the acceptance criteria for presence and absence of tabasheer[15]. Small quantity of tabasheer is generally available in the



68                                                                                  BAMBUSHA: REALM OF INDIAN TRADITIONAL MEDICINE

bottom and sides of the cavity of bamboo of the certain species like (Bambusa arundinacea and Melocana bambusoides etc.) Bambusha has greater abundance than others. Production of the tabasheer is greatly influenced by the soil, situation and season. The principal component of tabasheer i.e silica (amorphous, crystalline and colloidal form) is deliberately adulterated. On the contrary, requirement of dietary silicon and its mechanism of action is yet not clearly elucidated.

Biogenic silica attributed with metal ions is an important part of biology. However there is still no evidence to support the idea of mechanism, silicon manifestation. The toxicity profile data is not available in approval of bamboo-manna. The ingredient


(Tabasheer) containing various formulations hypothetically act as synergistically, antagonistically and supra-additively, bioavailabity enhancer, nano carrier.








































Fig no -1, Marketed tabasheer (Bambusha) specimen


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Experimental research of Bambusha in


various environments


Bambush   awas    analysed    in    terms


ofphysico-chemical,               instrumental,


pharmaceutical and standardization purpose which explained in table-2.


Account of fame chemical experiments


ontabasheer (Bambusha) :


According to James Louis Macieand Co,


seven sample were collected (Tabasheer),


hydrated silica found within stems of some

species of bamboo are used in medicine. From Various respective areas, sample are


procured for studying tabasheer (Bambusha) which frequently treated with water, vegetable colours, fire, acids, liquid alkali, dry alkali, and other fluxes.



Table: 2. Research envisaged in context Bamsalochan


Research envisaged     Parameter performed                Positive findings                 References



An account of fame     Treated with water, vegetable


chemical experiments   colours, acids, liquid alkalies,

on Tabasheer                 dry alkalies and other fluxes.

Physico-chemical [5] constant ( like ash value, LOD, etc)



Structural studies of Tabasheer, an opal of plant origin


X-ray diffraction, and 220θ humpy peak, [6]
Fluorescence,Thermogravimetric elemental composition,
analysis, Solid state NMR



Method of Physico-chemical, Microscopic Rosette crystal, silica- [7]
identification and examination, Heavy metal 85.78%, Heavy metal is
standardization of analysis absent
Standardization of X-ray diffraction, surface electron Blurred peak at 20 [8]
talisadichoorna and guti microscopy, Energy dispersive degree, amorphous,
containing synthetic analysis, Thermo gravimetric crystalline, sodium,
vanshlochan analysis potassium, P, calcium,Fe
and weight loss at 610









70                                                                                  BAMBUSHA: REALM OF INDIAN TRADITIONAL MEDICINE

XRD,  Thermo   gravimetric   analysis,


XRF, Solid state NMR


Jacek Klinowski et al, appropriately utilized the modern analytical technique to proceed tabasheer physico-chemical fingerprinting profile. XRD pattern showed prominent broad peak in the region at about 2202θ with amorphous nature. Thermogravimetric profile revealed gradual hydroxylation at 2500C due to presence of bound water which established the “OH” presence.


X-ray fluorescence (XRF) showed that silicon is the major element along with other trace amount ofoxide form such as


aluminium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus. The solid state NMR established the presence of 4-coordinate (Tetrahedral) aluminiumin part of silicate network.1H NMR spectra successfully described two types of hydroxyl group and also explained proton-proton distance during dehydroxylation as a function of temperature. Intracellular biological silica generally completely aluminium free because of extracellular silica in bamboo is tendency to exclude aluminium from the plant cell.


Method         of         identification          and


standardization ofVanshlochan


Recently another study has been to standardize Vamsalochana with help of various physicochemical parameters like alcohol soluble extractive, water soluble extractive, total ash, acid insoluble ash were determined according to ayurvedic

Pharmacopoeia of India (API). Microscopic examination revealed the presence of rosette crystals of calcium oxalate. Characteristic colours were obtained when the powder drug treated with different chemical reagents and solvents. Heavy metal analysis indicates the presence of silica as major component (85.78 %). Toxic metals like arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead were absent.[7]


Future  need  in  favor  about  bamboo-


manna study:


The challenges are under regulatory status, the bambusha is lacking in assessment of the safety and efficacy in favor of national and international drug regulatory authorities. The silica is predominant in bambusha and is substantially used as substitute and adulterant substance but there is no clear valid document to fulfill the useof it. Although various traditional Ayurvedic formulation casts off one of the important ingredient in Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia with-out any official valid proper documentation.




A  literature  review has  highlighted  that


Bambusha (Vamsalochan) exhibits important traditional clinical claim in context of expectorant, immunomodulator, various aliments. It also covered various physico-chemical, solid state analytical instrument the way of biogenic silica predominant along with trace element. Bambusha needs more authentic and



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validated safety document to be used as medicine in traditional medicine. Also revalidated the efficacy claim in traditional


claim with reverse-pharmacology, interdisclipinary way.


Acknowledgement:     This    study    was


supported by Nirma University, Ahmedabad, India in favor of Ayush Project, Grant agreement number-Z28015/21/2016, HPC (EMR)-AYUSHA-A.


Conflict of interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.




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