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In the beginning…
there was bamboo. And it was good.
Many Southeast Asian cultures, such as the Andaman Islanders, believe that human life sprouted from a single shoot of bamboo. Other legends say that man and woman emerged from the splitting open of a bamboo stem.
While we cannot speak for the veracity of these ideologies, we do know that the beneficial relationship between man and bamboo goes back many millennia, to the earliest of human civilizations.
Because of its unique characteristics — tenacious growth and unsurpassed versatility — bamboo holds a very special place in Asian cultures. Along with pine trees and plum blossoms, bamboo is considered one of the Three Friends of Winter. Many even consider the plant to have magical properties. In Japan a bamboo forest is believed to form a barrier against evil spirits. Bamboo is an important symbol in Confucianism, and it’s also very widely used in Chinese herbal medicine.