Monday, June 8, 2009

The Goodness of Bamboo Charcoal (takesumi)

You must not have believed that not only can bamboo charcoal (竹炭takesumi) be used in decoration, it can also be consumed! Speaking of which, I have been eating bread made of takesumi powder everyday. This is not just it. There are now takesumi candy, takesumi coffee, tea, takesumi crackers etc etc. So let's talk more about takesumi...

There are different types of charcoals, including:
i) the wood charcoal which is regularly used for fuel,
ii) the binchotan which is used in our wall covering, and most recently,
iii) the black diamond, which is a very popular Japanese bamboo charcoal (takesumi)

Bamboo Charcoal is able to absorb and disintegrate odor/VOC, emit infra-red rays and break off EMW, all of which are properties not found in other types of charcoal. It may also seem rather unbelievable that besides being used for decoration, the Bamboo Charcoal can also be consumed. Natural and organic Bamboo Charcoal can also be reused.

Bamboo is amongst the fastest growing plants on record – young shoots can grow all of 4 meters in height overnight while more mature bamboo trees can reach the height of a 6-storey building. Despite its height and quick growth rate, it only has a lifespan of 6~8 years, which is shorter compared to most other trees. Cutting of bamboos has the least effect on the environment and ecosystem compared to other wood trees.

On top of its affordable price and low environmental impact, it is the health-related aspects of the Bamboo Charcoal that makes it so precious, like the Zen Wall –
1) It has the ability to absorb and disintegrate odor, thereby purifying the air.
2) It has high absorption properties to kill bacteria, detoxify the air and act as a dehumidifier.
3) It contains over 300 types of micro-organic minerals required by the human body.

The magical absorptive characteristics of Bamboo Charcoal owes to the very fine pores (vessels) of around 2~3micrometers, which are used by the living plant to transport nutrients from the ground. This provides a large surface area which is in direct contact with the surrounding air – an area of which is equivalent to a 25 meter long swimming pool per 1g of Bamboo Charcoal.
Bamboo Charcoal also positively affects human health directly. The far infra-red rays emitted can help increase blood circulation, thereby easing muscle pain, hemorrhoids, burns and wounds. Bamboo Charcoal, which has been charred under temperatures in excess of 750 degrees Celcius generates and releases negative ions, which neutralize the positive ions emitted from computers, mobile phones, lights and other electronics/electrical appliances around us. Studies have shown that it is these positive ions emitted that make us feel tired after long hours in front of the computer/ television.

Although Bamboo Charcoal has so much goodness, it is important to use them correctly towards achieving a healthier lifestyle.

* Improve Water Quality
Placing Bamboo Charcoal pieces in drinking water helps to purify the water by adsorbing the impurities into its pores. During the first few weeks of usage, the Bamboo Charcoal also releases minerals which are good for our body. It is also able to make wine more fragrant whilst removing its tartness, and also make tea tastier by reducing the acidity. The difference can be tasted simply by adding a piece of clean Bamboo Charcoal to the drink.

* Purify the Air
Placing the bamboo charcoal in a cool, dry section of a room will help make the air cleaner, odourless and help balance the humidity of indoor air. Introduction of more negative ions will also make the air feel fresher. However, do bear in mind that the effects of the Bamboo Charcoal is less obvious in highly ventilated and spacious areas. The most effective areas are the bedroom, powder room, study room, and even in the fridge. If you wish to place it in the living room or kitchen, simply increase the amount of Bamboo Charcoal used. I also recommend KuroChiko.

* Improve Blood Circulation System
You may have heard of charcoal beds before. The beds made from natural Bamboo Charcoal can help improve sleep quality and reduce aches from inappropriate sleeping positions. Simply placing the Bamboo Charcoal under the bed linings and pillows also has the same positive effects. The odour and humidity of the bed is also reduced. In addition, when used on car seats and chair cushions, our blood circulation can be improved. Further use of the Bamboo Charcoal in the bath tubs for a bubble bath or spa also improves the blood circulation.

* Blocks EMW
Electrical/Electronic appliances produce EMW. Placing some bamboo charcoal around the computer, microwave, television and ventilator protects our well-being by reducing the amount of EMW emitted, which can harm our body.

Bamboo Charcoal pieces that have been used will gradually become less effective. In this case, disposal is NOT an option. Simply placing the used Bamboo Charcoal in the pots of the indoor plants or bonsai will help the plants to grow better.

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