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Bamboo is one of the most versatile plants on earth. You can grow it, eat it, wear it, build with it and even make beer with it, as a brewing company in Canada has done. But in China and Korea bamboo has already been used for liquor for centuries. In Korea the leaves are used in Daeipsul, a medicinal folk wine, and in China, Zhuyeing is an ancient wine distilled from bamboo leaves and rice.

Once only associated with China, where half of the world’s crop still grows, bamboo is now known to grow all over the world, from South America to Australia and from the USA to the Himalayas. This elegant plant, a member of the grass family, is stronger than steel and grows up to more than 90 feet tall in some conditions. The great bamboo forests of China, known as the Bamboo Sea, are featured in many Asian movies.

Bamboo fabric is one of the latest entrants to the international fashion scene, and is used for high-end fashion as well as t-shirts, towels, curtains and even underwear. But bamboo cannot simply be spun into yarn like cotton or wool. It is made into rayon by breaking down the tough fibres with chemicals. Yet like those more familiar sources, it can still be processed into the finest fabric.

Bamboo is also the most sustainable material when it comes to tougher applications like construction. UNESCO estimates that just 70 hectares of bamboo can produce 1000 houses, compared to stripping a forest of its timber. In Hong Kong, it is used for scaffolding, which is stronger and cheaper than metal, and in India and China, bamboo is used for making roads and bridges.

Most kitchens have a bamboo cutting board or two, but keen and green cooks can stock their kitchen with sustainable bamboo in many ways including crockery and cutlery. It has many uses in daily life, from padding disposable diapers and producing waste-free paper goods, to making furniture and musical instruments. It could be answer to the unsustainable use of other dwindling resources, especially trees.

There is also a possibility of using cheap, abundant bamboo to produce biofuel. The process is difficult and expensive, but in February 2015 Science Magazine reported that researchers had used a bacterium called Zymomonas mobilis to ferment woody plant matter and create fuel more efficiently. So, bamboo biofuel is certainly on the horizon.

Could bamboo be the major sustainable crop of the future? It certainly ticks all the boxes. It grows like a weed all over the world, and it is the fastest growing plant in the world with one species growing up to a meter a day. Bamboo has virtually no limit to its versatility. It takes decades to produce a forest of trees, but only weeks to replace a depleted forest of bamboo.

In 2016 the bamboo industry was worth $60 billion per year, with U.N. Secretary Ban Ki Moon helping to show off a bamboo bicycle made by Evelyn Ohenewaa of Ghana. Once regarded as a pest in the West because of its rampant growth habits in suburbia, bamboo may be the savior of us all.

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Home Beauty Treatments: 5 Tips For the Perfect Manicure

Salon manicures can be expensive and time-consuming, but you don’t have to go to a salon to achieve professional manicure results. Home manicures are a great alternative, as long as you have the right tools and use the right techniques. Here are five tips for the perfect manicure.

Tools

Using the wrong tools can damage your nails and lead to infection. Coarse and metal nail files can cause your nails to split; choose a smooth emery board or crystal file for gentle filing. It’s also important to replace your emery boards and clean other tools, such as nail scissors or clippers, on a regular basis, as bacteria under your nails is easily transferred to your manicure tools.

Preparation

To prepare your hands and nails, remove any old nail polish and soak your hands for five minutes in warm soapy water. Use a soft nail brush to clean under the nails, then gently massage your fingertips and hands to increase blood flow and soften the skin. Use a smooth pumice stone or skin file to remove any calluses and patches of hard skin.

Cuticles

Cuticles help to protect your nails and prevent infection. Clipping cuticles or using hard tools to push them back can cause ridges along your nails and damage the nail bed. Massage olive oil or moisturizer into your cuticles to help soften them, then gently push each cuticle back using a soft implement, such as a pencil eraser. Don’t push your cuticles all the way back, as this leaves your nail open to infection.

Nails

When filing your nails, use smooth strokes and a side-to-side motion across the top of your nail. Avoid filing the sides, as this can weaken your nails. Once your nails are the right length and shape, smooth out any rough edges with a fine emery board and use a nail buffer to give your nails a professional finish.

Nail Polish

If you are using a dark nail polish, you need to apply a base coat first, as this will help prevent staining. If your nails are uneven, ridged or damaged, choose a nail polish with a metallic finish, as it will help to disguise nail problems. Apply nail polish in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next one. Seal your nail polish by applying a top coat to prevent chipping and make your manicure last longer.

Home manicures are much cheaper than going to a salon, and the results can be just as good. Regular manicures can also help to protect your nails and prevent infection. Using the right tools is the key to a professional-looking manicure.


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