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Traditional and medicinal uses of banana

Authors:
  • HIMACHAL PHARMACY COLLEGE
  • Jayamukhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
ISSN 2278- 4136
ZDB-Number: 2668735-5
IC Journal No: 8192
Volume 1 Issue 3
Online Available at www.phytojournal.com
Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
Vol. 1 No. 3 2012 www.phytojournal.com Page | 57
Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Banana
K. P. Sampath Kumar1*, Debjit Bhowmik2, S.Duraivel3, M.Umadevi4
1. Department of pharmaceutical sciences, Coimbatore medical college, Coimbatore, India.
2. Karpagam University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India.
3. Nimra College of Pharmacy, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India.
4. Centre for Plant breading and Genetics, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, India.
Banana is the common name for
herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they
produce. It is one of the oldest cultivated plants. All parts of the banana plant have medicinal
applications: the flowers in bronchitis and dysentery and on ulcers; cooked flowers are given to
diabetics; the astringent plant sap in cases of hysteria, epilepsy, leprosy, fevers, hemorrhages,
acute dysentery and diarrhea, and it is applied on hemorrhoids, insect and other stings and bites;
young leaves are placed as poultices on burns and other skin afflictions; the astringent ashes of
the unripe peel and of the leaves are taken in dysentery and diarrhea and used for treating
malignant ulcers; the roots are administered in digestive disorders, dysentery and other ailments;
banana seed mucilage is given in cases of diarrhea in India. Antifungal and antibiotic principles
are found in the peel and pulp of fully ripe bananas. The antibiotic acts against Mycobacteria. A
fungicide in the peel and pulp of green fruits is active against a fungus disease of tomato plants.
Norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin are also present in the ripe peel and pulp. The first two
elevate blood pressure; serotonin inhibits gastric secretion and stimulates the smooth muscle of
the intestines.
Keyword: Musa Paradisiaca, Medicinal Applications, Beneficial Effects, Immunity Booster
INTRODUCTION: Fruits and vegetables are
an important component of a healthy diet. Some
fruits like bananas offer great medical benefits.
Corresponding Author’s Contact information:
K. P. Sampath Kumar*
Department of pharmaceutical sciences, Coimbatore
medical college, Coimbatore, India.
E-mail: debjit_cr@yahoo.com
This is partly because bananas aid in the body's
retention of calcium, nitrogen, and phosphorus,
all of which work to build healthy and
regenerated tissues. In the following paragraphs,
we will discuss some of these benefits. Bananas
can be used to fight intestinal disorders like
ulcers. Bananas are one of the few fruits that
ulcer patients can safely consume. Bananas
neutralize the acidity of gastric juices, thereby
reducing ulcer irritation by coating the lining of
the stomach. Not only can bananas relieve painful
K. P. Sampath Kumar
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ulcer systems, and other intestinal disorders, they
can also promote healing. The fruit is also used as
treatment for burns and wounds. For immediate
pain relief, beat a ripe banana into a paste and
spread it over a burn or wound. For best results,
cover the area with a cloth bandage. Even banana
leaves can be used as a cool compress for burns
or wounds. Other medical benefits of bananas
include aiding in constipation and diarrhea relief,
treatment of arthritis, treatment of anemia
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF BANANA
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium.
Potassium can be found in a variety of fruits,
vegetables, and even meats, however, a single
banana provides you with 23% of the potassium
that you need on a daily basis.Potassium benefits
the muscles as it helps maintain their proper
working and prevents muscle spasms. In addition,
recent studies are showing that potassium can
help to decrease blood pressure in individuals
who are potassium deficient. Potassium also
reduces the risk of stroke.
Bananas are also an excellent source of vitamins,
including:
1. A - aids in healthy teeth, bones, soft
tissue, and more
2. B6 - aids the body's immune system,
promotes brain health, heart health, and
more
3. C - aids in healing, growth of tissue,
ligaments, and more
4. D - helps the body to absorb calcium
As you can see by the vitamins present, bananas
aid in keeping the body healthy in a number of
ways, but there is a major benefit to the bones
and muscles in the human body.
Because bananas contain 41% of what you need
each day in vitamin B6, you will find that eating
bananas helps to increase your focus and mental
acuity. In addition, bananas aid in vitality, which
means that you will have more energy both
mentally and physically. In fact, some studies
show that bananas can help improve your mood
whether you have the blues or are suffering from
PMS.
Bananas are also an excellent food for people
who want to lose weight. Although they are
rather high in calories (200 per banana) and carbs
(51 grams), they are a great source of energy. A
banana eaten before a workout can provide you
with the necessary energy to complete a longer
workout.
Bananas provide you with many health benefits,
but in addition to all of that, most people enjoy
eating bananas as well. The can be eaten alone or
combined with a fruit salad, added to jello, or
made into a smoothie or a milkshake. They are
one of the most affordable fruits in the
marketplace and can be found year round nearly
everywhere in the world!
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF BANANA
Beneficial effects
The fruit has a mild laxative property
It is used as a remedy of constipation in
children
It is believed to be helpful in curing diarrhea
and dysentery
The fruit is used to heal the intestine lesions
It forms the part of diets of children
suffering from malnutrition
The core of the stem is believed to be useful
in stomach upset and diabetes
The extract of core of the stem is considered
to be useful in dissolving the stones in the
kidney and urinary bladder and reducing the
weight. The inflorescence mixed with
coconut oil and spices is used for flushing
the urinary blocks
The fruit is believed to reduce the worm
problems in the kids
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Adverse effects
High carbohydrate presence combined with
tryptophan content in this fruit is feared to
affect user's state of awareness influencing
brain activity and bringing sleepiness.
Migraine headaches may be aggravated by
consumption of bananas and alcohol. Hence,
consumption of bananas is not advisable
with alcohol.
Consumption of bananas may have allergic
reactions in few people.
Nutritional properties:
Hundred grams of ripe Banana provides
approx. 116 Kcal energy that makes it a
supplementary staple food.
Banana has relatively less proteins compared
to cereals, absence of other protein rich
foods in the diet can cause protein
deficiency in people depending mostly on
Banana as staple food
Cooked or ripe Banana are easily digested
Banana is a fair source of Vitamin B and
Calcium
Banana contains about 20% sugar.
MEDICINAL QUALITIES
Bananas are a highly nutritious fruit, but do they
have any medicinal properties beyond their
nutritive value. While it may come as a surprise
to those of us accustomed to using bananas for
baking and banana splits and little else, Perdue
University boldly states that every part of the
banana plant has medicinal properties. Among
the properties cited:
Flowers: Used to treat dysentery,
ulcers, and bronchitis. Cooked, flowers
are considered a good food for
diabetics.
Sap: Chemically, banana sap has
astringent qualities. In traditional
medicine, the sap is used to treat a wide
variety of ailments, including leprosy,
hysteria, fever, digestive disorders,
hemorrhage, epilepsy, hemorrhoids,
and insect bites.
Roots and Seeds: Treat digestive
disorders
Peel and Pulp: Scientifically shown to
have both antifungal and antibiotic
components. These structures have also
been identified as containing the
neurotransmitters norepinephrine,
serotonin and dopamine.
MEDICINAL IMPORTANCE
Reduced risk of high blood pressure
Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium,
an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood
pressure and heart function. A medium-sized
banana provides 350 mg of potassium. The
effectiveness of potassium-rich foods in lowering
blood pressure has been demonstrated by a
number of studies. The US Food and Drug
Administration has allowed the banana industry
to make official claims for the fruit's ability to
reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
According to the FDA, “Diets containing foods
that are good sources of potassium and low in
sodium may reduce the risk of high blood
pressure and stroke.” Plus, potassium helps your
body maintain normal fluid and electrolyte
balances in the cells.
Scientists report that natural compounds in
bananas act in a manner similar to anti-
hypertensive drugs. The team studied six popular
banana varieties and found that all had ACE-
inhibiting properties, though the ripened bananas
had a stronger action than unripe ones.
Researchers have reported that blood pressure fell
by 10% in people who ate two bananas daily for a
week.
Reduced risk of stroke
Scientists suggest that people with a low amount
of potassium in their diet may have an increased
risk of stroke. A study of 5,600 people aged over
65 found that those with the lowest intake of the
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potassium were 50% more likely to suffer a
stroke. High-potassium foods, like bananas, may
lower the risk of stroke, but researchers say that
more studies are needed to confirm whether
increasing potassium in the diet can prevent
strokes.
Restore normal bowel activity
Because the banana is rich in nondigestible fibers
(including cellulose, hemicellulose, and alpha-
glucans) it can help restore normal bowel activity
and help with both constipation and diarrhea.
Bananas normalize the colon’s function to absorb
large amounts of water for regular bowel
movements. Their usefulness is due to their
richness in pectin, which is water-absorbent and
this gives them a bulk producing ability.
Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of
fructooligosaccharide, a compound called a
prebiotic because it nourishes probiotic (friendly)
bacteria in the colon. These beneficial bacteria
produce vitamins and digestive enzymes that
improve our ability to absorb nutrients, plus
compounds that protect us against unfriendly
microorganisms. When fructooligosaccharides
are fermented by these friendly bacteria, not only
do numbers of probiotic bacteria increase, but so
does the body’s ability to absorb calcium. For this
reason, ingesting antibiotics harm these beneficial
bacteria.
Research published in Digestive Diseases and
Sciences underscores just how much bananas can
improve nutrient absorption. In this study, 57
babies (5-12 months) with persistent diarrhea of
at least 14 days duration were given a week’s
treatment with a rice-based diet containing either
green banana, apple pectin or the rice diet alone.
Treatment with both green banana and apple
pectin resulted in a 50% reduction in stool
weights, indicating that the babies were absorbing
significantly more nutrients.
Protection from ulcers & Heartburn remedy
Bananas have long been recognized for their
antacid effects that protect against stomach ulcers
and ulcer damage. A flavonoid in the banana,
leucocyanidin, has been found to significantly
increase the thickness of the mucous membrane
layer of the stomach. Since bananas help to
neutralize acidity, they are also a great way to get
rid of heartburn. In an animal study, a simple
mixture of banana and milk significantly
suppressed acid secretion.
Protection against neurodegenerative diseases
(Alzheimer’s disease)
Researchers at Cornell University investigated
the effects of apple, banana, and orange extracts
on neuron cells and found that the phenolic
phytochemicals of the fruits prevented
neurotoxicity on the cells. Among the three fruits,
apples contained the highest content of protective
antioxidants, followed by bananas then oranges.
These results suggest that fresh apples, banana,
and orange in our daily diet along with other
fruits may protect neuron cells against oxidative
stress-induced neurotoxicity and may play an
important role in reducing the risk of
neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s
disease.
Perfect Baby food
Bananas are the best solid food to introduce to
infants. A mashed ripe banana is an extremely
simple and healthy baby food. Potassium, Fiber,
Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium,
Iron, Vitamins A, B2, B6, C, E, Niacin, Folate,
and Pantothenic Acid. Furthermore, bananas are
very easy to digest and rarely cause allergic
reactions. Bananas are part of the BRAT diet, a
diet many physicians recommend for children
recovering from gastrointestinal problems,
particularly diarrhea. Recent study found
evidence that a higher consumption of bananas
and apple juice from concentrate may protect
against wheezing in children.
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Cholesterol-lowering effect
Animal studies have shown that banana has the
potential to lower cholesterol. It was suggested
that the dietary fibre component in banana pulp
was responsible for its cholesterol-lowering
effect. The amount of dietary fibre in banana is
relatively constant during banana ripening.
Kidney health
Bananas promote an overall improvement of the
functional efficiency of kidneys. Benefits to the
kidneys are again due to the high potassium
content of bananas. A normal intake of potassium
suppresses calcium excretion in the urine and
minimizes the risk of kidney stones.
The results of the Swedish population based
prospective study (13.4 years) of 61,000 women
aged 40-76, show that women eating more than
75 servings of fruits and vegetables per month
(which translates into 2.5 per day) cut their risk of
kidney cancer 40%. Among the fruits, bananas
were especially protective. Women eating
bananas four to six times a week halved their risk
of developing the disease compared to those who
did not eat this fruit.
Hang-over
One of the fastest ways to cure hang-over is to
make a dairy banana cocktail with milk and
honey. Bananas are known to calm an upset
stomach and help rehydrate your body. Bananas
are rich in the important electrolytes, magnesium
and potassium, which are severely depleted
during heavy drinking. Banana with the honey
builds up the depleted blood sugar levels,
providing some energy.
Energy booster
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose,
fructose and glucose combined with fiber.
Potassium is also essential for helping muscles to
contract properly during exercise and reduces
cramping up. A banana gives an instant, sustained
and substantial boost of energy. Research has
proven that just two bananas provide enough
energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.
Immunity booster
Bananas contain 25 percent of the recommended
daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin B6, necessary
for producing antibodies and red blood cells as
well as aiding in the metabolism of fat. In
addition, vitamin B6 serves as an immunity
booster. So, this fruit strengthens your armor
against infectious diseases. With each average-
sized banana, you ingest about 15 percent of the
RDA for vitamin C, one of the strongest
antioxidants.
Depression:
According to a recent survey undertaken by
MIND amongst people suffering from depression,
many felt much better after eating a banana. This
is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of
protein that the body converts into serotonin,
known to make you relax, improve your mood
and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The
vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose
levels, which can affect your mood.
Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the
production of hemoglobin in the blood and so
helps in cases of anemia.
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham
(Middlesex) school were helped through their
exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast,
break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain
power. Research has shown that the potassium-
packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils
more alert.
Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect
bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the
inside of a banana skin. Many people find it
amazingly successful at reducing swelling and
irritation.
K. P. Sampath Kumar
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Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help
calm the nervous system.
Industrial Uses
The aforementioned antifungal properties of
banana pulp and peel have been successfully used
to treat tomato fungus in an agricultural setting.
In their home countries, locals use banana leaves
for everything from umbrellas to construction
materials. Banana and plantain fibers are used
throughout the world to weave ropes, mats and
other textiles. Tannins present in ripe banana peel
act as tanning agents in leather processing.
CULTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL
CARE
o Bananas prefer rich, fertile soils and a sunny,
sheltered location. These plants thrive under
uniformly warm or hot conditions. Plant growth
slows if temperatures fall below 60 degrees
Fahrenheit, and irreversible freeze damage may
occur below 32 degrees. High winds can cause
leaf shredding and drying and may topple plants.
Banana plants require ample water and will suffer
if the soil dries out; however, they are not flood
tolerant. Each stem only produces flowers and
fruits once, so the active stem must be cut away
to allow new suckers to emerge.
Common Pests and Diseases
o Banana plants, whether grown indoors or on a
plantation, may be bothered by a number of pests
and pathogens. Nematodes are often a major
problem and are best controlled with nematicides,
repeated plowing and sun exposure or crop
rotation. Additionally, corms should be
disinfected in hot water solutions before planting.
Other banana pests include the black weevil and
various species of thrips and mites. Several fungi,
bacteria and viruses can attack banana plants,
causing the development of symptoms that range
from leaf spots or streaks to rotting fruit or roots.
Food Uses
o All banana plants can produce edible fruit, but the
fruit taste, seediness, color, size and other
characteristics depend on the species or variety.
Bananas can be peeled and eaten raw, baked
peeled or unpeeled, made into a puree suitable for
infants and used in many other ways. In addition
to this plant's highly versatile fruit, peeled stems
can be chopped and added to salads or steamed
with other vegetables.
Non-Food Uses
o Banana leaves are commonly used as plants, for
wrapping food and as an eye-shade or for
protection from rain. The banana pseudostem can
be utilized for its fiber. The pulp can be used to
manufacture rope, paper, place mats and other
goods, but the pseudostem is often most valuable
economically if it is chopped and left in a field
for its organic matter content. All parts of the
banana have medicinal value. For example,
flowers can be cooked and eaten by diabetics or
used for bronchitis, dysentery and ulcers. Plant
sap can be taken internally or applied externally
to stings and bites. The young leaves can be used
as a poultice for skin irritations. The roots, ashes
of peels and leaves and seed mucilage also serve
medicinal purposes in some regions and cultures.
BENEFITS
The ripe fruit is laxative when eaten early
in the morning.
2. An excellent food for those anemic
persons, having general weakness,
jaundice,nervous breakdown, obesity,
weak digestion and vitamin deficiency.
3. Decoction of the unripe fruit is good
for diarrhea and scurvy.
4. The juice of the plant is taken to cure
hemorrhages, cholera, epilepsy and
hysteria.
5. An extract of the trunk's juice can be
used to massage scalp to promote healthy
growth of hair and preventing hair loss.
6. The pounded inflorescence "puso" is
used as poultice for skin ulcers and
wounds.
7. The flowers are taken as an infusion in
normal doses for painful menstruation.
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8. The fresh flower can be cooked and
eaten to treat diabetes. It is also good for
the weak heart.
9. Eating ripe bananas can prevent
constipation, colitis, and heartburn.
10. For bladder infection eat 3 to 4
bananas a day.
HAIR CARE
There are a number of benefits of
bananas. The benefits are not just limited
to health but also extend up to beauty
treatments as well. It is an effectivebeauty
treatment for skin as well as hair.
Bananas are great for your hair and scalp.
They improve manageability and shine
while moisturizing your skin and helping
to prevent and control dandruff.
Banana is rich in: Potassium, Natural oils,
Carbohydrates and Vitamins.
These help in softening the hair and
protects the hair's natural elasticity
preventing split ends and breakage.
Bananas when used for hair has a number
of benefits such as it creates
manageability, shine, growth and controls
dandruff. These are simply the best for
hair and the scalp.
Bananas enhance the strength, endurance
and shine of the hair and can be referred
to as the bananafood. Most of the
banana hair products are available only at
expensive spas and salons. However, you
can make your own banana hair
conditioner or mask. Just like a facial
mask enhances the glow of your face
immediately, a hair mask also improves
your hair dramatically. Bananas are full of
vitamins and is a number one ingredient
for strengthening and volumizing the hair.
It helps in repairing dry and sun-damaged
hair.
The damages of hair that are caused to the
hair by exposure to the dirt, pollution and
otherenvironmental toxins can be treated
with the banana mask. Banana helps in
protecting the hair from further damage.
The vitamin B helps in the prevention of
split ends.
The type of hair that is suitable for this
treatment are dry hair, dyed hair and for
hair after perm. It also serves as an
excellent treatment for addressing the
problem of dandruff and is helpful in
retaining moisture on your scalp.
However, if you are allergic to any of the
ingredients used in the pack then it is best
to avoid using it.
Bananas contain minerals and other
nutrients that promote hair recovery and
rehabilitation. Banana mask is perfectly
suited for dry, dyed hair and for hair after
the perm.
TRADITIONAL USES OF BANANA
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose,
fructose and glucose combined with fiber.
A banana gives an instant, sustained and
substantial boost of energy.
Research has proven that just two bananas
provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute
workout.
No wonder the banana is the number one fruit
with the world's leading athletes.
But energy isn't the only way a banana can help
us keep fit.
It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial
number of illnesses and conditions, making it a
must to add to our daily diet.
Depression: According to a recent survey
undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering
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from depression, many felt much better after
eating a banana.
This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a
type of protein that the body converts into
serotonin, known to make you relax, improve
your mood and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The
vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose
levels, which can affect your mood.
Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the
production of hemoglobin in the blood and so
helps in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is
extremely high in potassium yet low in salt,
making it perfect to beat blood pressure.
So much so, the US Food and Drug
Administration has just allowed the banana
industry to make official claims for the fruit's
ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and
stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham
(Middlesex) school were helped through their
exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast,
break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain
power.
Research has shown that the potassium-packed
fruit can assist learning by making pupils more
alert.
Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in
the diet can help restore normal bowel action,
helping to overcome the problem without
resorting to laxatives.
Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing
a hangover is to make a banana milkshake,
sweetened with honey. The banana calms the
stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds
up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk
soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid
effect in the body, so if you suffer from
heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas
between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels
up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect
bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the
inside of a banana skin.
Many people find it amazingly successful at
reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help
calm the nervous system.
Overweight: Studies at the Institute of
Psychology in Austria found pressure at work
leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate
and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients,
researchers found the most obese were more
likely to be in high-pressure jobs.
The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced
food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar
levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods
every two hours to keep levels steady.
Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food
against intestinal disorders because of its soft
texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit
that can be eaten without distress in over-
chronicler cases.
It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces
irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Temperature control: Many other cultures see
bananas as a “cooling " fruit that can lower both
the physical and emotional temperature of
expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example,
pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby
is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas
can help SAD sufferers because they contain the
natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
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Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help
people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12
they contain, as well as the potassium and
magnesium found in them, help the body recover
from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps
normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the
brain and regulates your body's water balance.
When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises,
thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can
be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium
banana snack.
Strokes: According to research in The New
England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as
part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by
strokes by as much as 40%.
Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear
that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of
banana skin and place it on the wart, with the
yellow side out Carefully hold the skin in place
with a plaster or surgical tape!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many
ills.
RESEARCH ACTIVITY ON MUSA
PARADISIACA
Banana, plantain or Musa paradisiaca is a large,
herbaceous plant native to India and Southeast
Asia. Purple buds appear from the heart of the tip
of the stem and develop into tubular, white
flowers. Along with dietary fibers, proteins and
unsaturated fatty acids, banana flowers are also
rich in vitamin E and flavonoids. They are part of
many cuisines in the world. They also possess
immense medicinal value. However, there is no
scientific information to determine the side
effects and drug interactions of banana flower. It
should, thus, be used only under the supervision
of a doctor.
INFECTIONS
Ethanol-based extracts of banana flowers inhibit
the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as
Bacillus subtalis, Bacillus cereus, and Escherichia
coli in the laboratory and may help heal wounds
and prevent infections, says Mumtaz Jahan,
author of a study published in a 2010 issue of the
"Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical
Research." Another study published in the
January 2011 edition of the journal "Parasitology
Research" states that ethyl acetate extracts of
banana flower may inhibit the growth of the
malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum in vitro.
However, these benefits have not been proved in
clinical studies.
DIABETES
Oral intake of 0.15 to 0.25 g per Kg of body
weight of chloroform extracts of banana flowers
for 30 days may significantly reduce the blood
sugar levels and increase the total hemoglobin
level in rats, as per the results of a study
published in the March 2000 edition of the
journal "Phytotherapy Research." However, as
with antimicrobial activity, the hypoglycemic
effects of banana flowers have not been proved
clinically. It is important to talk to a doctor
determine the dosage that is right for you.
ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY
Methanol extracts of banana flowers possess
antioxidant properties and thereby stabilize the
free radicals formed as a result of various
metabolic processes in the body. If the free
radicals are not neutralized, their unstable
electrons react with the DNA and proteins of
human cells and alter their properties. This can
lead to several chronic conditions, including
cancer and heart disease. The authors of a study
published in October 2010 issue of the journal
"Food Science and Biotechnology" recommend
the use of banana flower extracts to make health
supplements due to its antioxidant potential.
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MENSTRUAL BLEEDING
Consuming one cooked banana flower with one
cup of curd or yogurt is one of the most efficient
way of treating excessive bleeding during
menstruation, says the website Himalayan Home
Remedies. The cooked banana flower and curd
combination increases the level of progesterone
in the body and thereby reduces bleeding
associated with menorrhagia.
BENEFITS OF EATING BANANAS
Bananas are a great food for all round health
benefits, for the average person, dieter or even
athletes bananas may provide greater benefits
than most fruits. The combination of
carbohydrates and B vitamins present in a banana
helps provide an energy boost which makes them
great to eat 30 minutes before a workout, or even
at breakfast to help boost energy at the start of
every day.
Bananas are not only a good source of B vitamins
they also contain vitamin C, A and high levels
of potassium. The natural fiber in bananas also
contribute to the many health benefits listed
below.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING
BANANAS
· healthy bowels
· cardiovascular health
· protection from strokes
· protection from ulcers
· improve blood pressure
· may boost mood
· boost energy
· help reduce water retention
Bananas and losing weight: Bananas may be
one of the best fruits to eat when attempting to
lose weight. They are full of nutrients for
increased energy and vitality. Bananas are also
low in calories and fat, plus they have a high
water content and potassium levels. A diet high in
potassium foods and lower in sodium-loaded
processed foods can help reduce water weight
Banana Nutrition Health Benefits
Banana has a good nutritional value and one
serving of banana carries 70 calories. It is also a
good source of potassium, fiber and other
phytochemicals. One may ask, "Does banana
nutrition help weight loss?" or "What
nutrition health benefits are there?". In the
following section, we are going to review what
the banana nutrition health benefits based on
scientific studies.
Cancer: Banana nutrition may benefit people at
risk of certain cancers. In a study, family history,
past history of illness and dietary information of
279 patients suffered from colorectal cancer were
studied, a protective effect provided by banana
and papaya on colorectal cancer was served.
Dietary fiber was found to decrease the colorectal
cancer risk.
Cardiovascular Protection: Banana is a good
source of potassium. Potassium maintains normal
blood pressure and heart function. One serving
of banana contains 467 mg of potassium, this
makes people to believe that one banana a day
may help to prevent hypertension or even
atherosclerosis. A number of studies have
demonstrated this banana nutrition benefit.
Potassium may further promote bone health. As
potassium may prevent the calcium loss in urine,
which is caused by high salt diets.
Cholesterol: In a study of male rats on a diet
containing lard (50 g/kg) and cholesterol (5 g/kg),
freeze-dried banana pulp showed a marked
cholesterol-lowering effect when incorporated
into a diet at the level of 300 or 500 g/kg, while
the hot-air dried banana pulp did not show the
effect.
Diabetes: In a study, chemical compositions and
glycemic indices of four varieties of banana were
determined. Silk, Gros Michel,
Pisang Awak and Mysore contained high
K. P. Sampath Kumar
Vol. 1 No. 3 2012 www.phytojournal.com Page | 67
percentages of starch (14%), sucrose (38%), free
glucose (29%) and fructose (58%) as a
percentage of the total available carbohydrate
content respectively. Total dietary fiber contents
of four varieties ranged from 2.7 to 5.3%.
Glycemic indices were about 65 and can be
categorized as low against white bread as the
standard. A single banana of the four varieties
elicited a low glycemic load. Researchers in the
study suggest that consumption of a banana from
any of these varieties may be a snack for healthy
or diabetic patients who are under dietary
management or pharmacological drugs to
regulate blood glucose responses in between
meals.
Diarrhea: It has been thought that the banana
pectin (a soluble polymer) can help normalize
bowel movement and ease constipation.
However, intake of banana may benefit people
suffered from diarrhea. A study also indicate this
banana nutrition benefits. In a study, 31 patients
with diarrhea and receiving enteral feedings were
randomized to receive either banana flakes or
medical treatment for diarrhea. The researchers
found that the banana flake group had less
diarrhea clinically, with 57% of the subjects
diarrhea free on their last study day as opposed to
24% of the medically treated subjects.
Stomach Ulcer: Banana has been used as an
antacid to protect stomach against ulcers and
ulcer damage. A mixture of banana and milk may
decrease acid secretion. It is believed that banana
allows a thicker mucus barrier against stomach
acids and contains protease inhibitors. Protease
inhibitors help eliminate bacteria causing the
stomach ulcers.
HOME REMEDIES WITH BANANAS
Eat banana at night to get relief from
constipation. If suffering from diarrhea you can
use raw bananas. Boil the raw banana, mash it
and add a pinch of salt and butter. Eat it to get
relief from diarrhea. This is considered to be one
of the most important health benefits of raw
bananas. To increase the effectiveness of bananas
for diarrhea, you can puree a small amount of ripe
banana and add a teaspoon of honey to it. Apply
this spread to a slice of well done toast as the
toast will help to absorb excess fluids within the
gastrointestinal tract as well as provide bulk to
the stools which helps to reduce the severity of
diarrhea. In order to treat chronic constipation
with bananas, you can slice a banana along with a
pear and an apple. Drizzle a spoon of honey over
the chopped fruits and if you wish to you can
sprinkle a spoon of crushed nuts over this fruit
platter. Bananas, pears, and apples are all
excellent sources of fiber and this will help to
reduce the risk of constipation. Honey is very
easy to digest and helps to provide your body
with several amino acids and healthy sugars
while nuts help to provide your body with several
essential fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Have this
fruit platter every morning as this will provide
your body with the dietary fiber it requires.
Banana or plantain has been widely used
as an anti-wrinkle treatment. Mash 1/4
banana till it becomes a smooth paste.
Cover your face with it and leave it for
15-20 minutes before rinsing with warm
water followed by splashes of cold water.
Pat it dry. You can also make a
moisturizing face pack out of pureed
bananas. Puree a small piece of banana
and add enough fuller’s earth to it to make
it a thick paste. Scrub your face well to
get rid of the uppermost layer of grime
and dead skin cells and then apply this
paste to your face. Allow the paste to dry
completely before washing it off with cold
water. Fuller’s earth helps to absorb
excess sebum from your skin and so this
face pack will leave your skin fresh and
smooth. Use this pack at least once a
week to help provide your skin with the
vitamins it requires to remain healthy and
wrinkle free. If you have dry skin, you can
add a teaspoon of coconut milk to this
paste as coconut milk contains several
healthy fatty acids that will help to fortify
your skin and prevent wrinkles.
K. P. Sampath Kumar
Vol. 1 No. 3 2012 www.phytojournal.com Page | 68
Mash one ripe banana in one cup of milk
and drink it at least 2-3 times a day to
treat skin allergies.
You can use banana peel inside out for
treatment of warts. Use the peel inside out
and cover the wart by taping it. Once the
peel turns black remove and continue this
for some weeks to get relief from wart.
You can use banana peel for treating
poison ivy rashes. Rub the peel inside out
over the rashes; it soothes the skin to
provide a cooling effect. If your skin is
very sore, rubbing the peel on your skin
may actually increase your discomfort. In
such a case, you can use the blunt side of
a knife to scrape the insides of the banana
peel so that you get a thick grainy paste.
Gently apply this paste to the affected
portions of skin to help reduce the
irritation and inflammation.
Banana peel can be used if you have
bruised yourself. Tape it overnight to see
the positive results in the morning. If the
bruising is rather severe, you can use this
method twice or thrice a day to help
reduce the discoloration and speed up the
healing process. Make sure that you rinse
and dry the area gently before applying a
new piece of banana peel to your skin as
this will increase the effectiveness of this
treatment. The banana peel health benefits
are of immense use in the treatment of
warts and one can follow this same
method of treatment for bruising on
persistent warts.
To get rid of hangover you can drink
banana milk shake mixed with honey.
Banana helps in soothing the stomach and
body. In very severe cases, where
ingesting food causes nausea and
vomiting, you can puree a small banana
along with an apple and slowly consume
one spoon of this mixture at a time. Drink
only small amounts of liquids for the first
few hours and then have this mixture once
more. This will help to stabilize your
gastrointestinal system as well as get rid
of the waste products in your digestive
and urinary system.
If you are pregnant, and want to avoid leg
cramps, eat bananas before going to bed.
Eat three bananas a day to prevent ulcers.
It will help to soothe your stomach and
reduce the ulcer pain.
Consuming a banana after every meal
helps in reducing the heartburn. This can
also be used to help treat acid reflux and
GERD.
To decrease menstrual bleeding drink the
mixture of boiled banana flower with
buttermilk.
Consuming two tablespoons of burnt
banana leaves mixed with honey helps
relief hiccups.
Rubbing banana peel inside out is the best
remedy for mosquito bites.
Bananas can help Seasonal Affective
Disorder (SAD) sufferers as it contains
natural mood enhancers and trypotophan.
It contains high levels of Vitamin C, A1,
B6, and B12 which helps people give up
smoking. The potassium and magnesium
found in bananas helps the body recover
from the effects of withdrawal symptoms.
Eat bananas in every form ripe, raw,
cooked, milkshakes and desserts. It helps
in treating many ailments related to your
body.
Drinking extract from the stem attached to
the banana cluster helps kill tuberculosis
bacteria.
To combat alcohol addiction drink a small
glass of the boiled mixture consisting of 3
banana peels, Tabasco, water or milk from
K. P. Sampath Kumar
Vol. 1 No. 3 2012 www.phytojournal.com Page | 69
1 coconut, brown sugar or sugar loaf to
taste. Let it ferment for 3 days and add
snifter of liquor. Do this for nine days.
When it comes to the health benefits of
bananas, it is not only the many uses of
the fruit and the peel that are important.
Banana flower benefits are invaluable to
women with menstrual problems as they
help to stabilize blood flow.
CONCLUSIONS
The banana is of great nutritional value. It has a
rare combination of energy value, tissue-building
elements, protein, vitamins and minerals. It is a
good source of calories since it is rich in solids
and low in water content as compared to any
other fresh fruit. Bananas are a good source of
Vitamin C which helps to rebuild the immune
system. Bananas are also relatively easy to digest
as compared to other foods and so they are
invaluable to those with compromised immune
systems. Vitamin C also increases the absorption
of iron and increases the formation of blood,
these two health benefits of bananas make it
ideally suited for those with anemia or blood
related problems. Bananas can also be included in
a diet for high blood pressure as they contain
potassium which helps to reduce and control high
blood pressure. Furthermore, bananas do not
contain even trace amounts of fat, cholesterol, or
sodium which makes it a healthy food option
even for restrictive diet plans. There are several
types of bananas which are classified according
to their taste and the color of their skin. Red
bananas have a red peel and the flesh of the fruit
is light pink in color. Red bananas are best if they
are allowed to ripen fully at room temperature.
They can be used to add a dash of color and
sweetness to a mixed fruit platter. Apple bananas
are smaller than the usual varieties of bananas
and are yellow in color. They tend to ripen much
faster and so it is important to check on them
regularly to ensure that they do not get spoilt. The
baby banana is one of the smallest varieties of
bananas and they are yellow in color. They are
very sweet and are perfect for infants and
toddlers. It is best to blend these bananas into a
thick puree before feeding it to infants. Baking
bananas are very large and are often used in
baked dishes as a unique and exotic substitute for
potatoes. Ripe banana health benefits are very
varied and so the health benefits of ripe bananas
should be taken into account when deciding on a
diet plan.
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