The Medicinal Uses of Bananas

Every part of a banana plant has multiple medicinal and nutritional uses.  For thousands of years people have been cultivating bananas and using their medicine. Most modern medicines have their origins in nature’s plant pharmacy. Why not skip the unnecessary artificial chemicals and pricey prescriptions and go straight to the source. While most known for its sweet and creamy fruits, there’s so much more to love about the amazing banana! This article will introduce you to numerous simple ways you can use all the parts of a banana plant.

My daughter Ayla Belle and I check out a healthy bunch of bananas growing in Long Beach, CA.

Bananas Don’t Grow on Trees

Bananas are one of the oldest cultivated fruits and currently hold the title of the most commonly consumed sweet fruit in the world (tomatoes are actually the #1 most-consumed fruit, but most chefs classify them as a veggie). Despite their widespread popularity around the world, much of the wonders of the banana plant remain a mystery to many. While bananas may appear to grow on trees, the plants are technically herbs with tall “pseudostems” that have no woody tissue like in tree trunks. Banana​ plants grow from rhizomes underground producing pseudostems that act like a trunk and grow up to 30′ tall. Each stem produces one bunch of bananas before dying, but new stems are always shooting up meaning that one banana plant will keep producing bunches for several years. Banana plants give us these amazingly perfect creamy packages of sweet, pure, hydration and sun-fired energy. Although bananas grow as tall as trees, what looks like a stalk/trunk is actually the base of their giant leaves. Bananas are botanically classified as fruiting herbs.

Every Part of the Banana Plant Has a Use

BANANA STEM USES:

? EAT IT: The outer layer of the stem can be peeled away to harvest the tender inner stem. In India the stem is then soaked in yogurt or buttermilk and is cooked as a vegetable served with rice.
? CLEANSE: Banana stem is a diuretic that helps to detox the body.
? KIDNEY HEALTH: The stem of a banana plant is used to treat kidney stones.
? HEALTHY WEIGHT: Banana stem is high in fiber which promotes healthy weight loss and helps sustain a healthy weight.

Every part of the banana plant has medicinal uses.

USES FOR BANANA LEAVES:

? NATURAL FOOD WRAP: Banana leaves are nature’s aluminum foil. Use a banana leaf to wrap food before steaming or grilling.

? ANTIOXIDANT POWER: While not eaten themselves, the leaves impart some of their polyphenols into the food during cooking. Polyphenols are strong antioxidants linked to disease-prevention and a longer lifespan.

BANANA FLOWERS ARE USEFUL TOO:

? EAT THEM: The cream-colored florets inside the maroon-colored banana flower can be cooked and eaten like a vegetable.
? ANTIOXIDANT POWER: Banana flower extract has antioxidant properties.
? MEDICINAL APPLICATIONS: The flowers of banana have been used to treat ulcers, bronchitis, constipation, and menstrual cramps.

You can eat banana flowers too!

USES FOR BANANA FRUITS:

The fruit of banana plants are more than just tasty, they have many medicinal uses as well.

? TREAT DEPRESSION: Bananas are useful for those suffering depression because they contain serotonin, a “happy hormone” which produces glad feelings.
? CURE ANEMIA: Bananas are good for anemia because they are high in iron which supports the production of hemoglobin.
? HEALTHY DIGESTION: Bananas are effective at regulating the bowels and are used to treat both diarea and constipation. Eat a banana after a meal to improve digestion.

Strawberries and bananas make a delicious and nutritious combination.

? FIGHT ULCERS: Eat bananas to heal intestinal disorders such as ulcers. Bananas are one of the few fruits that ulcer patients can safely consume. The chemical composition of the fruit helps neutralize internal acidity and relieve pain caused by ulcers.

? HANGOVER MEDICINE: Bananas are effective to counteract a hangover due to their big sugar and water content.

? POTASSIUM POWERHOUSE: Bananas are rich in potassium which helps us to be alert.
? PROMOTES HEALTHY INTERNAL PH: Bananas neutralize acidity in the body and are good for stomach ulcers and heartburn.
? GOOD FOR PREGNANT WOMEN: Bananas are effective at relieving symptoms of morning sickness.

? ANTACID: Skip the Tums, eat a banana! Bananas are a natural antacid. Eat the creamy fruit to treat and prevent acid reflux and heart burn.

? PROMOTES HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS: Bananas have long been regarded as a super food for those seeking to lose excess weight. Bananas are low in fat and high in fiber and water so they are a great food for regulating the appetite.

One banana packs a lot of nutrition and goodness!

YOU CAN USE BANANA PEELS TOO!

? NATURAL SKINCARE: Banana peels can be rubbed on the skin to treat rashes, burns, and other abrasions. Make a paste from the peel and apply to wounds and burns. Covering the area with a bandage can help keep the banana peel medicine in place and working for you. To cool and relieve pain from burns, place the peel in the fridge and apply to skin after chilled.

? CURE WARTS: Peels of the fruit can be used topically to treat warts by taping the peel to the wart until it has fallen off.
? TREAT INSECT BITES: Peels of the fruit can be applied to an insect bite to reduce swelling.

? ANTI-FUNGAL: Banana peels and pulp contain a natural fungicide.

Banana plant growing in Long Beach, CA. Photo by Reya Steele.

WAYS TO USE BANANA ROOT:

Banana plant roots also have numerous medicinal applications.

? ANTI-INFLAMMATORY: You can drink banana root tea for its anti-inflammatory properties.

? CALMS A SORE THROAT: Swishing with a rinse of mashed banana root juice is effective at treating a sore throat.

? PAIN RELIEF: The tannins in the root of the banana plant can help relieve pain at the site of an injury.

? MORE MEDICINAL USES: Bananas root is effective at treating asthma, hypertension, and brain inflammation.

Bananas growing between the sidewalk and street in a residential neighborhood in Los Angeles, CA.

Bananas have a bounty of benefits. They are an exceptional source of nutrition, an excellent staple food for a healing diet, and have many medicinal uses to help you heal yourself at home.

Reya Steele is a holistic health journalist and nutrition educator. For most of her life she has had a fascination with the edible and medicinal uses of the plants growing around her.
Healing With Plants is a holistic health education project sharing nutrition facts, plant medicine, 100% whole plants recipes, and inspirational stories of healing with plants. Subscribe to Healing With Plants on YouTube and follow us on social media.
Sources: 
1. Journal of Medical Science and Technology, Banana Medicinal Uses
2. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Traditional and...
3. Medical Daily, Health Benefits of Bananas
4. World Atlas, The Most Popular Fruit in the World

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