The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. The main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem, growing from a corm, to a height of 6 to 7.6 meters. Leaves are spirally arranged, as long as 2.7 meters and 60 cm wide, fragile and easily torn by wind, with the familiar frond look. Each pseudostem produces a single bunch of bananas; the pseudostem dies after fruiting, as offshoots usually develop from the base of the plant. Each pseudostem produces a single inflorescence, the banana heart, containing many bracts between rows of flowers. The banana fruits develop from the heart, in a hanging cluster made up of tiers (hands), up to 20 fruit to a tier.
the Philippines in many varieties.
- Juice of the
flower-stem contains potash, soda, lime, magnesia, alumina, chlorine,
sulfuric anhydride, silica and carbon anhydride.
- High potassium content - a medium banana contains about 450 mg of potassium. (Because of potassium homeostasis in the body, 40K ingested is balanced by 40K potassium excreted. The net dose of a banana is zero.)
- Preliminary phytochemical screening of fresh steam juice yielded vitamin B, oxalic acid, sulphate, vitamin C, starch, tannin, glycosides, phenolic compounds, gum mucilage.
- Study yielded 6 triterpenes: 6 triterpenes: cyclomusalenol, cyclomusalenone, 24-methylenecycloartanol, stigmast-7-methylenecycloartanol, stigmast-7-en-3-ol, lanosterol, and a-amyrin and eight flavonoids.
- Mineral content and nutritional value of varieties (lakatan, latundan, saba, and bungalan) showed the carbohydrate content to exceed 25%.
Stems yielded tannins and glycosides in abundance, with moderate amounts of saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, polyphenols and reducing sugars.
- Bunch of bananas with
"puso" - male inflorescence.
• Demulcent, nutrient,
cooling, astringent, antiscorbutic, antifebrile, restorative, emmenagogue,
• The ripe fruit is laxative, demiulcent, and nutrient.
• Unripe fruit is cooling and astringent.
• Dried fruit considered antiscorbutic.
• Root is antibilious and alterative.
• Juice of the plant is styptic.
• Because of its high potassium content, bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more than other fruits.
• Good sources of vitamin A, fair sources of vitamin B, and good sources of vitamin C.
All are deficient in calcium and phosphorus, and only fair in iron.
• Studies have attributed biologic activities: antiulcerogenic, antidiabetic, antiatherogenic, antidiarrheic, antitumoral, antimutagenic, antihypertensive.
Leaves, fruit, roots, flowers.
Edibility / Nutritional
- The "puso" (male
inflorescence) of saba is extensively used as a vegetable.
- Unripe fruit is sugared and candied.
- Ripe fruits also used in making brandy, rum, and wine.
- Rich in vitamins A, B, and C; a fair source of iron.
• Young leaves used for cool dressing of inflamed and blistered
surfaces and as cool application for headaches.
• Powdered roots used for anemia and cachexia.
• Mucilage prepared from seeds used for catarrhal and mild inflammatory forms of diarrhea.
• Juice of tender roots used as mucilage for checking hemorrhages from the genitalia and air passages.
• In China, juice of roots used as antifebrile and restorative.
• Juice of the trunk applied to scalp to increase hair growth and prevent hair from falling.
• In West Africa, used for diarrhea.
• In Gambia, sap of inflorescence used for earaches.
• In French Guiana, flowers used as emmenagogue.
• In the Gold Coast, sap from roots given as enema for diarrhea.
• In Cambodia, Java and Malaya, juice from trunk used for dysentery and diarrhea.
• Juice from flowers, mixed with curds, for dysmenorrhea and menorrhagia.
• Flour made of green bananas used for dyspepsia with flatulence and acidity.
• Ripe fruit, mixed with half its weight in tamarinds and a little salt, is a valuable food in chronic dysentery and diarrhea,
• Cooked flower used for diabetes. Flowers also used as cardialgic.
• Sap of the flower used for earaches.
• In Bangladesh used for treatment of diarrhea.
• In Western Ghat in India, leaves are used for bandaging cuts, blisters and ulcers.
• Ripe bananas combined with tamarind and common salt used for dysentery.
• In traditional medicine in India,
used for diabetes.
• Used as hemostatic in Brazil and India.
• In South-Western Nigeria, green
fruits used for diabetes.
• Papermaking / Clothing: Plant fibers used in the manufacture of paper and clothes. A
related species, Musa textilis (Abaca, Manila hemp) is produced on a
commercial scale for its fiber use in the manufacture of paper.
• Wrapping / Cooking: Leaves used for wrapping food for cooking.
• Leaves used for polishing floors, lining pots for cooking rice.
/ Flowers: Study on the chloroform extract of M sapientum
flowers showed hypoglycemic activity with significant reduction of blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin and improvement in glucose tolerance.
• Hypoglycemic/ Fruits: Study
on the green fruits of M paradisiaca indicate it possesses hypoglycemic
activity and lends credence to its Nigerian folkloric use for diabetes.
• Antioxidant: (1) Musa
sapientum flower extract showed improved antioxidant activity in diabetics. (2) A study of extracts of M. sapientum var. sylvesteris showed concentration-dependent scavenging effects, with antioxidant activity stronger than that of vitamin C.
• Gastroprotective: Study
on the unripe plantain extract of M sapientum and unripe pawpaw meal
showed alteration of the gastric phospholipid profile and through a
prostaglandin pathway may have a profound effect on the gastroduodenal
mucosa and implications for gastric and duodenal ulcers in rabbits. (3)
• Flowers / Antihyperglycemic / Antioxidant: Study
showed banana flower extract to have an antihyperglycemic action and antioxidant properties, comparatively more effective than glibenclamide. (4)
• Analgesic: Study of the aqueous and ethanolic extract of Musa sapientum showed central analgesic action. (5)
• Wound healing: Study of aqueous and methanolic extracts of Musa sapientum showed wound healing properties through increased wound breaking strength, reduced glutathione, decrease percentage of wound area, scar area and lipid peroxidation. Wound healing was probably through antioxidant effect and various biochemical parameters. (6)
• Anti-Ulcer Activity: Study of dried powder of banana pulp showed anti-ulcerogenic activity, esp in the unripe, mature green plantain banana (var. paradisiaca). (7)
• Banana Peels Phytochemicals: Study showed the peel can be a good source of carbohydrates and fiber. The study of anti-nutrients showed generally low values except for saponins. Study suggests, properly processed and exploited, the peel could be a good source of livestock feed, providing a high quality and cheap source of carbohydrates and minerals. (8)
• Antimicrobial Activity: Study of ethanolic extracts of unripe bananas, lemon grass and turmeric showed antimicrobial activity at stock concentrations. Unripe bananas showed a high antimicrobial activity against all test organisms. (9) Ethanol extract of Musa sapientum showed antibacterial activity against the tested microorganisms - Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria (B. subtilis, B. cereus, and E coli.)
• Anti-Helicobacter pylori / Anti-Internalisation Activity: In a study of 9 Thai plant extracts used for gastric ailments, Musa sapientum and Allium sativum showed marked anti-internalisation and present a potential benefit in H pylori , prevention eradication, therapy and avoidance of antibiotic resistance. (10)
• Anticonvulsant: Study in mice showed AMS prevented convulsions possibly through prevention of inhibition of vitamin B6 metabolism with subsequent increase in GABA synthesis in the CNS or due to facilitatory effect on GABAergic neurons - an effect mediated by the antioxidant potential of phytoconstituents present in the AMS. (14)
• Indigenous Antiulcer Activity / Leucocyanidin: Study investigated the anti-ulcerogenic activity of an aqueous extract of M. sapientum. Study yielded an active compound--a monomeric flavonoid, leucocyanidin, that showed anti-ulcerogenic activity, in congruous with standard drug esomeprazole. (15)
• Antioxidant / Antibacterial /Hemagglutination Inhibition: Study of methanolic extract of leaves of M. sapientum var. Sylvesteris showed antioxidant and antibacterial activity in vitro. It also showed hemagglutination inhibition activities and hydrogen peroxide induced hemolysis inhibition activity of human red blood cells. (16)
• Antimicrobial / Cytotoxicity: A methanolic extract of M. sapientum L subsp. sylvestris showed good antimicrobial activity the pulp, moderate activity with the peel, and insignificant activity with the seed. On cytotoxicity evaluation using Brine Shrimp Lethality, pulp>seed>peel. (17)
• Anti-Allergic: A water extract of pulp of ripe M. sapientum was reported to have significant anti-allergic activity on antigen-induced degranulation in RBL-2H3 cells with an IC50 value of 13.5±2.4 (Tewtrakul et al., 2008). (21)
• Haematopoeitic and Immunomodulatory: Study evaluated various extracts of stems on Musa paradisiaca stem on haematological parameters in albino Wistar rats. There was a significant increase in levels of RBC, PCV, and Hb. Findings indicate phytochemicals that stimulate the formation of erythropoeitin. Results showed stem extrude of M. paradisiaca contain phytochemicals that could be responsible for haematopoeitic and immunomodulatory property. (see constituents above) (22)
• Antidiabetic / Ulcer Healing: Study evaluated the effects of extract of M. sapientum fruit on ulcer index, blood glucose level and gastric mucosal cytokines, TNF-α and IL-1ß and growth factor, TGF-α in acetic acid-induced gastric ulcer in diabetic rat. Results showed antidiabetic and better ulcer healing effects compared with OMZ (omeprazole) or insulin in diabetic rat. (23)
• Antidiarrheal / Antioxidant / Antimicrobial / Seed: Study evaluated the antidiarrheal, antioxidant, and antibacterial potential of a methanolic extract of M. sapientum seed. Results showed antidiarrheal effects in a castor oil and magnesium sulfate induced diarrhea model and charcoal induced gastrointestinal motility test in mice. There was good dose dependent antioxidant potential in DPPH and NO scavenging methods, and strong antibacterial effect against E. coli, S. dysenteriae, and P. aeruginosa. (24)
• Surgical Wound Healing / Peel: Study evaluated the optimum concentration of gel obtained from unripe banana peel for wound treatment in Wistar rats. A 4% gel obtained from unripe banana peel caused better epthelization of wounds healed by secondary intention compared with other gel concentrations. (25)
• Hemostatic Potential of Sap: Study evaluate the hemostatic properties of M. sapientum sap and its mechanism of action. Results suggest the hemostatic effect results partly from vasoconstriction and also from the formation of a protein network that serves as a focal point for cell aggregation that works together in stopping bleeding. (26)
• Anti-Ulcer / Peel: Study investigated the anti-ulcer and ulcer healing potentials of the methanol extract of M. sapientum peel in laboratory rats. Results showed an anti-ulcer effect of the methanol extract attributed to its anti-secretory and cytoprotective activity. The ulcer base healing could be related to basic fibroblast growth factors responsible for epithelial regeneration. (27)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant / Peel: Study investigated the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of banana peel extracts using nitric oxide and DPPH scavenging assays. The water extract of fresh ripe peel exhibited the most potent NO inhibitory activity with no antioxidant activity. A decoction extract of fresh unripe peel exhibited strong antioxidant activity as well as highest total phenolic compound. (28)
• Anti-Diabetic / Sucker: Study investigated the effect of a methanolic extract of Musa sapientum sucker on alloxan induced hyperglycemic rats. Results showed significant lowering of fasting blood glucose with significant recovery of pancreatic histology suggesting rejuvenation of damaged pancreas. Results compared favorably with reference drug glibenclamide. (29)
• Hepatoprotective / Stem / CCl4-Induced Hepatotoxicity: Study investigated the hepatoprotective activity of aqueous extract of central stem of M. sapientum against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatotoxicity in rats. Results showed hepatoprotective activity which was attributed to its antioxidant property. The activity was comparable to standard drug silymarin. (30)
• Antidiabetic / Antihyperlipidemic / Stem: Study evaluated the antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic effects of the stem of M. sapientum in STZ induced diabetic rats. Treatment with lyophilized stem juice resulted in significant decrease in FPG and PPG, with increased serum insulin, decreased HbA1C, with restoration of lipid profile, muscle and liver glycogen and enzymatic parameters to near normal levels. (31)
Wild-crafted and commercial
Tinctures and capsules in the cybermarket.