Botanical Name :Musa paradisiaca,Musa sapientum
Species: M. × paradisiaca
Common Names : Banana, pisang, plantain.
(Musa × paradisiaca is the accepted name for the hybrid between Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. Most cultivated bananas and plantains are triploid cultivars either of this hybrid or of M. acuminata alone. Linnaeus originally used the name M. paradisiaca only for plantains or cooking bananas, but the modern usage includes hybrid cultivars used both for cooking and as dessert bananas. Linnaeus’s name for dessert bananas, Musa sapientum, is thus a synonym of Musa × paradisiaca.)
Habitat : Musa paradisiaca is a tropical fruit known as Plantain belongs to the genus Musa, which contains about forty species, widely distributed throughout the tropics of the Old World and in some cases introduced into the New World.
Banana is a tropical tree-like herb, with large leaves of which the overlapping bases form the so-called false trunk. Fully grown, the stem reaches a height of 10 – to 30 feet.
From the center of the crown spring the flowers. Only female flowers develop into a banana fruit that vary in length from about 4 – 12 inches. The average weight of a bunch is about 25 lbs.
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Each banana plant bears fruit only once.
The propagation is through shoots from the rhizomes, since most of the seeds species are sterile.
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The unripe fruit of banana, rich in starch, is cooked as food or dried and ground into flour. The fruit of the plantain (cooking banana) is larger, coarser and less sweet than the kinds that are eaten raw.
On ripening of the fruit, the starch turns into sugar.
Although the banana family is of more interest for its nutrient than its medical properties, it has some value in traditional medicine.
Parts Used: Fruit, unripe and ripe, Juice.
Plantains often reach a considerable size. The hardly-ripe fruit is eaten (whole or cut into slices) roasted, baked, boiled, fried, as an ingredient of soups and stews, and in general as potatoes are used, possessing, like the potato, only a slight or negative flavour and no sweetness. They are also dried and ground into flour as meal, Banana meal forming an important food-stuff, to which the following constituents have been assigned: Water 10.62, albuminoids 3.55, fat 1.15, carbohydrates 81.67 (more than 2/3 starch), fibre 1.15, phosphates 0.26, other salts, 1.60. The sugar is chiefly cane-sugar.
In East Africa and elsewhere an intoxicating drink is prepared from the fruit. The rootstock which bears the leaves is, just before the flowering period, soft and full of starch, and is sometimes used as food in Abyssinia, and the young shoots of several species are cooked and eaten.
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The Banana family is of more interest for its nutrient than for its medicinal properties. Banana root has some employment as an anthelmintic and has been reported useful in reducing bronchocele.
The use of Plantain juice as an antidote for snake-bite in the East has been reported in recent years by the Lancet, an alleged cure at Colombo (reported in the Lancet, April 1, 1916), and again, in the same year, at Serampore:
‘A servant of the Principal of the Government Weaving College was bitten by a venomous snake in the foot. The Principal applied a ligature eight inches above the bitten part and then cut it with a lancet and applied permanganate of potash, making the wound bleed freely. He then extracted some juice from a plantain tree and gave the patient about a cupful to drink. After drinking the plantain juice the man seemed to recover a little, and the wound was washed. He was made to walk up and down, and in the morning, when the ligature was removed, the man was declared cured.’ – Lancet, June 10, 1916.
The BASTARD PLANTAIN (Heliconia Biha) belongs to a genus containing thirty species, natives of tropical America. Although it belongs to the same order as the Banana, and has very large leaves, 6 to 8 feet long and 18 inches wide, it has quite different fruit, namely, small succulent berries, each containing three hard, rugged seeds, and is not employed economically.
The red protecting leaves of the bud are used against heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia).
Other applications are against: diarrhea, dysentery, migraine, hypertension, asthma and jaundice.
The leaves cut into strips are plaited to form mats and bags; they are also largely used for packing and the finer ones for cigarette papers. The mature leaves of several species yield a valuable fibre, the best of which is ‘Manila hemp.’ The leaves are cut into pieces and used as plates in Asiatic countries.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.