Banana – Musa paradisiacal

Banana Flower with small hand of bananas above
Banana Flower with small hand of bananas above

The Southeast Asian plants have been cultivated in South America and Africa. Although they grow as tall as trees, these plants are actually bundles of leaves forming the ‘stems’ or ‘trunks’ of the ‘trees,’ thus they are actually very large herbs!

Worldwide the banana ranks 4th as the most consumed food, after rice, wheat, and corn. In poor countries it is often the staple food until harvest. The fruit of the banana is very nutritious being a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A & C.

The fruit of the banana can be eaten raw or cooked. It can even be dried, powdered and used as flour, which can be used to make bread or cakes. The fruit can even be fermented into a low alcohol, beer like drink!

The fiber from the trunk has been dried, processed, dyed, and woven into cloth to make exotic clothing. The fiber is used to make bags, hats, belts, paper, shoes, slippers, picture frames, place mats, greeting cards, fashion accessories, home decor and countless other products.

In herbal medicine the roots are considered anthelmintic, anti-scorbutic, depurative and tonic. The fruits are sweet, astringent, emollient, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, antidiabetic, and anti-dysenteric.

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