Monday, December 7, 2009
Banana Musa sapientum
Recently someone said to me, “The banana plant is not a tree. It is actually the world's largest herb!” I thought about this for a while. It may not be the largest herb, as there are many larger trees that have medicinal properties. However, the banana tree certainly has a myriad of medicinal uses and that may account for the tree’s reputation of being the world’s largest herb.
Banana’s botany and origins
Banana is better known in the botanical world as Musa sapientum. Musa species are varied and there are many improved varieties.
Originally bananas were found in Malaysia and traveled from there to India where Alexander the Great is credited for bringing the fruit to the Western World around 327 BCE.
Arabian slave traders are attributed with giving the banana its popular name.
The original bananas were small, about the size of a man finger and the name banana is derived from “banan”, which is Arabic for finger.
The tree is also known as Plantain, which originally came from the Spanish word “platano” as the banana tree is similar to the plane tree.
The plant is frost sensitive and enjoys a well protected, frost free environment and lots of compost.
People in colder regions plant their bananas close a wall where the frost can’t get to them.
One banana tree will only produce one bunch of bananas.
It is then chopped down and used to compost the new suckers.
Suckers can be transplanted in spring.
Banana skins are incredibly good for the soil and should be used to fertilize the garden.
The burnt skins provide the soil with potash.
Nutritional value and Medicinal uses of banana
Bananas are extremely nutritious and they have a high sugar content. Vitamin A, C and Calcium are found in bananas.
Basil, Pawpaw and Comfrey thrive in the vicinity of Banana trees.
All parts of the plant are used medicinally.
Bananas are reported to cure biliousness, earache, menstrual disorders, blood diseases, diabetes, dyspepsia, leprosy, urinary discharges, diseases of uterus and vagina, consumption, bronchitis and diarrhea.
Bananas are a tonic and increase the appetite.
The leaves are good for the treatment of scabies and inflammations. Generally, bananas are good for the purification of blood, good digestion and for developing immunity.
All in all banana exude good health.
In some places banana leaves are used as plates.
It is said to improve the digestion and improve the flavour of the food when eating from this kind of plate.
It is environmentally friendly to compost your plate after the meal… for more information check out www.banana.com and many other sites.