All of us have some purpose in our lives. This can apply to all the living species in this universe. The bees are present to produce honey, the flowers are present to produce nectar and pollen, and the cows are present to produce milk and plants to produce food. It is generally seen in plants that more than one part of them has a purpose. But there is a specific tree in which all its parts are useful and none of them is wasted. This is a tree with several purposes and indeed it is a gift from god. Already some of you would have found it out! It is the banana tree.
Mostly the fruits, vegetables and flowers of a plant are useful. But all the parts in the banana tree have more than one specific purpose. Also, these do not serve a purpose for humankind, but also to a lot of animals. This article mainly highlights the medicinal benefits of each part of the banana tree.
Speciality of banana tree
As we know the portion which is above the ground and which houses the leaves, flowers, fruits etc. is known as the stem. However, in the case of the banana tree, the true stem is found underground and the green part which we see is a ‘pseudo stem’ meaning false stem; the true stem is a rhizome. Even this part is also consumable. If one has decided to cut a banana tree, he can cut it till the pseudostem and a new tree start to grow from the original stem. This depends upon the condition and strength of the root to regenerate one.
The fruit is the tastiest and delicious part of the tree. An interesting fact which some might know is that the banana tree can produce fruit only once in its lifetime. They say that the banana tree is dead after fruiting because it starts to degrade after fruiting. So the tree is cut down up to the false stem after fruiting.
There are different sizes and colours of bananas which are based on the fruit obtained from the banana tree. Some of the banana varieties known are:-
- Red banana
There is a banana known as the blue java banana which looks blue in colour and tastes like ice cream!!
- Bananas are a good source of potassium, an ion which takes part in most of the body’s metabolic processes
- Bananas can aid in weight loss
- Bananas can make us full (healthy food)
- Bananas are rich in antioxidants
- Bananas are rich in fibre essential for proper stool
And there are even more health benefits. It is recommended to eat at least one banana a day.
The vegetable cannot be consumed raw as compared to its fruit. This is a bit hard in nature when compared to the fruit. This is mainly used in cooking to make curries, chips etc.
- The raw bananas are rich in magnesium, a micronutrient essential for the body
- They can help in regulation of blood sugar levels
- They are a healthy source of starch
- They aid in digestion due to high content of fibre
- They can prevent constipation and other digestive problems
The flower is said to have an umami profile of taste. Hence this is least preferred by children. Also at the same, this part has the highest medicinal benefits.
- They are immunity boosters; they prevent infections and add resistance to the body
- Promote the kidney function in the filtration of the blood
- They help in regulating diabetes
- They can reduce anxiety and relax the mind
- They help in reducing the blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels
This is the point that separates the banana tree from the rest. The leaves of these trees are also used, apart from the fact that animals eat them. This part of the tree is non-edible for humans. The leaves of the tree have been traditionally used as plates. the following are the reasons for this purpose:-
- There is a thin coating of wax in the leaves which get melted when hot food is placed, this process results in a release of good aroma and also enhances the flavour
- These waxes are totally consumable and they contain polyphenols which is required for the immunity to fight off diseases
- The antimicrobial property of the leaf is exposed when hot food is served, so these properties infuse into the food
- The leaves are easy to use and are cheap
There is one dish called ‘kizhi parotta’ where the parotta is wrapped in a banana leaf and is steamed. All the flavours of the leaf enter into the food, enhancing its taste.
The false stem is also edible and has a lot of medicinal benefits. It can be cooked to make a lot of dishes or can be consumed raw as juice.
- Rich in fibre and helps in digestion
- ‘Kidney-friendly’, in fact it is recommended for kidney stone patients to drink the juice. It aids the kidney in the filtration process
- Helps in weight loss
- Rich in potassium and vitamin B, boosts the production of haemoglobin
- Boosts the production of insulin hence helping in controlling diabetes
Even the root of the tree is useful. It can be used to make ropes and sacks. The following are its medicinal purposes.
- The root can cure tooth pain
- They are rich in dopamine and can assist the mind in taking decisions
- They can cure stomach problems
On the whole, the entire banana tree is useful and none of them gets wasted. from the medical point of view, this tree is equivalent to medicine. There is no doubt in calling this tree the ‘GIFT OF GOD’