Medicinal Importance of Banana

(By Muhammad Mudassar Ali, Dr. Muhammad Nadeem)

(Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, UOS)

Banana is historically being used due to its medicinal value. Its different varieties are used as ornamental purpose due to ts stem and leaf beauty. It is rich source of Vitamin E and carbohydrates. Products from the natural sources are being used as a medicine from thousands of years all around the world (Wang M W et al., 2007). This tradition is still common, and several researches are being conducted form a hundred of institutes all around the globe (Liz Fajbar et al., 1997). A major portion of the drugs, at present, are directly or indirectly extracted from the natural sources (Rojas A et al., 1992). An individual from the Musa, Banana is an herbaceous plant grown throughout the world from centuries (Kumar et al., 2012). Bananas are the second largest fruit crop produced in the globe after citrus (FAO, 2009). It is one of the fruit plants who’s all parts have natural and traditional medicinal uses (Kumar et al., 2012). It’s all parts can be used and processed. Diseases like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, ulcer and diarrhoea can be treated by banana. Banana is a universally consumed food; it is a favourite of the people of all age group, so banana is one of the very important foods produced. It is also one of the fruits that is affordable by people of all income group. Comparing to other fruits, banana is readily digestible even comparing to Apple. Taking its nutritional profile under consideration, a hundred grams of Banana gives about 370 kJ of energy (Kumar et al., 2012). Along with the terrace amount of Iron, Sodium and Zinc, Banana is rich with Potassium (358 mg), Magnesium (27 grams) and Phosphorous 22 grams. It has a significant proportion of Vitamin A Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C and Vitamin D. Banana has less protein as compared to other foods (Kumar et al., 2012). An handsome amount of fiber could be extracted from all the verities of Banana (Mukhopadhay et al., 2008) Being a rich source of Potassium banana benefits the muscles as it keeps up their appropriate working and anticipates muscle spasms. Besides this, potassium helps in regulating the higher blood pressure as it is a common problem these days (Sarkar C., et. Al.). It also helps to reduce the risk of stroke. Banana is an excellent source of vitamins, Vitamin A aid in strong teeth and bones, Vitamin-B6 contribute in the immune system it also promotes brain healthiness and lastly the health of our heart. Vitamin-C helps in the growth of tissue and ligaments and finally Vitamin-D that helps the bones to absorb calcium (Kumar et al., 2012). Banana is excellent for the people who want to lose their weight besides having high calories, as it provides necessary power for a longer exercise. Banana contains a significant amount of Iron. Iron helps the body to make hemoglobin. So, it can readily be used in case of anemia (A condition in which hemoglobin is reduced because of deficiency of Iron). Banana also help to control Diabetes. Ethanol Extract of Green Banana has antioxidant activity that help in treating diabetes mellitus (Kaimal S et al., 2010). Banana has also an anti-microbial activity. The extract obtained by the pulp and skin of banana had an anti-microbial activity. The ripened banana have more anti-microbial activity as compared to green banana. There is a significant observed anti-fungal activity of banana pulp and skin extract. Ethyl Acetate Extract of banana has a significant observed antimicrobial activity. (Scott et al., 1949). Bananas have an anti-ulcer and anti-diarrhoea activity. An anti-ulcerogenic compound is extracted from un-ripe banana by solvent fractionation (Lewis DA et al., 1999). Eating banana can reduce the risk of cancer. Bananas are a good source to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer (Hugo, D –P et al., 1996). Bananas are also useful in controlling the pollution. Activated carbon can be produced by banana stalks that is then used to remove Carbofuran (An insecticide) from an aqueous solution. This activated carbon could be used as an alternative to activated carbon available commercially (Salman JM et al., 2010). Banana can also be used for treatment of stones in Kidney and urinary bladder, an extract from the core of the stem of banana plant is able to dissolve the stones in Urinary bladder and kidney (Kumar et al., 2012). Some kids have worm problem which is very dangerous for their health, eating banana can reduce these problems (Kumar et al., 2012). Some other benefits of banana include; Banana is widely used as an anti-wrinkle agent, a scrub made from the banana puree is very useful for it (Kumar et al., 2012). Beside the useful aspects there are some harmful aspects of banana to. As rich with carbohydrates and tryptophan it inspires sleepiness (Kumar et al., 2012). Consumption of banana with alcohol me influence the migraine headaches (Kumar et al., 2012). That is why is consumed throughout the world. As it is natural parthenocarpic (having no seed inside fruit) so this make it more valuable and convenient to consume.

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References:

  1. FAO, 2009
  2. Hugo Deneo- Pellegrini et al. Vegetables, fruits and colorectal cancer: A case control study from Uruguay. Nutrition and Cancer .1996; 25(30): 297-304.
  3. Kumar, K. P. S., Bhowmik, D., Duraivel, S. and Umadevi, M. 2012. Traditional and medicinal uses of banana. Journal Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 1: 51-63.
  4. Kaimal S et al. Hypolipidaemic and antioxidant effects of fruits of Musa AAA (Chenkadali) in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Indian J Exp Biol.2010; 48(2): 165-73.
  5. Lewis D A et al. A natural flavonoid present in unripe plantain banana pulp (Musa sapientum L. var. paradisiaca) protects the gastric mucosa from aspirininduced erosions. J Ethnopharmacol.1999; 65(3): 283-8.
  6. Liz Fajbar. IDRC and Medicinal Plants: Priority issues and Research needs – A summary document March 1997, pp1.
  7. Mukhopadhyay, S., Fangueiro, R., Yusuf, A. and Senturk, U. 2008. Banana fibresvariability and fracture behaviour. Journal Engineered Fibres and Fabrics, 3(2): 39- 45.
  8. Mohapatra, D., Mishra, S. and Sutar, N. 2010. Banana and its by-product utilization: an overview. Journal Scientific & Industrial Research, 69: 323-329.
  9. Rojas A et al. Screening for antimicrobial activity of crude drug extracts and pure natural products from Mexican medicinal plants, J. Ethnopharmacol.1992; 35: 127- 149.

Mujahid Ali

I am a PhD scholar in Institute of Horticultural Sciences, UAF and Visiting Lecturer in Horticulture Department in University of Sargodha.

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