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Family Musaceae
Musa sapientum Linn.

Da jiao

Scientific names  Common names 
Musa paradisiaca Linn.  Banana (Engl.) 
Musa sapientum Linn. Kela (Hindi)
Musa rosacea N. J. von Jaquin. Saging (Tag., C. Bis.)
Da jiao (Chin.) Platano (Span.)
  Fen ba jiao (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
BURMESE: Taw nget byaw.
FRENCH: Banane cultivée, Bananier des sages, Bananier commun.
GERMAN: Adamsfeige, Dessertbanane, Jamaicabanane, Obstbanane.
ITALIAN: Banana comune, Banano comune, Fico d'Adamo.
MALAY: Biu, Cau, Gedang, Puti, Kulo, Pisang.
SPANISH: Banana, Bananeira, Guineo, Plátano.
TAMIL: Vaazhai, Vaazhaipoo (flower).
TELUGU: Arati, Artipandu, Kadala.
THAI: Kluai.

The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. The main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem, growing from a corm, to a height of 6 to 7.6 meters. Leaves are spirally arranged, as long as 2.7 meters and 60 cm wide, fragile and easily torn by wind, with the familiar frond look. Each pseudostem produces a single bunch of bananas; the pseudostem dies after fruiting, as offshoots usually develop from the base of the plant. Each pseudostem produces a single inflorescence, the banana heart, containing many bracts between rows of flowers. The banana fruits develop from the heart, in a hanging cluster made up of tiers (hands), up to 20 fruit to a tier.

Cultivated throughout the Philippines in many varieties.

• Juice of the flower-stem contains potash, soda, lime, magnesia, alumina, chlorine, sulfuric anhydride, silica and carbon anhydride.
High potassium content - a medium banana contains about 450 mg of potassium. (Because of potassium homeostasis in the body, 40K ingested is balanced by 40K potassium excreted. The net dose of a banana is zero.)
• Preliminary phytochemical screening of fresh steam juice yielded vitamin B, oxalic acid, sulphate, vitamin C, starch, tannin, glycosides, phenolic compounds, gum mucilage.
• Study yielded 6 triterpenes:
6 triterpenes: cyclomusalenol, cyclomusalenone, 24-methylenecycloartanol, stigmast-7-methylenecycloartanol, stigmast-7-en-3-ol, lanosterol, and a-amyrin and eight flavonoids.
- Mineral content and nutritional value of varieties (lakatan, latundan, saba, and bungalan) showed the carbohydrate content to exceed 25%.

Image insert
- Bunch of bananas with "puso" - male inflorescence.

• Demulcent, nutrient, cooling, astringent, antiscorbutic, antifebrile, restorative, emmenagogue, cardialgic, styptic.
• The ripe fruit is laxative, demiulcent, and nutrient.
• Unripe fruit is cooling and astringent.
• Dried fruit considered antiscorbutic.
• Root is antibilious and alterative.
• Juice of the plant is styptic.

• Because of its high potassium content, bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more than other fruits.
• Good sources of vitamin A, fair sources of vitamin B, and good sources of vitamin C. All are deficient in calcium and phosphorus, and only fair in iron.
• Studies have attributed biologic activities: antiulcerogenic, antidiabetic, antiatherogenic, antidiarrheic, antitumoral, antimutagenic, antihypertensive.

Parts used
Leaves, fruit.

Edibility / Nutritional
- The "puso" (male inflorescence) of saba is extensively used as a vegetable.
- Unripe fruit is sugared and candied.
- Ripe fruits also used in making brandy, rum, and wine.
- Rich in vitamins A, B, and C; a fair source of iron.
• Young leaves used for cool dressing of inflamed and blistered surfaces and as cool application for headaches.
• Powdered roots used for anemia and cachexia.
• Mucilage prepared from seeds used for catarrhal and mild inflammatory forms of diarrhea.
• Juice of tender roots used as mucilage for checking hemorrhages from the genitalia and air passages.
• In China, juice of roots used as antifebrile and restorative.
• Juice of the trunk applied to scalp to increase hair growth and prevent hair from falling.
• In West Africa, used for diarrhea.
• In Gambia, sap of inflorescence used for earaches.
• In French Guiana, flowers used as emmenagogue.
• In the Gold Coast, sap from roots given as enema for diarrhea.
• In Cambodia, Java and Malaya, juice from trunk used for dysentery and diarrhea.
• Juice from flowers, mixed with curds, for dysmenorrhea and menorrhagia.
• Flour made of green bananas used for dyspepsia with flatulence and acidity.
• Ripe fruit, mixed with half its weight in tamarinds and a little salt, is a valuable food in chronic dysentery and diarrhea,
• Cooked flower used for diabetes. Flowers also used as cardialgic.
• Sap of the flower used for earaches.
• In Western Ghat in India, leaves are used for bandaging cuts, blisters and ulcers.
• Ripe bananas combined with tamarind and common salt used for dysentery.
• In traditional medicine in India, used for diabetes.
• In South-Western Nigeria, green fruits used for diabetes.

Papermaking / Clothing: Plant fibers used in the manufacture of paper and clothes. A related species, Musa textilis (Abaca, Manila hemp) is produced on a commercial scale for its fiber use in the manufacture of paper.
Wrapping / Cooking: Leaves used for wrapping food for cooking.

• Leaves used for polishing floors, lining pots for cooking rice.

Hypoglycemic / Flowers: Study on the chloroform extract of M sapientum flowers showed hypoglycemic activity with significant reduction of blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin and improvement in glucose tolerance.
Hypoglycemic/ Fruits:
Study on the green fruits of M paradisiaca indicate it possesses hypoglycemic activity and lends credence to its Nigerian folkloric use for diabetes.
(1) Musa sapientum flower extract showed improved antioxidant activity in diabetics. (2) A study of extracts of M. sapientum var. sylvesteris showed concentration-dependent scavenging effects, with antioxidant activity stronger than that of vitamin C.
Study on the unripe plantain extract of M sapientum and unripe pawpaw meal showed alteration of the gastric phospholipid profile and through a prostaglandin pathway may have a profound effect on the gastroduodenal mucosa and implications for gastric and duodenal ulcers in rabbits.
Flowers / Antihyperglycemic / Antioxidant:
Study showed banana flower extract to have an antihyperglycemic action and antioxidant properties, comparatively more effective than glibenclamide.
Study of the aqueous and ethanolic extract of Musa sapientum showed central analgesic action.
Wound healing:
Study of aqueous and methanolic extracts of Musa sapientum showed wound healing properties through increased wound breaking strength, reduced glutathione, decrease percentage of wound area, scar area and lipid peroxidation. Wound healing was probably through antioxidant effect and various biochemical parameters.
Anti-Ulcer Activity:
Study of dried powder of banana pulp showed anti-ulcerogenic activity, esp in the unripe, mature green plantain banana (var. paradisiaca).
Banana Peels Phytochemicals:
Study showed the peel can be a good source of carbohydrates and fiber. The study of anti-nutrients showed generally low values except for saponins. Study suggests, properly processed and exploited, the peel could be a good source of livestock feed, providing a high quality and cheap source of carbohydrates and minerals.
Antimicrobial Activity:
(1) Study of ethanolic extracts of unripe bananas, lemon grass and turmeric showed antimicrobial activity at stock concentrations. Unripe bananas showed a high antimicrobial activity against all test organisms. (2) Ethanol extract of Musa sapientum showed antibacterial activity against the tested microorganisms - Gram-positive and Gram-negative bateria (B. subtilis, B. cereus, and E coli.)
Anti-Helicobacter pylori / Anti-Internalisation Activity:
In a study of 9 Thai plant extracts used for gastric ailments, Musa sapientum and Allium sativum showed marked anti-internalisation and present a potential benefit in H pylori , prevention eradication, therapy and avoidance of antibiotic resistance.
Study in mice showed AMS prevented convulsions possibly through prevention of inhibition of vitamin B6 metabolism with subsequent increase in GABA synthesis in the CNS or due to facilitatory effect on GABAergic neurons - an effect mediated by the antioxidant potential of phytoconstituents present in the AMS.
Indigenous Antiulcer Activity / Leucocyanidin:
Study investigated the anti-ulcerogenic activity of an aqueous extract of M. sapientum. Study yielded an active compound--a monomeric flavonoid, leucocyanidin, that showed anti-ulcerogenic activity, in congruous with standard drug esomeprazole.
Antioxidant / Antibacterial /Hemagglutination Inhibition:
Study of methanolic extract of leaves of M. sapientum var. Sylvesteris showed antioxidant and antibacterial activity in vitro. It also showed hemagglutination inhibition activities and hydrogen peroxide induced hemolysis inhibition activity of human red blood cells.
Antimicrobial / Cytotoxicity:
A methanolic extract of M. sapientum L subsp. sylvestris showed good antimicrobial activity the pulp, moderate activity with the peel, and insignificant activity with the seed. On cytotoxicity evaluation using Brine Shrimp Lethality, pulp>seed>peel.

Wild-crafted and commercial cultivation. 
Tinctures and capsules in the cybermarket.

Last Update April 2013

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Hypoglycaemic effect of Musa sapientum L. in alloxan-induced diabetic rats / L Pari and J Uma Maheswari / Journal of Ethnopharmacology .Vol 68, Issues 1-3, 15 December 1999, Pages 321-325 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00088-4
Hypoglycemic effect of methanolic extract of Musa paradisiaca (Musaceae) green fruits in normal and diabetic mice
Phospholipid Profile of the Stomach and Duodenum of Normal Rabbits Fed with Supplement of Unripe Pawpaw and Unripe plantain (M sapientum) Extract / Journ Appl Scienes. 7(22):3536-3541,2007 / ISSN 1812-5654
Antihyperglycaemic activity of Musa sapientum flowers: effect on lipid peroxidation in alloxan diabetic rats / L Pari and J Umamaheswari / Phytotherapy Research • Volume 14 Issue 2, Pages 136 - 138/
To study analgesic activity of stem of Musa sapientum linn. / Ingale Suvarna et al / Journal of Pharmacy Research 2009, 2(9),1381-1382 /
Evaluation of wound healing activity of extracts of plantain banana (Musa sapientum var. paradisiaca) in rats / P K Agarwal et al / Indian Journ of Experimental Biology • Vol 47, Jan 2009, pp 32-40 /
/ R K Goel and K Sairam / Indian Journal of Pharmacology 2002; 34: 100-110
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF MUSA SAPIENTUM (BANANA) PEELS/ Anhwange B A et al / Anhwange, B. A. et al. EJEAFChe, 8 (6), 2009. [437-442] /
Evaluation of the antimicrobial properties of unripe banana (Musa sapientum L.), lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus S) and turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) / Fagbemi, Josephine Ferdinand et al / African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 8 (7), pp. 1176-1182, 6 April, 2009
Anti-Helicobacter pylori and anti-internalisation activities of Thai folk remedies used to treat gastric ailments / Chaichanawongsaroj N et al / 19th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases / Helsinki, Finland May 2009 /
Concentration influence on antimicrobial activity of banana blossom extract-incorporated chitosan-polyethylene glycol (CS-PEG) blended film
/ Mumtaz Jahan, Warsi MK, Fehmeeda Khatoon / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2010, 2(5):373-378
Banana / Wikipedia
Banana equivalent dose / Wikipedia
/ Anupama Ravindra Dashetwar / Journal of Herbal and Medicinal Plants, Vol 1, No 1, 2011
Indigenous anti-ulcer activity of Musa sapientum on peptic ulcer. / Prabha P, Karpagam T, Varalakshmi B, Packiavathy AS. / Pharmacognosy Res. 2011 Oct;3(4):232-8. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.89742.
Medicinal activities of the leaves of Musa sapientum var. sylvesteris in vitro / Repon Kumer Sahaa*, Srijan Acharyaa, Syed Sohidul Haque Shovon, Priyanka Royb / Asian Pac J Trop Biomed 2013; 3(6): 476-482
ANTIMICROBIAL AND CYTOTOXIC PROPERTIES OF DIFFERENT EXTRACTS OF MUSA SAPIENTUM L. SUBSP. SYLVESTRIS / ByImam Mohammad Zafar, Akter Saleha, Mazumder Md. Ehsanul Hoque and Rana Md. Sohel / International Research Journal of Pharmacy, 2011
BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES of Musa SPECIES Musa / İlkay ORHAN / J. Fac. Pharm., Ankara, 30(1)39-50,2001
Musa xparadisiaca L. (accepted name) / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China
Sorting Musa names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.

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