Plantain, Banana Uses, Research, Remedies, Side Effects

Kadali- Musa paradisiaca is mentioned in Ayurveda for the treatment of cholera, hysteria, bleeding disorders, seminal debility, vaginal discharge, burning sensation, general debility. 

Latin name- Musa paradisiaca Linn.
Family- Musaceae

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Kela, amrit, kachkula,kela,maozkula
English name- Banana tree, Plantain
Gujarati name- Kela
Kannada name- Bale gida
Malayalam name- Palam, etavale, ettakaya, kadalam.
Marathi name- Kela
Telugu name- Aratichettu, amritapany, ananti, kadali, batisa, bontarati.
Tamil name- Valakkai. Banana flower – Valapoo, stem – Valathandu
Persian name – darakhte-mouz, mouz,talh.
Arab name – mouz,shajratul-mouz.
Marathi name – kadali, kel, kela.

Morphology of Musa paradisiaca:
The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. All the above-ground parts of a banana plant grow from a structure usually called a “corm”. Plants are normally tall growing to a height of 1-4 m and are often mistaken for trees, but what appears to be a trunk is actually a “false stem” or pseudostem. The leaves of banana plants are composed of a “stalk” (petiole) and a blade (lamina). When a banana plant is mature, the corm stops producing new leaves and begins to form a flower spike or inflorescence. A stem develops which grows up inside the pseudostem, carrying the immature inflorescence until eventually it emerges at the top. Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the “banana heart”. The fruit is variable in size, color and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. There are many varieties of banana and are found all over the Indian sub- continent in the temperate climate.
Read related: 8 Banana Remedies With Fruit, Stem, Leaf, Rhizome And Flower
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet), Kashaya (Astringent)
Guna (Qualities) – Guru (Heavy for digestion), Snigdha (Slimy in nature)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Karma (Actions) – Vatapitta shamaka (reduces vitiated vata and pitta dosha), Kaphavardak (Increases kapha dosha)
Read related: Banana flower Sabji For Pitta Balance, Stomach Pain, Worms [Video]

Karma: Since heavy for digestion not to be consumed by persons with low digestive agni; provides instant energy soon after ingestion; appeases the hunger in person with strong digestive agni; provides nourishment.

Varieties of plantain and banana and their qualities:
There are many sub varieties of plantain and Bananas. All in all, more sweet the fruit is,
– more kapha increasing it is,
– heavier to digest
– more Pitta and Vata balancing
– more unsuitable during cough, cold and asthma.
– more suitable during gastritis, burning sensation, constipation, bloating.

Part used- Fruit, Stem, Flower
Juice of stem- 10 to 20 ml
Ash of stem- 1-2 g
Chemical composition of Musa paradisiaca:
The ripened fruit of Banana contains about 22% sugar, starch, albuminoid, Vitamin C, B and A. An anti-ulcerogenic acylsteryl glycoside, sitoindoside IV, has been isolated from unripe banana. A pectin containing hexoses (32.4%) and uronic acid (52.5%) has been isolated from the pith of the stem.
Read related: Banana Milkshake Remedy For Tiredness And Fatigue

Medicinal uses of banana: 

  • The pulp of the fruit and flowers of kadali is applied over burnt injuries as part of treatment.
  • The juice of banana stem is given in a dose of 20-25 ml to treat renal calculi and leucorrhea.
  • In conditions of dysuria, the paste of the root of rhizome of Musa paradisiaca is applied over the lower abdominal area.
  • In cases of skin infection and eczema, the ash of burnt stem of banana plant is mixed with turmeric powder and applied over the affected area.
  • The ripened fruit of Kadali is given in dry cough but can be avoided in productive cough.
  • Fresh juice from the stem of Musa paradisiaca is given in a dose of 15-20 ml to treat cases of hysteria, burning sensation and dehydration.
  • The fresh juice of the stalk of Banana plant acts as antidote for morphine and arsenic toxicity.
  • The ripened fruit of banana is beneficial to treat cases of seminal debility, vaginal discharge and general debility.
  • The stem of the Kadali plant is eaten raw or made into salad and consumed to treat cases of constipation and burning sensation during micturition.
  • Raw banana is given to treat cases of cholera.
  • The flowers of banana is consumed to treat hyperacidity.
  • Raw and ripened banana is used for many culinary items and desserts all over the world.

Banana uses as per Ayurveda:
Ripe banana / plantain Fruit:
Guru – heavy to digest
Hima – coolant
Snigdha – unctuous, oily
Svadu – sweet
Vrushya – aphrodisiac, improves vigor
Brumhana – nourishing, nutritious
banana fruit indicated in –
Pittasra – Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Kshatakshaya – chest injury
Kshut – excess hunger
Trut – excessive thirst
Pittasra – Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Daha –  burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc.
Instantly increases sperm / semen production

Kantida – improves skin tone and complexion
Durjara – takes a long time to undergo digestion

Black banana fruit:
Ruchya – improves taste, relieves anorexia.
Kashaya – astringent
Madhura – sweet

Indicated in –
Meha – diabetes, urinary tract disorders
Pitta disorders
Trushna – excessive thirst
Vatala – increases Vata Dosha
Brimhana – improves weight
Laghu – light to digest

Banana stem:
Guru – heavy to digest
Sheeta – coolant
Balances Kapha Pitta Dosha
Indicated in –
Yonidosha – gynecological disorders
Asra – blood disorders such as abscess, skin disorders, bleeding disorders such as menorrhagia, nasal bleeding etc.
Karnashoola – Earache
Rajodosha – gynecological disorders
Keshya – Improves hair strength, promotes hair growth
Amlapitta – acidity, gastritis, acid peptic disorder

Rambha Toya – juice extract from stem:
Sheetala – coolant
Grahi – absorbent, useful in diarrhea, IBS
Indicated in –
Trushna – excessive thirst
Mutrakrichra –Dysuria, urinary retention
Meha – diabetes, urinary tract disorders
Karnaroga – ear disorders
Atisara – diarrhoea, dysentery
Sphotaka – boils
Asthisrava – deep abscess
Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Daha –  burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc
Banana inflorescnence  / Banana flower benefits:
Tikta – bitter
kashaya – astringent
Grahi – absorbent, useful in diarrhea, IBS
Deepana – improves digestion strength
Ushna Veerya (potency) – hot
Kaphahara – balances Kapha, useful in productive cough, asthma, bronchitis, chest congestion

Raw banana fruit benefits:
Indicated in –
Trushna – excessive thirst
Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Akshiroga – eye disorders
Prameha – Urinary tract disorders, diabetes
Rakta Atisara – diarrhoea, dysentery with bleeding
Jwara – fever

Semi ripe banana fruit:
Ishat Kashaya Madhura – slightly sweet and astringent

Side effects of Banana:
Ripe fruit takes long time to digest and can increase Kapha. Hence, it is not ideal during low digestion strength, during cold, cough and asthma.
Ayurvedic medicines containing Kadali:
Kshara taila: It is a herbal oil, used externally in the treatment of tinnitus, ear ache, hearing loss, worm infestation etc.
Balamritam: It is widely used as a general tonic for children. It promotes growth, immunity and appetite in children. It is a fermented Ayurvedic product.

Panaviraladi bhasma: It is a ayurvedic medicine used in the treatment of edema and ascites. It is in powder form.
Himasagara taila: It is an Ayurvedic oil used in various neuro-muscular conditions, locomotor problems, chest injury, emaciation, muscle wasting, locked jaw, frozen neck, frozen shoulder, speech difficulties and Vata diseases.

Madana Kameshwari lehya: This formulation helps to improve sperm count, improves sperm and semen quality and quantity. It is a good natural aphrodisiac. This keeps the mind active, helps to forget worries, and maintain enthusiasm.
Vasant kusumakar Rasa: This is a medicine used in treatment of diabetes, diseases related to urinary tract, memory loss etc.

C- Health granule: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine. It promotes overall health and provides sense of well-being. It reduces cellular damage caused by free radicals and reduces physical exhaustion and mental stress.
Research articles related to Musa paradisiaca:
Anti- urolithiatic property: The objective of investigation was to evaluate urolithiatic property of Musa stem juice. By the three month invitro analysis it was proven that the Musa stem juice is effective to dissolve kidney stone.  The experiment is carried out in in-vitro condition.

Biological activities of Banana flower: In the present study we have evaluated the anti- oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity activities of banana flower extract. From the results obtained, it can be concluded that the flower extract of banana revealed promising antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-obese effects due to significant total phenol content.

The ethanolic extracts and the hexane and chloroform fractions of leaves and fruit peels showed promising anti-diabetic activity in STZ-s model. Further the isolated compounds from the active fractions did not show the anti-diabetic activity.

Anti- ulcer activity: The aqueous extract of leaves of Musa paradisiaca was prepared by hot maceration and then it was subjected to preliminary phytochemical investigation. Then antiulcer efficacy of aqueous extract of leaves of Musa paradisiaca at 250 and 1000 mg/kg dose level was evaluated by aspirin induced model. The aqueous extract at both the dose levels was found to possess significant antiulcer activity in this model.

Anti- hypertensive action: This study was done earlier in Musa paradisiaca in albino rats. Later scientists reported that banana diet can reduce mean arterial blood pressure as well as onset preventing effect in rats with elevated blood pressure treated by desoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA). Apart from effect in blood pressure, banana inhibits atherosclerosis and gallstones in vivo.
Classical categorization:
Sushruta Samhita- Lodhradi gana
Dhanvantari Nighantu- Karaveeradi varga
Bhavaprakasha- Amradi phala varga, Shaka varga
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu- Vihara varga
Raja Nighantu- Amradi varga

Sanskrit Synonyms of Kadali:
Swaduphala- Fruits are sweet
Deergapatra- The leaves are big
Bruhatpushpa- The flowers are big
Palashika – having big leaves similar to Palasha  – Butea monosperma
Amrit- The plant and fruits are beneficial to body like panacea
Hastibusa, Hasti Vishanika – loved by elephants
Rambha, Sukumar, Amshumati
Kalirasa, , Rambha, Viramshumat Phala, Charmanvati, Bhanuphala, Mocha,
Mukta Sara, Granthini, Kasthalika,

Author:  Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
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  1. It is valathandu or valapoo in tamil not valakkai

  2. dear sir
    what should be the time gap for eating bananas and milk.
    also banans available in the market are artificially baked ..aren’t they injurious to health.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Banana from a good source is healthy.
      If one is suffering from cold and cough, then it is best to maintain at least an hour gap between banana and milk.

  3. but sir all over rajasthan bananas available are baked using calcium carbide..can it be it on safer side…i have planted my own banana plants but they will take a years time to fruit..i need ur expert advice..plz guide

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