Banana flowers and leaves
Common names: Bananas Plantains
Taxonomic name: Musa species, Ensele species
Uses: Food, wound healing, diarrhoea
Area of origin: Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea, Australia
Bananas (Musa sapientum and other species) are a herb with a myriad of uses, tasty fruit being only one of them. It’s a herb because it doesn’t have a woody stem. There’s something else interesting about Bananas – the fruit that we eat isn’t a fruit but a berry!
We use the leaves as plates for impromptu meals, they can also be used to steam other vegetables in. The flower makes a delicious meal when combined with coconut milk, called ‘Pusong ginataan’ in the Philippines
The juice of the flower stem is highly nutritious, being filled with all kinds of goodies. Unripe fruits are highly astringent (I dare you to eat one!) and are used to settle upset stomachs, acidity and diarrhoea.
Being highly astringent, practically any part of the plant can be applied to wounds to stop bleeding, while the juice of the roots can be used to stop diarrhoea and wasting away from lack of appetite (though how can you lack an appetite when there’s bananas around?).