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What Are the Benefits of Banana Leaves?

by
author image Emma Watkins
Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.
What Are the Benefits of Banana Leaves?
Banana leaves as placemats. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Banana plants are herbaceous perennials. They are mostly foliage, with stems made of rolled leaf layers. The plant leaves, which are up to 9 feet long and 2 feet wide, unfurl from these stalks. Banana plants are a common fruit crop. In some areas, gardeners grow them for ornamental reasons. But banana leaves also offer nutritional and medicinal benefits in addition to having other value.

For Meals

The wrapped banana leaves that form the plant's stem contain starch, which is extracted through a fermentation or cooking process. People in some parts of the world use the resulting flour for baking. The starch is also cooked into glue.

For Healing

As a home remedy, banana-leaf poultices help to heal burns and other skin irritations, according to Purdue University, which adds that individuals suffering from, ulcers, diarrhea or dysentery may ingest the leaf ashes as a treatment for their condition. Check with your doctor before trying this approach.

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For Cooking

According to an article on the website ReadersDigestVersion, banana leaves tenderize meat during the cooking process. The practice, common in Asian countries, is to wrap the food in the banana leaf and tie it with string before grilling, baking or steaming the dish. In some countries, people use banana leaves for lining cooking pits and for wrapping food, according to Purdue University. The banana foliage also becomes makeshift plates and placemats.

For Protection

People in South America and other areas of the world use banana leaves to block the rain and to provide protection from the hot sun, according to Purdue University

For the Garden and Beyond

Chopped up banana leaves, including the plant's stem, serve as mulching material. Whole leaves protect other crops from the hot sun. People fold banana leaves into planters, use it as heavy-duty paper or use the fiber to make rope, string and baskets. Ecuadorians uses the leaves for seat cushions; West Africans makes fishing lines with the fiber. In the Philippines, people weave banana leaves into clothing; in Ceylon, they use the leaves to make the soles of shoes.

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References

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