Banana, plantain or Musa paradisiaca is a large, herbaceous plant native to India and Southeast Asia. Purple buds appear from the heart of the tip of the stem and develop into tubular, white flowers. Along with dietary fibers, proteins and unsaturated fatty acids, banana flowers are also rich in vitamin E and flavonoids. They are part of many cuisines in the world. They also possess immense medicinal value. However, there is no scientific information to determine the side effects and drug interactions of banana flower. It should, thus, be used only under the supervision of a doctor.
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Ethanol-based extracts of banana flowers inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Bacillus subtalis, Bacillus cereus, and Escherichia coli in the laboratory and may help heal wounds and prevent infections, says Mumtaz Jahan, author of a study published in a 2010 issue of the “Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research.” Another study published in the January 2011 edition of the journal “Parasitology Research” states that ethyl acetate extracts of banana flower may inhibit the growth of the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum in vitro. However, these benefits have not been proved in clinical studies.
Oral intake of 0.15 to 0.25 g per Kg of body weight of chloroform extracts of banana flowers for 30 days may significantly reduce the blood sugar levels and increase the total hemoglobin level in rats, as per the results of a study published in the March 2000 edition of the journal “Phytotherapy Research.” However, as with antimicrobial activity, the hypoglycemic effects of banana flowers have not been proved clinically. It is important to talk to a doctor determine the dosage that is right for you.
Methanol extracts of banana flowers possess antioxidant properties and thereby stabilize the free radicals formed as a result of various metabolic processes in the body. If the free radicals are not neutralized, their unstable electrons react with the DNA and proteins of human cells and alter their properties. This can lead to several chronic conditions, including cancer and heart disease. The authors of a study published in October 2010 issue of the journal “Food Science and Biotechnology” recommend the use of banana flower extracts to make health supplements due to its antioxidant potential.
Consuming one cooked banana flower with one cup of curd or yogurt is one of the most efficient way of treating excessive bleeding during menstruation, says the website Himalayan Home Remedies. The cooked banana flower and curd combination increases the level of progesterone in the body and thereby reduces bleeding associated with menorrhagia.