BANANA Overview Information
Banana is a fruit that grows near tropical rainforests. All parts of the plant, including the fruit, leaves, "false stem," stem, flowers, and roots, can be used as medicine. In North America, most of the available bananas are from one specific variety. However, there are many varieties available around the world. Bananas have been grown as crops for thousands of years.
Parts of the banana are used for low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia), constipation, and diarrhea. They are also used for diabetes, high cholesterol, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
How does it work?
Banana contains chemicals and sugars. Some of these sugars act like fiber, which can help to regulate the gastrointestinal system. The chemicals might act like antioxidants and decrease swelling. Bananas also contain potassium and other vitamins and minerals.
Possibly Effective for:
- Diarrhea. In young children, cooked green bananas reduce symptoms of diarrhea due to various causes. In adults fed with a tube, adding banana flakes to liquid feeds reduces symptoms of diarrhea.
- Athletic performance. It is not clear if banana helps with exercise performance. It is possible that consuming banana helps to increase the length of time someone can exercise if the exercise is at least 2 hours in length. It might also help people to move faster. It is possible that the benefits from banana are due to its carbohydrate content, not the banana itself.
- Burns. Early research suggests that using banana leaf as a dressing for burns, in combination with povidone iodine, promotes healing. A banana leaf dressing seems to be more effective for skin healing than a Vaseline gauze dressing.
- Constipation. Early research in children with constipation shows that eating cooked green bananas seems to reduce pain and straining during bowel movements. In children with constipation who take laxatives, eating cooked green bananas might help to reduce how much laxative is needed.
- Diabetes. In patients with type 2 diabetes, early research shows that banana starch might help with weight loss in overweight patients. However, banana starch does not seem to improve blood sugar or cholesterol levels.
- Muscle soreness caused by exercise. Early research in cyclists shows that consuming carbohydrates from mini-yellow bananas might reduce muscle soreness and cramping after cycling.
- High cholesterol. Early research in people with high levels of cholesterol in the blood shows that dried banana might reduce levels of cholesterol and improve levels of blood sugar.
- Obesity. It is not clear if banana helps with weight loss in people that are obese. Some research suggests that banana starch might help with weight loss and blood sugar control, but not all research agrees.
- Illness from a Shigella bacteria infection (shigellosis). Early research in children with shigellosis shows that eating cooked green bananas reduces symptoms of diarrhea and reduces the amount of blood and mucus in the stool.
- Abnormally heavy bleeding during menstrual periods (menorrhagia).
- Asthma and wheezing.
- Birth control.
- Discharge from the vagina (leukorrhea).
- Diseases of the airways.
- Eye problems.
- Genital sores.
- High blood pressure.
- Insect bite.
- Joint pain.
- Kidney stones.
- Long-term swelling (inflammation) in the digestive tract (inflammatory bowel disease or IBD).
- Low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia).
- Low levels of red blood cells (anemia).
- Poor blood circulation.
- Quitting smoking.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Skin ulcers.
- Snake bites.
- Starting labor.
- Stomach ulcers.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the vagina (vaginitis).
- Vitamin A deficiency.
- Wound healing.
- Other conditions.
BANANA Side Effects & Safety
When taken by mouth: Bananas are LIKELY SAFE in the amounts typically eaten as food. Side effects to banana are rare but may include bloating, gas, cramping, softer stools, nausea, and vomiting. In very high doses, bananas might cause high blood levels of potassium. Some people are allergic to banana. There isn't enough reliable information to know if it is safe to use banana as a medicine or what the side effects might be.
When applied to the skin: The leaves of banana are POSSIBLY SAFE when applied appropriately, short-term. Some people are allergic to banana. There isn't enough reliable information to know if other parts of the banana plant are safe or what the side effects might be.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if banana is safe to use in medicinal amounts when pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid amounts greater than those typically eaten as food.
Latex allergy: People who are sensitive to latex are more likely to have an allergic reaction to banana.
- For diarrhea: 1-3 tablespoons of banana flakes (Kanana Banana, Corpak Co) every 8 hours in a feeding tube for 7 days.
- For diarrhea: 50-300 grams of cooked green bananas every day for up to 14 days in children aged 6-60 months. These children also received standard care and antibiotics as needed.