The banana that we eat with our morning cereal has been used as a medicine around the world for centuries. Known in Latin as Musa sapienta, the banana is not actually a fruit but an herbaceous perennial. Alone and combined with healing botanicals, the banana can be used to heal ulcers and asthma, or to cure cataracts and other eye problems. Research has now shown that bananas can lower blood pressure as well as prevent colon cancer. Full of many nutrients and fiber, the banana is not only a food, but also a potent medicine.
Nutrients and Vitamins in Bananas
Bananas contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin G. They contain the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. Calcium and magnesium are needed for strong bones and to prevent insomnia. And studies have shown that selenium prevents both cancer and thyroid problems. Potassium is necessary for the function of every human cell, as well as the cells of every living plant and animal. The daily recommended intake is 4.7 grams, and one banana alone provides over 450 mgs of potassium. A single banana provides a third of the RDA of vitamin B6.
Blood Pressure Lowering Banana Research
A study in India showed that two bananas a week reduced blood pressure by 10%. Conducted at the Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, India, researchers compared the action of two bananas to other hypertension drugs, called ACE-inhibitors. The bananas showed the same blood pressure lowering action, without the side effects of the drugs, which can include dizziness, headaches, and birth defects. Ripe bananas showed a better action than unripe ones. In other research, seven bananas a day were shown to lower blood pressure.
Bananas in combination with the African herb orinol are used to treat cataracts in Nigeria. For stomach ulcers, the peel of the banana is used for a permanent cure. The Dali Medical Centre in Cape Town, South Africa reputedly uses bananas with soy milk and herbs to treat cataracts as well.
Banana Fibre for Health
Bananas contain a type of fibre called pectin. Pectin has been found to be the best type of fibre to inhibit colon cancer. Pectin is a soluble fibre, as differentiated from insoluble fibre found in most whole grains. Pectin is also contained in apples and potatoes. One banana contains two grams of fibre, nearly ten per cent of the recommended daily dose, which is twenty-five grams.