Philippine Herbal Medicine


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Philippine Banana Plant

Banana plant with fruits
The banana plant is not a tree but is an herb belonging to the Musaceae family. Bananas don't have a woody trunk like a tree but has what is called a "pseudostem". Both the plant and the fruit are called bananas. This perennial plant is native to southeast Asia but now grows worldwide specially in the tropics. Bananas can grow up to 8 meters tall but the average height is between 3 and 5 meters.
There are many varieties of bananas but generally, they can be categorized into sweet bananas (yellow when ripe) and the cooking bananas (green). Most bananas traded worldwide are of the sub-group of the sweet variety called: Cavendish - mainly because of its long shelf life.

In some African, South American and Asian countries, green bananas serve as a staple food, (akin to potatoes) specially in poor agricultural areas where bananas serve as the staple while waiting for the harvest season. Worldwide, bananas rank 4th as the most consumed food after rice, wheat and corn.

A banana plant bears only one bunch in its lifespan, before it dies, offshoots grow from the "rhizome" -the base of the pseudostem. A bunch consist of clusters with up to 20 tiers - a tier is called a hand with up to 20 banana fruits in each hand.
Eaten raw or cooked, bananas are very nutritious. It is a good source of carbohydrates, fibre, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Products made from the banana plant:

-Banana Chips - both the green and yellow bananas can be used to produce banana chips but green is preferable. The fruit is pealed, thinly sliced (sometimes brown sugar id added) then fried.

-Banana Flour - the fruit (any variety) is dried then is grounded into powder and used as flour. The flour can be made into banana bread, cakes, etc.

-Banana Alcohol - bananas are allowed to ripe, juiced, then fermented. The beer like beverage, which is low in alcohol content is popular in Eastern and Central Africa.

-Banana Catsup - instead of tomatoes, the banana is used to make catsup, in the Philippines, banana catsup is commercially produced for domestic consumption & for export for many years.

-Banana Clothing - the fibre from the trunk of the banana or pseudostem is dried, processed, dyed and made into exotic clothing. In 2002 a Japanese company, Nisshinbo Industries introduced a denim like clothing made from the stems of bananas. Clothing made from banana fibers can "breath", absorbs water well and is easy to dry.

In addition to the above, bananas are also made into purée, juices and shakes. Banana fibers are made into different types of products. In many countries, banana fibers are made into: bags, hats, belts, paper, shoes, slippers, picture frames, place mats, greeting cards, fashion accessories, home decor and countless other products.

Philippine banana plant industry:

The world production of bananas per year is valued (estimate) at US$ 5 Billion. The Philippines is the 5th largest exporter of bananas in the world after India, Ecuador, Brazil and China (2002 figures). The Philippines produces a about 3.5 metric tons of bananas (est. value U.S. 700 Million in 2004) and yearly exports more than US$ 200 Million worth of bananas. This is made possible because of the favorable climate in the Philippines and that 382,491 hectares or half of the Philippines' land area planted with fruits are planted with bananas.

Banana production not only earns much needed dollars for the country but more importantly, it generates employment to thousands of Filipinos and greatly contributes to the Philippine economy.


Other Herbal & Non-Herbal Medicine: Philippine Plants, Fruits & Trees

Abaca Plant | Avocado | Atis Fruit | Banana Plant | Barako Coffee | Coconut Palm Tree | Durian Fruit | Guyabano Fruit | Mango Tree | Mangosteen | Papaya Fruit | Pineapple Nutrition Fact | Rubber Tree | Tomato Nutrition | Tuba-Tuba Plant - Jatropha

Key to Nutritional Healing | Philippine Medicinal Plants List




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