The Banana Plant is technically a herb that can grow up to 9ft tall and are considered such as they do not develop woody trunk-like trees do, rather a succulent stalk or a pseudostem is formed.
They belong to the genus Musa and are an evolutionary marvel as the earlier banana fruit had a lot of od seeds as compared to the present day bananas which are seedless.
This was made possible with the countless effort of hundreds of cultivators who are mainly responsible for making the banana plant into the present-day wonder which is easy to grow and can be cultivated all over the world.
It is easy as one banana tree ensures numerous new banana plants due to its ability to constantly grow new rhizomes which grow into a new plant themselves through asexual reproduction.
There are more than 30 varieties of banana plants in India with the most popular being Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Monthan, Provan, Nendran, Red banana, Nyali, Safed Velchi, etc. among the cultivators.
In India, they are distinguished into two categories; the Desert banana and Plantains. Plantains, also called green bananas, contain more starch than sugar and are mostly cooked or fried when they are green.
Fried banana chips are a considerable delicacy and a crowd favorite. The desert types are mostly eaten when ripe and are a staple fruit diet as it contains 75% water, 23% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and contains negligible fat.
The Cavendish banana is most commonly sold in fruit shops in India as they are easy to grow and provide good quality and quantity.
The Banana Plant is called Kadazhi (Kadali) Suraksha in Sanskrit and has notable mentions in the sacred texts of India as Kadali plants, a variety of banana, mainly grown for temple offerings, are considered auspicious by the Hindus, particularly by the followers of Vishnu and Shiva, as the plant is believed to be the incarnation of Parvati, the wife of Shiva and Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu.
The banana fruit is offered by certain tribes of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh to gods Kittungsum and Mardisum and is used in all religious and marriage ceremonies.
All the parts of a banana plant have some use. In Thailand, the outer trunk of the banana plant is used to make strings. The fruit – has a mild laxative property so it is used as a remedy of constipation in children and is believed to be helpful in curing diarrhea and dysentery, and healing lesions in the intestine.
It is also used as a part of the diet of children suffering from malnutrition and is one of the best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function.
The core of the stem is believed to be useful in stomach upset and diabetes and is considered to be useful in dissolving the stones in the kidney and urinary bladder and in reducing weight. The inflorescence mixed with coconut oil and spices is used for flushing the urinary blocks.
The leaf is the most sacred and would find its usage in all Vedic rituals. It is also considered to be the holiest plate to have meals on, which is why even today many south Indians serve their food on Banana leaves.
The leaves are not eaten, but while steaming food some polyphenols are imparted to the food.
In fact, in various Puja ceremonies, the leaves are served as “Prasad”. It is believed that offering food on the Banana leaves pleases Lord Ganesha. And the Leaves after being used are fed to cows and buffaloes thus making it a complete biodegradable substitute to plates.
So now since you are well versed with all the goodness that a banana plant can bring into a home, when are you bring one for yourself?
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