Banana (Kela, Kala)
It is an important fruit consumed extensively throughout the tropics, where it is grown and also valued in temperate zones for its flavour, food value and availability throughout the year.
Banana belongs to the genus Musa of the family Musaceae. The plant, a gigantic herb springing from an underground stem or rhizome, forms a false trunk 3 to 6 metres (10 to 20 ft.) high composed of the leaf sheaths and crowned with a rosette of 10 to 20 oblong to elliptic leaves sometimes attaining a length of 3 to 3-1/2 metres (10 to 11-1/2 ft.) and a breadth of 650 millimetres (26 inches).
The large flower spike carrying numerous yellowish flowers emerges at the top of the false trunk and bends downwards to become bunches of 50 to 150 individual fruits in clusters or hands of 10 to 20. After the plants have fruited, they die and are replaced by others arising from the underground stem. The life of one stool or clump thus continues for many years.
There are 100 or more varieties of banana in cultivation; confusion exists because of diverse names applied to one and the same variety in different parts of the world.
Desirable commercial bunches of bananas consist of nine hands or more and weigh 22 to 65 kg. The ripe fruit contains as much as 22% carbohydrates, mainly as sugar and is high in ash, low in protein and fat and a good source of vitamin C.
Cooking varieties or plantains differ from other bananas in that the ripe fruit is starchy rather than sweet. The fruit is demulcent, aphrodisiac and stomachic. As an astringent, it is given in dysentery. An ounce of the ripe fruit mixed with tamarind and salt is a household remedy in early cases of diarrhoea and dysentery. The fruit is also useful to relieve soreness of throat and chest accompanied with dry cough. It is also taken to correct irritability of the bladder. The ripe fruit is a mild laxative. The unripe fruit is very good for all sorts of stomach and liver troubles, including gastric ulcer. The flour of the dried fruit is prescribed in diarrhoea, dysentery and dyspepsia. The unripe fruit is very useful in diabetes and spitting of blood.
The juice of the flowers is given with curds in menorrhagia and diabetes. Those who are suffering, from cough and cold, dyspepsia, obesity and diabetes should not eat the ripe fruit. The unripe fruit can be eaten boiled, stewed and in curries etc.
Benefit and uses of Banana.
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