|Plantain is native to Southeast
Asia and India and cultivated in tropical
and subtropical regions. The fruits
are picked when they are unripe and
starch-rich, but when they ripen the
starch turns into simple sugars (sucrose,
glucose, and fructose). Musa paradisiaca
is about 30 feet high and produces green
or greenish-yellow seedless fruits,
so fruits develop parthenocarpically
(in the absence of seed development).
The name "plantain" refers
to Musa paradisiaca l., which requires
cooking before it is eaten. An intoxicating
drink can be prepared from the fruit.
The leaves are cut into strips and woven
into mats and bags. (1,2).
gripe, diabetes, antihypertensive. Unripe
bananas and plantain fruits are astringent,
and used to treat diarrhea. The leaves
are used for cough and bronchitis. The
roots can arrest hemoptysis and posses
strongly astringent, and anthelmintic
properties. Plantain juice is used as
an antidote for snakebite. Other uses
are asthma, burns, diabetes, dysentery,
excessive menstrual flow, fever, gangrene,
gout, headache, hemorrhage, inflammation,
insomnia, intestinal parasites, sores,
syphilis, tuberculosis, ulcers, warts
(3). In Suriname's traditional medicine,
the red protecting leaves of the bud
was used against heavy menstrual bleeding
(menorrhagia). Other therapeutic uses
were against diarrhea, dysentery, migraine,
hypertension, asthma and jaundice
|The plant is widely distributed
throughout the tropical regions. It
is native to India and Burma through
the Malay Archipelago to New Guinea,
America, Australia, Samona, and tropical
Africa. However, the cultivation is
limited to Florida, the Canary Islands,
Egypt, Southern Japan, and South Brazil.
|Tannins, eugenol, tyramine.
High tannin content in the plant and
unripe fruits has antibiotic activity.
Serotonin, levarterenol, and dopamine
are available in the ripe fruit and
peel. Other chemical constituents are
alkaloids, steroidal lactones, and iron
|Proven Scientific Evidence
|The leaves have been studied
as treatment for bronchitis and cold.
Studies in rats demonstrate effectiveness
for stone lysis. Plantain juice was
used as an antidote for snakebite in
the East, (4, 12). In animal studies,
the extract of Musa paradisiaca green
fruits reduced hyperglycemia in normal
and diabetic mice (5), and protected
the gastric mucosa from aspirin-induced
erosion stimulating gastric and colonic
mucosa (6), and had direct vasodilation
effect (7) and nonspecific relaxing
and inhibiting effect on aortic and
portal smooth muscles. There was evidence
in vivo antimicrobial activity of Musa
paradisiaca l. root extract (8). The
root extracts show in vitro anti microbial
|Musa paradisiaca is available
in tincture or capsule: Selekta Ò
(Musa paradisiaca: 275mg) take 1-2 caps
po BID or as recommended.
|Toxicities-stem juice used
as arrow poison in Africa No toxicities
and contraindications are reported in
human yet. Musa paradisiaca is a non-toxic
plant (9). In an animal study, Musa
paradisiaca l. pseudostalk extract was
used in rats to evaluate the toxicities
but the product showed no toxic when
rats orally took a dose of 2g/kg (10).
Herb-drug interaction: In one animal
study, M. paradisiaca, containing many
polyvalent cations, reduced the absorption
of quinolone antibiotic (11).
1. Musa x paradisiaca Linnaeus, and
Musa acuminata Lolla. Available at
Accessed May 4, 2005.
2. Musa. Bontany.com website. Available
Accessed May 4, 2005.
3. Morton J. Atlas of medicinal plants
of Middle-America: Bahamas to Yucatan:
Musaceae. Illinois: Charles Thomas;101,170.
4. Grieve M. Plantain Fruit. Botanical
web site. 1996. Available at: http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/plafru51.html.
Accessed April 22, 2005.
5. Ojewole J, Adewunmi C. Hypoglycemic
effect of methanolic extract of Musa
paradisiaca L (Musaceae) green fruits
in normal and diabetic mice. Methods
and Findings in Experimental and Clinical
6. Lewis D, Field W, Shaw G. A natural
flavonoid present in unripe plantain
banana pulp (Musa sapientum L. var.
paradisiaca L) protects the gastric
mucosa from aspirin-induced erosion.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1999;65(3):283-8.
7. Orie N. Direct vascular effects
of plantain extract in rats. Experimental
8. Goel K, Govinda D, Sanyal K. In
vivo antimicrobial activity of Musa
paradisiaca L root extracts. Fitoterapia
9. ASPCA Poison Control Center. Toxic
and Non-Toxic Plant. Animal Hot Spot
Accessed May 4, 2005.
10. Guevara O, Rodriguez T, Perez
C, et al. Oral acute toxicity assay
of a phytomedicine elaborated with
an extract of Musa paradisiaca pseudo-stem.
Acta Farmaceutica Bonaerense 2003;22(1):57-9.
11. Nwafor S, Esimone C, Amadi C,
et al. In vivo interaction between
ciprofloxacin hydrochloride and the
pulp of unripe platain (Musa paradisiaca
L). Eur Journal of Drug Metabolism
& Pharmarcol. 2003;28(4):253-258.
12. Reid HA. Diagnosis, prognosis,
and treatment of sea-snake bite. Lancet.
1961 Aug 19;2:399-402.