Sturdy yet flexible, banana plant leaves are traditionally used for decoration, wrapping foods and as an ingredient in various dishes.

In South India, banana leaves are considered to be sacred/pure and are hence used as plates to serve food. Experts say that banana leaves contain certain waxes, which melt on putting hot food on them and give a unique taste to the food that is simply amazing. Banana leaves also add certain nutritional compounds in hot food, making it even healthier.

These leaves hold a special place in Ayurveda and are used to make various preparations in Ayurvedic medicine. Traditionally, banana leaves are used to wrap wounds and treat stomach problems like diarrhoea.

Read on to find out more about the benefits and uses of banana leaves for health.

  1. Banana leaves health benefits
  2. Banana leaves side effects

Banana leaves have some active compounds that impart them with medicinal and healing properties. From stomach ailments to fever, these leaves are traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments. Though not all of these uses have been scientifically proven yet. Let us have a look at some of the well-known health benefits of banana leaves and the scientific reasons behind them (if any).

Banana leaves benefits for skin

Banana leaves are traditionally used to treat various skin conditions. Lab studies show that banana leaves have both antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which makes them the perfect ingredient for skin creams and lotions. These leaves are known to slow down ageing and prevent wrinkles and fine lines. Banana leaves are even found to be effective against certain drug-resistant pathogens.

These leaves are traditionally used to treat urticaria (hives), skin itching, and rashes. A two-gram preparation of banana leaf ash (obtained by burning banana leaves) is traditionally used to treat fungal infections of the skin.

A study done at Harvard Medical School indicated that banana leaves can be used to heal wounds and burns. An older study done in India found that dressings made from banana leaves can not only heal burns but also reduce pain and prevent infections in burn wounds.

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Banana leaves benefits for hair

Banana leaf paste is believed to be beneficial for hair growth and in providing shine to hair. It is also used traditionally to treat dandruff

Banana leaves have the compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the same compound present in green tea. Studies show that EGCG helps in promoting hair growth and reducing hair fall. (Read more: How to make hair grow faster and longer)

According to a study published in the Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, acetone extracts of banana leaves may be helpful in reducing the growth of Malassezia, the causative agent of dandruff. 

However, there aren’t many studies that prove the benefits of banana leaves for hair. 

Banana leaves benefits in diabetes

Animal studies suggest that consumption of banana leaves can reduce blood glucose levels.

Lab studies show that the leaves of certain varieties of banana contain a compound called rutin which has a hypoglycemic (reduces blood sugar) effect on the body. Rutin increases insulin secretion and reduces the breakdown of maltose (a sugar commonly found in various foods) to glucose. This leads to an overall reduction in blood glucose levels.

Studies show that diabetes leads to an increase in maltase activity inside the gut, which is one of the reasons for the high blood glucose levels in diabetic people. If not controlled, diabetes can lead to various complications. Maltase is an enzyme that helps the body break down maltose - a type of sugar found in wheat, barley, peaches, pears, sweet potatoes and many other sweet and starchy foods - to simple glucose.

If you are diabetic, talk to your doctor to know more about the benefits and safety concerns of consuming banana leaves.

Read more: Diabetes symptoms

Banana leaves benefits for stomach problems

Traditionally, banana leaf extracts are used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery. Studies show that banana leaf extracts can aid in treating peptic ulcers.  

The anti-ulcer activity of banana leaves has been attributed to the presence of active compounds such as anthocyanins, tannins and flavonoids in these leaves.

However, more studies are needed to confirm all these benefits of banana leaves for stomach ailments. 

Peptic ulcers can cause complications if not treated on time. So if you suffer from peptic ulcers, it is always best to talk to a doctor to know the exact cause of the ulcers first. 

Other benefits of banana leaves

Here are some other benefits of banana leaves:

  • During spa treatments, banana leaves may be wrapped around a person’s body to promote hydration and remove toxins.
  • Lab studies show that banana leaf extracts have antihelminthic (deworming) activity. It stops nematode (roundworm) eggs from hatching. Hence, banana leaves may be effective against ascariasis, intestinal worms and hookworm infections.
  • Banana leaf extracts are believed to be useful in treating conditions such as fever, cough and sore throat.

The following things should be kept in mind while/before using banana leaves:

  • Banana leaves have a hypoglycemic effect (reduced blood sugar). If you tend to have low blood sugar levels or if you are taking medications to control your blood sugar levels, it is best to talk to a doctor before adding banana leaves to your diet.
  • Do not eat on or cook with unwashed banana leaves, make sure to wash the leaves before use. This would help clear any dirt and even some microbes from the leaves.


  1. Irshad Haroon, et al. Traditional Indian way of eating – an overview. Journal of Ethnic Foods. 2018 March; 5(1): 20-23.
  2. Karuppiah Ponmurugan, Mustaffa Muhammed. Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of Musa sp. leaf extracts against multidrug resistant clinical pathogens causing nosocomial infection. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2013 Sep; 3(9): 737–742. PMID: 23998016.
  3. Maurya Santosh Kumar. Potential medicinal plants and trditional ayaurvedic approach towards Urticaria, an allergic skin disorder. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2014.
  4. Ayurveda Offering Herbal Healing. Employees' State Insurance Corporation. Ayush Division. Delhi
  5. NG Xiang Quin. To investigate the antimicrobial effects of extracted polyphenols from green tea (Camellia sinensis) and banana (Musa sp.) leaves. Peer J. 2015 Jan.
  6. Kim Ah Jeong, et al. Preclinical and Clinical Studies Demonstrate That the Proprietary Herbal Extract DA-5512 Effectively Stimulates Hair Growth and Promotes Hair Health. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 2017(4395638).
  7. Belekar Anuya R., Raut Savanta V. Characterization of Normal and Dandruff Causing Micro-Flora from Human Scalp of Various Age Groups. Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 2015; 7(3).
  8. Silvestre Maria Patricia, Acero Liwayway H. Hypoglycemic Potential of Banana Leaves (Musa paradisiaca) in Albino Rats. International Journal of Food Engineering. 2016 June; 2(1): 71-74.
  9. Kappel Virginia Demarchi, at al. Beneficial effects of banana leaves (Musa x paradisiaca) on glucose homeostasis: Multiple sites of action. Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia. 2013 Aug; 23(4): 706-715.
  10. Yingyuen Panida, et al. Isolation, separation and purification of rutin from Banana leaves (Musa balbisiana). Industrial Crops and Products. 2020; 149(112307).
  11. Hamden Khaled, et al. Inhibition of Key Digestive Enzymes Related to Diabetes and Hyperlipidemia and Protection of Liver-Kidney Functions by Trigonelline in Diabetic Rats. Sci Pharm. 2013 Jan-Mar; 81(1): 233–246. PMID: 23641341.
  12. Tangjitman Kornkanok, et al. Ethnomedicinal plants used for digestive system disorders by the Karen of northern Thailand. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2015; 11: 27. PMID: 25885534.
  13. Kumar K. P. Sampath, Bhowmik Debjit, Duraivel S.,Umadevi M. Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Banana . Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 2012; 1(3):51-63.
  14. Ezekwesii Chinwe N, et al. Evaluation of the anti-ulcer property of aqueous extract of unripe Musa paradisica Linn peel in wistar rats.. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2014; 8(39). 1006-1011.
  15. Rao U.S Mahadeva, Ado Ahmad Bashir, Mohd Khamsah Suryati, Zin Thant. Antiulcer activity of Musa paradisiaca (Banana) Tepal and skin extracts in ulcer induced albino mice. Malaysian Journal of Analytical Sciences. 2016; 20(5): 1203-1216.
  16. Dr. Kashyap Pranita P., et al. A review of banana plant: a boon to humankind. World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. 2018; 7(13): 250-258.

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