The wild banana species Musa acuminata has a healing potential.
Photo: © Jacobs University


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The banana Musa acuminata, a wild species that grows in South East Asia, is not only a food crop. Scientists have found out that different non-food morphological parts of the plant bear various pharmacological properties, including anticholinesterase and antioxidant activity.

Not only do bananas taste good, they also heal wounds well. Instead of using a plaster, open wounds are covered with banana leaves or skins in many tropical countries. Even larger wounds can be successfully treated with them. Headed by Professor Nikolai Kuhnert, a team of scientists at Jacobs University Bremen, in Germany, have now taken a closer look at the healing effect of bananas and discovered 70 different ingredients that could be responsible for wound healing.

The research project was prompted by a visiting professorship sponsored by Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supporting research by Professor Mubo Sonnibare, a pharmacist from Nigeria, at Jacobs University. Both in West Africa and in large parts of Asia, bananas are traditional remedies. However, these are not the usual Cavendish banana, which is not thought to have any medicinal effects, but Musa acuminata, a wild banana species.

Musa acuminata features a number of polyphenolic, i.e.

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