Family: Musaceae | Place of Origin: New Guinea
The first known domestication of bananas was in Kuk Valley of New Guinea. They are native to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific but were traded globally with high demand. Hybridization of species sparked commercial production yielding more resilient crops to meet supply. Bananas are a religious connection for some cultures. Inca tribes for example would adorn tombs with banana leaves as sacred parts of their lives. There are also Buddhist practices that use green bananas surrounding a green coconut as a traditional offering. India reveres bananas as the “remedy of all ills.
Bananas are made fresh, fried, steamed, boiled, dried, roasted, or turned into beverages. There are packed with vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and sugar. Some healing qualities of banana plants include improved cholesterol and blood pressure. Fiber can be used for dietary and material purposes. Serotonin in the roots and magnesium in the flowers have anti-depressant properties.