Mai’a, also known as banana, or of the Musa varieties, have a number of medicinal uses. The fruit is sweet and delicious, but let’s talk a bit about the leaf as well as the juice from inside the trunk for first aid and treatment of chronic skin conditions. I will talk about where to get it, how to use it, and what to use it for.
First, a poultice can be made with the leaf. Simply tear off a piece of the leaf and chew it up until it’s a well-chewed mash. Take the ball of chewed mash in your hand and you have a poultice. What you want is to break the cell walls in the leaf till the koko or juice is released. This can be accomplished with a mortar and pestle or by running it through a grinder. Chewing it is the simplest and generally is the preferred way. However you choose to do it, if the mash of leaves is soft and juicy you successfully created a poultice.
The poultice of Lau Mai’a or Banana Leaf is very useful in stopping bleeding from scrapes and cuts. There are components in the juice of the leaf that help to coagulate blood and staunch bleeding. This is achieved by bringing the juicy poultice in contact with the wound by placing it on to the scratch or cut that’s bleeding. It works pretty immediately for small cuts and scratches. For wounds that are bleeding more heavily, you will need to apply pressure as well as a larger size poultice. This may also need to be secured in place.
I have used this multiple times on myself to successfully stop bleeding. The first time I used it I cut my finger while I was sitting down, and happened to be next to a banana Patch. remembering lessons from class I decided to try using it. I didn’t even need to stand up to reach the leaves. it worked wonderfully and I have used it multiple times since. I want to talk about Mai’a because many of us live in or will visit places that have lots of Mai’a growing all around. Emphasizing the principle that wherever an injury or illness might occur, the antidote is within eyesight, if not within reach. That is of course if you’re not completely surrounded by concrete. This does mean that you don’t need to travel to the other side of the planet or climb the highest mountain to find your antidote.
Another simple and effective remedy is found in the juice of the trunk. The way to access this is by cutting a tall rectangular strip from the outer layer of the trunk. The outer layer is usually about 1/4 inch thick with very large cells that are filled with a clear liquid. To extract this liquid you can to ring out your strip or just squeeze it. This Koko/ juice is then very useful topically to help combat fungal and bacterial blooms on the skin surface. This would include ringworm and impetigo and other related surface skin irritations.
As with all injuries and illnesses it’s I cannot overemphasize the importance of look at the cause in order to remove it. Prevention is the ultimate cure and is the goal. Remember to keep this in mind as you ask the banana tree to give of itself and its lifeblood to assist in healing.
As always, ask permission before harvesting, take only what you need, use what you take, and thank the tree that is giving to you. This helps to cultivate a good relationship between you and the healer.