As one of the best places to stay in Hawaii for families, Gingerhill strives to expose guests to a wide array of exotic plant life. Among our most popular features is the banana plant, which we grow all over our property. The Banana plant is quite similar to the coconut tree in that it possesses a wide array of potential uses and benefits. Though the banana plant is an herb instead of a tree, it still grows tall and produces bountiful fruit. But the fruit isn’t the only part of the banana plant that is useful for humans. Every single part of the banana plant boasts some sort of medicinal or practical use. No wonder the banana plant has come to symbolize growth and regeneration in Eastern cultures!

Gingerhill is one of the best places to stay in Hawaii for families because of its exceptionally comfortable climate and unsurpassable fertility. We are blessed with weather and soil that sustain some of the most delicious bananas you will ever taste. The banana plant likes a warm, moist climate with nitrogen-rich soil. The banana stems grow from corms, and though they only fruit once, corms can grow new stems—hence the symbolism for regeneration. Today we explore the many exciting and unexpected ways you can use a banana plant.

The Fruit

The most popular use for the banana plant is, of course, to eat the ripe fruit. Bananas boast several health benefits, including blood pressure reduction, electrolyte balance, and a healthy nervous system. Banana’s health benefits are primarily attributable to its high levels of potassium. Banana’s healthy carbohydrates, natural sugars, and B vitamins also elevate serotonin levels to improve moods, treating conditions like PMS and depression. Applied topically, the pulp of the banana fruit can even alleviate burns and wounds.

The state of the banana fruit may also influence its beneficial properties. When unripe, bananas contain more tannins and are therefore suitable for treating gastritis. They can also be useful for treating diarrhea. When ripe, bananas boost immunity, protecting against viral and bacterial infection. They also contain more sugars in their riper state, making them a great pre-workout snack for endurance athletes.

There are several ways to enjoy this bright, sweet fruit. You can, of course, enjoy bananas straight out of the peel. But they are also delicious, almost candy-like, when dehydrated. They can be used as an egg replacer in baking recipes, incorporated into pastries, and even mashed into baby food. Some people dehydrate and grind green bananas to create gluten-free baking flour.  At Gingerhill, we enjoy making Cuban lasagna, in which we replace noodles with plantain bananas. We also blend green bananas with farm-fresh eggs and a few other simple ingredients to make green banana pancakes.

The Peels

Humans can actually safely consume banana peels. However, their rubbery astringency make them unpalatable to most. Pigs and cows, however, enjoy banana peels. Combining leftover banana peels with other food scraps thus creates a hearty fodder for farm animals. Perhaps the most economical way to utilize bananas peels is to spread them out as fertilizer. As banana peels decompose, they create fresh soil and contribute nutrients to the existing landscape, increasing the fertility of surrounding plant life.


The stem of the banana plant is actually edible. It is incredibly fibrous, though, and is much better cooked than it is eaten raw. Eating or juicing them stem of a banana plant is a great way to prevent blood sugar fluctuations. It can also help to flush kidney stones, improving renal and urinary health. If you boil stems with a little salt and sugar, you can use them as a nutritious and cost-efficient cow or pig fodder.

In some cultures, the banana stem is actually used to make cloth. The stem yields threads that, when dried and blended with cotton, create a very durable fabric. At Gingerhill, one of our favorite ways to utilize the stem of the banana plant is to line our walkways with it. We cut the stem into smaller parts, then cut each piece in half, placing the flat side down on the ground. Over time, the stem compresses to create an even and durable walkway.

Banana Leaves

The leaves of the banana tree were very useful to native south pacific islanders. They were traditionally used to both cook and serve food. Banana leaves are an effective and aesthetically pleasing alternative to plates. They are also excellent heat conductors, making them create for cooking, and steamed leaves are useful for packaging and preserving food.

We sometimes use banana leaves for soil protection purposes. If we have an un-mulched bed of soil, we use banana leaves to cover it. In so doing, we prevent the soil from drying out and thus maintain its fertility. We also use banana leaves for paving pathways. Finally, chopping up the leaves and scattering them around a banana plant creates natural fertilizer to nourish the banana plant and produce healthy bananas.

Banana Flowers

Most people don’t know that the deep reddish-purple flowers of the banana plant are actually edible. Chopped up and stir fried, the banana flower makes a great addition to cooked dishes and salads. It can also be used as an aesthetically pleasing garnish, or even for other decorative purposes.

Consuming banana flowers can aid in the treatment of bronchitis, ulcers, and diabetes. The juice that the flower yields can be great for treating menstrual cramps.

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