In Vietnam, the banana has been used as food and remedy for some illnesses, even when it is a flower or still green. Banana flowers have a sour and salty flavor; they can warm the stomach, ease menstruation, and heal boils. Raw banana flowers can be served as a salad. Boiled, sliced banana flowers mixed with roasted sesame and peanuts is tasty and good dish for nursing women and old people suffering from constipation.
According to a Chinese medical handbook, taking dried and ground banana flowers with six grams of warm water three times a day can cure indigestion, flatulence and nausea. Stomachache sufferers can add 10g of this banana flower powder to a bowl of rice porridge and have it during the day. The banana powder is also good for lung disease sufferers.
A green banana is made up of 10% starch and 6.53% tannin. The powder of a green banana can be used to cure stomach ulcers. It is easy to prepare green banana powder: dry a green banana in low-temperature place and then grind it into powder. Stomach ulcer patients can mix a table-spoonful of the powder with warm water for a drink, and take it twice a day when feeling neither full nor hungry.
Green banana is used as an ingredient for a special dish. It is cooked in a hotpot with half-fat half-lean pork, tofu, snails, green beans and perilla leaves. This hotpot is considered a specialty of the country.
Ripe banana has several nutritional substances. One hundred grams of ripe banana contain 26.1g of glucose, 1.2g of protein, 0.3g of lipid, 12mg of calcium, 12mg of iron, 32mg of phosphorous, vitamins A and B1, and minerals such as magnesium and sodium. Ripe banana is as good as meat and is better than potatoes. One 100 grams of ripe banana supply the body with 100 calories. Ripe banana can be used to treat constipation and heal injuries in the intestine. It is good for bones and the nervous system. According to scientists at John Hopkins University in the U.S., banana is a good medicine for high blood pressure. Poor people can afford bananas, as their price is inexpensive. However, banana is not recommended for diabetics.
People in rural areas often use banana leaves to wrap cakes, rice or sticky rice to take on their journeys. Young banana stems are sliced to mix with other herbs as vegetables for Bun Rieu (vermicelli soup with small grab flesh, tomatoes and tofu). Old banana stems are sliced and cooked with bran as feed for pigs; they can also be tied together as rafts for crossing rivers or canals. Given such uses, banana is a useful and precious plant for many peoples, including Vietnamese.