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Plantain peel comes with many internal and external health benefits. Some of the main pharmacological effects of the plantain plant including the peels are anti-ulcer, analgesic, wound-healing, hair growth promoter, haemostatic activity among others. It is high in vitamin A, allantoin, apigenin, aucubin, baicalein, linoleic acid, oleanolic acid, sorbitol and tannin which all promote wound healing, speed up cell regeneration and have skin-softening effects. It can be used to treat skin disorders and defects such as wrinkles, skin allergies and acne.
Rubbing plantain peel against your skin is one way to eliminate wrinkles due to its abilities to tighten and tone the skin. People who have tried ripe plantain peels for skin care suggest that rubbing the peel on the face can help brighten the skin and reduce wrinkles, placing a freshly opened ripe plantain peel on closed eyes will help to reduce puffiness and rubbing a freshly opened ripe plantain peel on acne scars will help them fade off.
In the chemical industry, the peels have shown potential for the generation of important chemicals like ethanol and alkali for the manufacturing of soap. It has reportedly been shown to have potential as a promising raw material which could find useful industrial applications especially in the agro-based industries. The peels have been considered for use as organic fertilisers to enrich soils and enhance better crop production and yield. Reports have shown that the peels are a good potential substitute for cornstarch in the diet of snails and it is also incorporated with other waste materials in the diet of pigs.
Also in the food industry, flour made from the peels has been reportedly used to enrich wheat flour at various percentages in producing snacks like cookies and sausages; serving as a good source of fibre, antioxidants and potentially benefiting humans in the management and prevention of lifestyle-related diseases. Several studies have reported the antifungal and antibacterial activities of different parts including the peel of plantain for the treatment of a large number of ailments.
The ethanol extracts of the peels were used against eight human pathogenic microbes; five bacteria and three fungi and they proved effective against these human pathogens which have been implicated in several human diseases. So, the peel extracts have been suggested for use in pharmaceutical and medical formulations.
The Head, Herbarium and Medicinal Plant Gardens, Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Mr Ife Ogunlowo, told me that ripe plantain peels is one of the constituents his wife uses for making an herbal soap that his family uses because it removes wrinkles and can lighten or tone the skin moderately without side effects. He said the unripe peels can be soaked or blended and taken to manage high blood pressure and diabetes. He also told me that he is currently exploring the anti-ageing potential of the peels on the skin.
In a study titled, “Nutraceutical potential of ripe and unripe plantain peels: A comparative study,’’ by Ibhafidon et al, the results of this study underscore the nutritional and potential medicinal importance of both ripe and unripe plantain fruit peels. Although the unripe peel contains more fat, ash, fibre, carbohydrates, essential minerals, and phytochemicals, both peels showed promising potential for use in feed and drug formulations for livestock and even humans. (By Olufunke, Punch)