Owing to its low cost, delicious taste and nifty, self-protective “packaging,” it's completely understandable why banana is one of the most popular fruits all over the world. It's a nutritious snack that's bursting with fiber, potassium and other standout minerals, hence making it a well-loved food by adults and children alike.
But while most people love banana because of its sweet flesh, there is a rising trend today that makes use of the whole fruit, including the peel, and “brewing” it to make a delicious cup of tea – one that's said to help with sleep disorders and boost your health. However, are there any truths to the purported benefits of banana tea?
What Is Banana Tea?
Banana peel tea is exactly what it sounds like: a tea made by brewing a whole banana with the skin intact. Most people are not aware that the peel of banana are just as impressive, in terms of health components, as the flesh. For starters, they contain vitamins B6, B12, potassium and magnesium.
The problem is that banana skin is not only bitter but also difficult to digest. It's stringy, chewy and hard to swallow. Unlike other fruits like apples or pears, you cannot simply eat it raw. When subjected to heat, though, its tough texture is loosened, so it becomes simpler to chew and digest.1,2
What's more, the fiber content of banana peel can be potentially problematic. Since fiber makes up 20 to 30 percent of the banana skin by weight, side effects such as stomachache may manifest.3 Hence, the best way to make use of the peel is to transform it into a simple drink – hence the idea of brewing banana tea.
You can use either green (raw) bananas or yellow (ripe) bananas, or plantains to make the tea. Just remember that green banana peels have more starch than ripe ones.4 Banana tea has a grey-brown color that may look unappetizing, but it's actually – and surprisingly – palatable. It tastes like a muted version of bananas but without the sweetness.5
But Does Banana Tea Really Offer Benefits?
Banana peel has been touted to be a useful all-around home remedy, especially when used topically. It's said to help whiten teeth, help get rid of warts, pimples and wrinkles, and even to polish silver and leather.6 But as a tea, the most popular benefit linked to banana peel is its ability to help ease sleep disorders.
This is said to be brought on by two minerals in the banana, namely magnesium and potassium. These two have been linked to improved sleep and are known to help induce relaxation in your blood vessels and muscles. They also combat the negative effects of the stress hormone cortisol.7 According to the website Lean Healthy and Wise:8
"Tea for sleeplessness such as banana tea has many characteristic virtues; it is soothing and relaxing and acts as tranquilizer or analgesic to induce quiet sleep. Banana tea recipes … restore mental balance, soothe the nervous system and also work directly on the jagged nerves to make you relax."
However, this tea has not been clinically studied, so these claims linking it to improved sleep are still inconclusive. Plus, there is only 2.31 milligrams per 100 grams of magnesium in a fresh banana peel.9 According to the site SuperFoodly:10
"If you were to get out a scale and weigh a banana, you will discover the edible portion is about 65 percent of the weight while the peel is 35 percent. The edible portion of an average medium banana is 118 g according to the USDA. That means your average sized peel weighs around 60 g.
After you crunch all these numbers … your average banana peel has only 1.39 mg of magnesium!
And remember, there's no study as to how much of that mineral comes out into the hot water (tea) while boiling it. Even if all of it came out, it's a very low amount."
Aside from the claims to improve sleep, there are other health benefits linked to banana tea. These include:11
- Eases stress and depression – Banana tea contains serotonin and dopamine, the "feel-good" neurotransmitters that may help boost mood and regulate stress.
- Promotes bone health – The magnesium and manganese in banana tea may help contribute to bone mineral density.
- Helps with digestion – Magnesium and potassium help improve smooth muscle function, especially in the digestive tract. They may help promote bowel movements, and relieve constipation, cramping and bloating.
- Gives your immune system a boost – Vitamins A and C are both antioxidants that may help promote good immune function.
Banana Tea Nutrition Facts
|Total Fat||5 g||Potassium||431 mg|
|Saturated Fat||1 g||Total Carbs||58 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||1 g||Dietary Fiber||7 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||1 g||Sugars||21 g|
|Trans Fat||0 g||Protein||14 g|
|Vitamin A 5%||Calcium||27%|
|Vitamin C 2%||Iron||12%|
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie
Banana Tea Caffeine Content
There is no caffeine in bananas,14 hence homemade banana tea is caffeine-free as well. This makes it tolerable for people with caffeine sensitivity.
How to Make Banana Tea
To make a good cup of banana peel tea, you need to start by finding certified organic bananas. Bananas are a sterile plant, meaning they’re cultivated via cuttings and not seeds. As a result, there is no genetic diversity in the plant, giving it weak immunity. For this reason, bananas are among the most heavily sprayed crops today.15
Since making banana tea will require submerging the entire banana in water, using organic crops will ensure that no pesticides will leach into your tea. Once you’ve got organic bananas on hand, follow this simple banana peel tea recipe:16
• 1 ripe banana, raw
• 1 liter of water
• A pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1. Bring the water to a boil.
2. Cut off the two hard ends of the banana and then add it to the boiling water. Leave it to simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Pour the water through a colander and into a mug. Stir in the cinnamon for added flavor.
Banana Tea’s Potential Side Effects
While it may offer certain nutrients, take note that consuming banana tea in copious amounts is not recommended as it may lead to side effects such as stomach upset, vomiting, nausea and hyperkalemia – this is when you have too much potassium in the body.
Severe hyperkalemia can be life-threatening, and may come with symptoms like irregular heartbeat, and muscle and/or digestive tract spasms. Hence, consume banana tea in moderation to avoid these effects.17
There Are Other Effective Strategies for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
The importance of getting high-quality sleep cannot be overstated, but take note that simply relying on banana tea may not be the best option, especially since the studies are still inconclusive on this purported benefit.
If you need to boost the quality of your sleep, however, you can start by employing simple lifestyle changes, such as removing all gadgets and light-emitting devices from your bedroom, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and keeping your bedroom cool. Check out my comprehensive list of sleep-boosting strategies in this article "Want a Good Night's Sleep? Then Never Do These Things Before Bed."