Banana Peels, the Magic Elixir

“So, uh, Linda… what’s with the banana peels?” An innocent question. It’s not often that I see a Ziplock bag of banana peels on someone’s desk. They do tend to get pretty black and mushy after a short time and I didn’t think they blended especially well with the pens and pencils scattered across her workspace.

“Those are my banana peels,” she simply replied. Like she was discussing her shoes or her purse.

Now in offbeat situations like this, a person generally can respond a number of ways. I could have politely said “That’s cool. Hope you enjoy those banana peels.” Or maybe something simple like “Of course. How stupid of me!” – and then just walked away, as if a bag of banana peels on a desk is a normal thing.

But it isn’t. So I could have also said something more descriptive like “…and you plan on doing what with a bag of old banana peels?”, infusing just enough of an edge into the question, making it unnecessary to add “you weirdo” to the sentence.

In the end, I uncharacteristically shut my mouth. Because Linda had only begun to tell me about banana peels…

“I use them for my warts,” she said. “My planter’s warts.”

“Okay…” I mustered, hoping that might end it.

But the foaming continued. “Really,” she said. “Before I go to bed, I take the peels and wrap them around the bottom of my foot where the warts are. Then I put a sock on – to keep it all together. It’s really helping to get rid of the planter’s warts.”

Now I felt compelled to respond. “But doesn’t it bother you to stuff rotten fruit into a sock and then stick your foot in it? Isn’t that a gross feeling? And doesn’t your husband mind the smell of ripe bananas in bed all night?”

“He didn’t even know I did this, until I took the sock off this morning and pulled out the banana peels,” she replied.

At this point, we were joined by a few others in the office. Apparently a group of banana peel admirers. A conspiracy. “She’s right,” chimed in Dianne. “Banana peels are a remedy for warts. You can also use them in the garden to help roses grow.”

“Great…” I replied, totally unimpressed.

“It’s true,’ she persisted. “You let them dry out really well, then bury them around your roses. The potassium is good for them and they grow unbelievably.”

“Why not just buy a bag of potassium?” I retorted. “Seems to me you’d have to eat about a hundred bananas to fertilize a couple of rose bushes.” She just shrugged.

“Look, just Google banana peels,” Linda said. “You’ll see!”

So I did. And indeed banana peels are apparently a magic elixir. Warts fall off. Roses grow. Insect bites disappear. Soldiers and sailors even shine their shoes with them. We used to spit shine our shoes when I was in the service, but I never recall anyone whipping out a banana in place of a can of shoe polish. Maybe it’s one of the newer inventions for that humble fruit.

But wait…there’s more.

Hate those wrinkles that creep across your face in the natural order of aging? No problem! Mash up a banana and spread the paste across your face. No more ‘prune face’ for you!

Diarrhea got you flowing like a sewer pipe? Just boil a raw banana, mash it to a pulp, add salt and butter, and eat that mess. You may throw it all up, but by gosh, they tell me that diarrhea will disappear quicker than you can say “Thank God I had an extra pair of underwear!”

And that’s not all!

Try filching a couple of banana leaves next time you buy your bananas right off the plantation. Apparently if you take a couple tablespoons of burnt banana leaves and mix them with honey, you’ll never have another hiccup. While you’re there, also filch a stem from the banana tree and sip the extract. Presto! There goes the old bacteria that causes tuberculosis. Boil down the banana flower (whatever that is), mix it with buttermilk and, ladies, you’ve got something to help you out during that “time of the month”. Sorry, but you’ll have to do your own Google search on that particular miracle cure.

Bananas apparently cure alcoholism too. The web site for Secret Tenerife says you can combat alcohol addiction by drinking “a small glass of the boiled mixture consisting of 3 banana peels, Tabasco, water or milk from 1 coconut, brown sugar or sugar loaf to taste. Let it ferment for 3 days and add snifter of liquor. Do this for nine days.” I’m not sure how adding liquor to that concoction helps you stop drinking alcohol – but the other ingredients alone would swear me off drinking anything.

So there you have it. Bananas. The fruit that cures everything. You can’t make this stuff up…

But don’t get too carried away with the many benefits of this miracle fruit. Experiment slowly, maybe with eradicating that wart on your nose that everyone’s been too polite to ever mention to you. You know, the one that looks like a small igloo. Slap a banana peel on that baby tonight and secure it with a square of duct tape. It should melt away in no time. Or rub a few peels on everyone’s mosquito bites during your next pool party. Just be cautious about where that one might lead… I’ve heard stories.

Makes me wonder what kind of cures have come from the humble potato skin or the rind of a Casaba melon. Why don’t you go Google those…I’m too busy wiping banana slime off Linda’s desk after her Ziplock bag broke. The peels apparently aren’t any substitute for furniture polish.

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Joe’s Two Cents – It’s Great To Be Alive is Joe Paradis’ first published book and gathers 40 of his most popular stories, enhancing them with humorous photography. The book is a compilation of forty of Joe’s best short stories.

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This classic collection has been updated to include pictures and a short introduction for each story. Until now, only God knew what possessed Joe to write about these things. Now you can too!

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