Why not bananas?

“I would like to know why banana is considered clogging. In my research I have only read good things about banana. I hope someone can help me with this question. I am a patient of Dr. Teilelbaum. Thanks, Faridah M.”

Dear Faridah: the ancient ayurvedic texts say that bananas are clogging because they carry “madhu rasa” and “guru guna” – in other words, a sweet taste and heavy aftereffect. But what does this mean? AnotherWNB-img1 way to understand this would be through other fruits, such as the orange or the apple. These fruits also have “madhu rasa” or sweet taste, but in addition they are also characterized by an “amla rasa” or sour taste. In Ayurveda, the sour taste is known to support digestion and metabolism more because it carries more “agni” or digestive properties in it. The sweet taste is said to be made up of the water and earth elements, while the sour taste is known to be made up of water and fire elements. So the sweet taste is considered to be heavy, but the sour taste has some inherent fire to it that supports metabolism.
That’s why fruits that carry a little sour taste are not clogging. Clogging? It means they don’t make toxins or “ama” – the first kind of toxins result from semi-digested food, heavy food that the body cannot break down properly and gets to sit in your body without being processed. This is one reason why people tend to eat a banana for lunch, it helps them feel full because it is heavy and sits in the stomach giving a feeling of satiation, while all it is doing is not getting digested! Long term consumption of bananas will results in severe imbalances. The micro and macro channels will carry semi-digested residues not only of banana but of overall food, because the regular consumption of bananas will dampen metabolism overall and affect the proper digestion and absorption of all food items. This is the “rasa” or taste based answer to your question.
Another way of understanding the answer to your question is based on the dynamics of pharmacology in Ayurveda – that is: the ultimate effect and impact a food item has on your body, chemically and even beyond that, vibrationally. There is a property called “prabhava” in Ayurveda that concerns the post-digestive effect of any food item, long after it has been completely physically digested and assimilated. The ayurvedic texts explain that the “prabhava” of banana is also channel clogging. You may have food items that are clogging on an initial physical level, but not ultimately, this is an exceptional make-up and very healthy for all body types. For example, the pomegranate fruit is initially clogging due to its sweet and cold initial properties, but as it goes deeper into the stages of metabolism and digestion, it has actually a channel opening “prabhava” which makes it a unique medicinal fruit.

Your findings show that bananas are good to consume because modern nutrition evaluates all food materials based solely on nutritional facts. They determine the physical nutritional benefits in terms of fat, sugar, minerals, and other properties, and they are not able determine whether that material is good for one and not another. The Ayurvedic way of understanding encompasses nutritional facts but also goesWNB-img2 beyond, because every individual’s condition is different, digestive and metabolic fire levels are different, and particularly, an individual may have a chronic condition where toxic residues or “ama” may be particularly unwelcome. Ama or toxic build-up from semi-digested food is considered to be the seed of all diseases, and the last thing one would want to do is to consume anything that can even remotely clog the macro- or micro- circulatory channels. Channel health and care is primary, because channels are detox pathways but they also nurture and nourish us by delivering life-supporting materials. So under no circumstances does one want to delay detox, or delay the delivery of the nutritional substances to are targeted to reach specific organs and organ systems.
Ironically, small bananas somehow have less channel-blocking after- effect. They also tend to be more aromatic. Aromatic principles are always channel opening. So if you must have bananas, favor the really small ones, but by all means, avoid the large ones if you want to maintain healthy and clear channel pathways.


The sole purpose of this blog is to provide information about the alternative healing modalities of Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda (SVA) as practiced in Vaidya Mishra's ancestral family tradition. The information contained herein is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a licensed health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. Otherwise, for more information, you may call Vaidya Mishra's Prana Center toll free in the USA at 1.888.3CHANDI (888.324.2634). or 1.818.709.1005 globally, or email us at: info@prana-center.com. You may also visit: www.vaidyamishra.com, or www.chandika.com


  1. Crit Taylor says

    Eileen Poole, a student of Dr. Henry Bieler author of Foods Are Your Best Medicine, always told me if I were to eat a banana, to not combine it with any other food and to eat the ones that were not overly ripe or too sweet. In light of what is written in this article I can see that limiting the sweetness would help reduce the blocking effect.

  2. This was very enlightening! And speaking of bananas, I ate one today and noticed that it was difficult to digest. I attributed the difficulty to my weak digestion in general, which I’ve had for the last ten years. I never connected the dots until now, and to think that I use bananas regularly in my smoothies. Not anymore! Thank you for such a timely article 🙂

  3. I truly enjoy reading your articles and appreciate very much how you quote Shastra and refer often to the ancient texts. Can the channel clogging effects of banana be lessened by sprinkling them with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger and perhaps a dash of lemon or lime?

  4. Jan Campbell says

    Dr. Mishra, would it be possible to mitigate the channel clogging properties of bananas by saute’ing them in the right spices?

  5. Bret Mason says

    Viadya Mishra, thank you for this article! I was telling someone the other day that eating bananas would not be good for them. It was something instinctual that came up in me but I didn’t know exactly why I felt it wouldn’t be good. Your article put words to the feeling I was having and I recognized the wisdom immediately. Love to you, ~ Bret

  6. Very interesting. I had never heard the explanation before. Appreciate the thoroughness of it. Now, from an ayurvedic perspective, it makes sense.

  7. Rekha Kapur says

    Dear Vaidya,

    I understand this about the banana, however, according to Ayurved, every food
    can be used as medicine, or, with proper samyog & samskar can be used therapeutically. I would imagine that this also applies to bananas–what samskaras
    would allow this fruit to be consumed, depending on the person’s health. of course?


  8. Would that be why I get chilled shortly after eating a banana?

  9. In our newsletter we wrote that small and aromatic bananas are not channel-clogging. According to ayurveda there are five levels of pharmacological properties:
    • Rasa (taste)
    • Guna (action)
    • Virya (potency)
    • Vipak (post-digestive taste)
    • Prabhava (ultimate most subtle vibrational post-digestive effect).
    With samyog (combination) and samskar (processing or cooking) you can change or balance the rasa, guna , virya and vipak but you can’t change the prabhava – or ultimate post-digestive effect. And this is the case with banana-s. Unfortunately, large bananas’ channel-clogging prabhava cannot be altered. This is why it is best to consume the small ones whenever needed.

    By changing the rasa, guna, virya and vipak the heaviness of the bigger bananas will be less, by changing the rasa (the sweetness ) and heaviness (guna) will be somewhat less channel-clogging.

  10. Thank you for posting this Vaidya!
    I’d had a tough time searching ‘why bananas are best on their own’ after a freind, studying ayruvedic health, had made the suggestion.
    This search led me to learn how melons are best on an emty stomach because they need little (if any) diggestion.
    Should dates also be left out of recipes for the same reason as bananas??

  11. Marcus:
    Dear Marcus: melons are actually probably best on an empty stomach because they need a lot of digestive fire to be processed as well. Melons are high in sugar and water, and both ingredients can put out your digestive agni, specially if you are eating them with anything else. Not to mention that there may be mutually contradictory properties between the melon and the other food items you may be consuming. In addition, melons can be clogging, so they slow down circulation and distribution of nutrients too. That’s why it is best to have them when agni is high, and alone.
    As for dates, again, they are very high in sugar, and sugar is Soma and needs a great digestive fire to be broken down without creating ama or toxic residue. If you don’t have high digestive fire or the ability to metabolize sugar then it is best to steer clear of dates. However, dates are not channel-clogging like large bananas, or melon, but their sugar-content should be the thing to consider when you want to consume them. So you can actually eat them with other food items, unlike large bananas and melons.

  12. What about bananas that we use for cooking ie we use in curries?

  13. Hello, thanks for the informative article.
    Are plaintains safer than bananas or fall under the same category. I cook/ steam both raw green plantain( with spices added later) and ripe plantains.

  14. Dear Mr. Mishra, thanks so much for this information. I am just starting to learn about Ayurveda and adapting my diet. The fact that bananas – although sweet – are a taboo for pitta didn’t make sense to me until I read this site. The idea of living without bananas is a little tough for me, but if it helps…
    One question if I may – does dried baby banana (popular in Vietnam) have the same clogging effects? Or does the energy of a oroduce change, once it’s dried?

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