I thought I had bananas all figured out. They’re delicious in banana walnut muffins, stirred into yogurt with a drizzle of honey, or dried for an on-the-go snack. But banana tea for sleep? Is that really a thing?
Yep, because bananas are so much weirder than they seem. First of all, they don’t even grow on trees. Banana plants are actually tree-like perennial herbs, and the banana itself is considered a berry. (1)
Also, the peels we’ve been throwing away all these years? Totally valuable. In fact, from now on I might start throwing away the bananas and keeping the peels for tea. (Not really, but that’s how crazy throwing away the peels sounds to me now.)
So, what’s special about banana peel tea?
When taken about an hour before bed, banana tea can help calm the nervous system and help the body prepare for deep sleep.
That’s because banana peels contain potassium and magnesium, which are both natural muscle relaxants. (2) Magnesium is often called “magic mineral” because it also helps with hormone balance, stress support, detoxification and more. (Read more about the benefits of magnesium here.)
They also contain “the amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain. The 5-HTP in turn is converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin,” aka the sleep hormone. (2) Although I don’t recommend regularly supplementing with melatonin directly, I think it’s a great idea to supply the body with all the materials it needs to make its own.
Oh, and one more thing – bananas are rich in antioxidants like lutein, which helps to protect the eyes and skin from ultra-violet light. (3, 4) Some antioxidants like vitamin C are heat sensitive and break down when exposed to boiling water. Fortunately, lutein is heat stable and will still be present in the banana tea after the peels are boiled.
2 Ways To Make Banana Tea
Banana tea can be made two ways:
- Using the whole banana
- Just using the banana peel
Whole banana tea is naturally sweetened, which is nice. However, it does contain sugar that can raise blood glucose levels. I’m not against sugar (hello paleo chocolate chip cookies!), but I do avoid consuming sugar just before bed as part of my intermittent fasting routine. If you’re not familiar with it, intermittent fasting has been shown to be helpful for activating cellular cleanup mode (autophaghy), longevity, immune function, metabolism and more. For that reason I personally use banana peel tea over whole banana tea.
My recipe below uses banana peels, either fresh or dried. However, if you want to try using the entire banana here’s what to do:
Cut off the ends of the banana and slice it into a few pieces. Place it in a small pot and cover it with water. Boil for 10 minutes, then strain the banana out with a colander and drink the tea.
Regardless of which method you try, I recommend opting for organic bananas because conventionally grown bananas are heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Benefits of Using Fresh vs. Dried Banana Peels
I am not aware of any difference in nutritional composition between fresh and dried banana peels, so it really comes down to what’s most convenient for you. You can use a fresh banana peel and save the actual banana for the next day to make chocolate chip banana pancakes or another dessert.
Another option is to save banana peels when you’re making something (these chocolate banana bites maybe) by popping them in the freezer until you need them.
Personally, I like to dry the peels and then use them as a loose tea. It’s super easy as you’ll see in the next section.
How To Dry Banana Peels For Making Tea
If you have a dehydrator, just chop them up, place them in single layer, and dry at 155F for 6-8 hours. One banana peel usually makes about 3 tablespoons of dried peel, which is what I use to make a single cup of tea.
Want to use your oven instead? Preheat the oven to the lowest setting possible, which is usually around 170F. Chop up the peels and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Dry them for 2-3 hours, then flip them over and place them back in the oven until they’re dried through. It should be around 2-3 hours for the second drying session, which makes the total drying time around 4-6 hours.
Banana Tea Recipe for Restful Sleep
- 1 organic banana peel, ends trimmed off (or 2 tablespoons dried banana peel)
- 1¼ cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional – a dash of cinnamon will also work)
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract (How to make homemade vanilla extract)
- Place peel, cinnamon stick (if using) and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer on low for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain out the peel. Add vanilla extract (if using) and sweetener if desired before serving.
Additional Tips For Getting Deeper, More Restful Sleep
- Wear orange glasses to encourage natural melatonin production
- Sleep on a comfortable, non-toxic mattress
- Rotate this tea with passionflower tea
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1. Pelletier, Tom. Is Banana A Fruit Or An Herb?
2. Haiken, Melanie. Forbes Magazine. 5 Surprising Foods That Help You Sleep
3. Subagio, A et. al. (1996) Carotenoids and their fatty acid esters in banana peels.
4. Roberts, RL et. al. (2009) Lutein and zeaxanthin in eye and skin health.
Read My Comment Policy
Do you have any experience using the oven as a dehydrator? I don’t have a dehydrator (it’s on my wish list) but I’d really love to try this.
I’ve heard of plenty of people who use their oven instead of a dehydrator to make kale chips. You can probably go to Pinterest and search for kale chips without an oven to find their techniques.
I think you could dry the peels using the lowest setting your oven has. Not sure how much time it would take – you’d just need to check on them often. 🙂
I have watched one of my customers making this and thought I would look it up. I am going through menopause and she said it really works. So I am giving it a go.
Trying this for the first time. Will do another comment after the result
I would think that it would cost more to run your oven than a dehydrator but, that’s just my thoughts. I have not done an experiment to compare the costs.
Thank you for making this available… I love natures remedies.. our bodies understand how to use organics!!! It’s how we were designed!!
I use my oven to dehydrate all the time. I have metal racks that I place on top of cookie sheets so there is plenty of air flow. If you have an oven with convection – even better! I used to have a dehydrator but I didn’t like all the plastic chemicals in my food.
what temperature do you use? thank you.
I set the oven at 155 degrees. I check what ever I am dehydrating every couple of hours. I like using the convection setting because it helps it get done faster. Either way it works great!
If you’re drinking this tea to help with sleep using cinnamon isn’t the best for this tea, cinnamon actually gives you energy so, maybe, you can find something else to put into it. Someone suggested nutmeg after the tea is in the tea cup just a sprinkle.
I haven’t tried this recipe yet but I’m wondering if vanilla extract and cinnamon break your fast?
I’m intermittent fasting and don’t eat after dinner so wondering about the tea.
Couple of thoughts! Walmart has a circular dehydrator for $40. Years ago, a woman (single parent) with limited income, used her car as a dehydrator in the summer! Necessity is the mother of invention. I have heard of people using their oven as a dehydrator! A friend bought hers at a garage sale for $10. Enjoy!!
Joseta T. Nueza
Hi, am joseta T. Nueza 68 years old, I read your article very informative , may I ask if sun drying for banana peels are equally effective with hydrator machine , am sorry to inform, am not capable to buy one.
Thank you ..
Could I roast the banana peel as I don’t have a dehydrator?
I think you could dry the peels using the lowest setting your oven has. Not sure how much time it would take – you’d just need to check on them often.
What a great idea! Thank you so much. Do you think it would be good for kids too who may have trouble unwinding or falling asleep at night?
I also would like to know if this is safe for kids?
Why would it not be safe for kids? Lol
It can be dangerous for anyone if too much is consumed as in contains potassium. It can lead to hyperkalemia if too much. If you experience muscle cramping, nausea or vomiting after, go to dr. It can be serious and needs to be treated as it cause an electrolyte imbalance
Can you heat the banana peel more than once if you keep it moist between heatings? And if so, how many times would you reheat the peeling?
So, there just might have been something to it, when we used to SMOKE the peels, back in the day?!? What goes ’round…
How fast would the properties degrade? If I make a 6 peel batch with fresh, would it keep in the fridge for how long?
You might want to stress that Organic Bananas are the safer choice for making tea.
Hi Heather. Thanks for all the great info you so graciously share. Do you have any insight into the relationship of the ripeness of the banana to the beneficial properties you spoke of? I’m wondering if there’s a difference between using a very ripe banana peel with some brown spots vs one a bit green.
I would guess the mineral content would stay about the same, but I’m not sure about the L-tryptophan. I’m not aware of any research which has examined that question, unfortunately.
Heather. I have tried this before and it leads to the best sleep I have ever had. However, I am worried about pesticides and have since stopped making banana tea because of my worries about pesticides. I want to continue to make this, but pesticides are no joke, and this solution to sleep could lead to health problems down the road if I am using banana peels covered in pesticides. Is this a concern of your’s when making tea? And if so how do you circumvent this problem?
I to have heard to use only organic bananas. Wash them first.
I do have a question however.
Is it possible to wash thoroughly standard bananas and rid the fruit of pesticides on the skin?
Or have they somehow started injecting the skins with dangerous chemicals?. I am just wondering if there is a way to make the regular bananas safe for consummation.
Thanks in advance for your input.
I think the pesticides used on non-organic bananas probably seep into the skin, and therefore would not be able to be fully washed off.
the pesticides that are sprayed on to the plants will eventually end up in the soil and then be soaked up by the plant. So some of the pesticides are always in the plants, although you can minimize the amount of pesticides on the plant you cannot take it out of the plant
is there any way to get rid of the pesticides on the banana peels
I believe someone else cautioned that you should use on washed *organic* peels to keep from consuming a bunch of chemicals.
I’ll echo another commenter: wonder how long this might last in the fridge? I made some a week ago but have kept forgetting to drink it.
Potassium is another concern, along with the pesticides.
Can you make the tea ahead of time then refrigerate and reheat?
Not sure how long it would last in the fridge – maybe you could freeze it as ice cubes and thaw as needed?
😀 I was about to ask the same question Hillary made.
Though not often, there are a number of times that I do some late night works at home. And this makes me an insomniac … to the fact that I am still awake till 4am !! My husband found out about banana tea and made one for me. It is effective, i’d say.
And it’s pretty easy for us to make too. Being in a tropical country, I have good access to backyard grown bananas (yeah, no pesticide). And they are cheaper here too.
Since I can buy more bananas, I’d like to make banana tea in liters. But Im worried it will get spoiled.
I guess Im gonna try to make BANANA TEA CUBES then.
Thanks a lot Heather.
Can you please tell me if I give this to a 9 year old every night, how long would you reckon it’ll be fine/safe for me to give to?
What do you mean? It’s bananas and water…………………..
Dylan too much potassium can lead to hyperkalemia. It wasn’t a dumb question.
I never once thought to use banana peels for tea of all things! My mom uses banana peels for compost, but not to make tea. I’m not a big tea drinker myself or a fan of bananas. I will share this post with my mom, however, since she likes both. I was recommended to a blog post about a book containing natural remedies just this morning on shimi-go.com and shared it with my mom, too. We both bought ourselves a copy.
Hi. Thanks for the post. I dehydrated my organic banana peels last night and let it seep for 15 minutes. I felt a little numb at first but then slept so well but as if I was drugged! I used only a handful of the peels for one cup. Maybe I should use less?
Because we all have unique biochemistry it is definitely possible for some people to feel great with more and some to feel better with less. When I’m trying a new tea or herb I find that it’s usually necessary to experiment in order to find what works best for me. 🙂
Can I dry the banana and the peel in under sun?
Can I dry the banana and the peel under the sun?
Possibly. I have not tried that technique so I’m not sure what the process would be.
Just be sure that if you dry them in the sun, that it doesn’t attract bugs, flys, etc.
Is there any reason one couldn’t freeze the banana peels for boiling later?
You could totally do that 🙂
Did you notice that you’ve said multiple places that this contains potassium, but then in the Nutrition profile it says 0 zero potassium? I’m still gonna try it, but the roses won’t be happy as that’s where our banana peels have gone before now! 🙂
It’s delicious. My banana skins were a little overripe, but I’ve not had to add a thing to the tea. Thank you for another SMH recipe!
Jean d rose
Just trying the peel for sleep for the first time tonite.
Tried the tea for the first time last nite with NO result. Almost a total nite of NO sleep.
As with potassium capsules, they sometimes need to build up in your system, especially if you don’t usually have any source of regular potassium. It took my husband about two weeks of consistently taking it before it really kicked in. Keep trying.
Do you have to dry first before boiling the bananas?
I am here because I was making plantain porridge earlier and added some overripe bananas without the peel.. within 15 minutes I was asleep in the chair I was sitting while drinking the porridge.
I have never slept during dayliyhour
My adult son who also had some was also fast asleep… i became so sleepy I had to find a bed.
Hence this research.. I live in the tropics so organic bananas are in abundance at the market
I’m going to have some more at bedtime tonight because I’m usually not able to sleep if I sleep during the day as I’m a an insomniac at nights
Going to try this for 2st time tonight. Can you reuse peel?
I recommend composting the peel instead of using it a second time to make tea.
Just found this article while researching my salt inhaler. Had just ate an organic banana for breakfast so boiled the peal and had a cup of banana tea. Tasted good so will try more at bed time.
I am long past child rearing, but love your blog!
My question might be a bit odd, lol. I don’t eat bananas, as soon as most people. I like them heavily freckled. They’re sweeter, more easily digested, and actually have higher nutritional value, then. But, I’ve no idea what difference that might make, in using the peels. Will using very ripe peels lessen their viability? Increase it? Not make a difference?
Yes, it is not wise to take melatonin as supplement. When melatonin is taken as a remedy to aid sleep, there is a point that your body stops making it’s own melatonin. Then, you will be forced to take melatonin in order to even get to sleep. I am a Shaklee distributor and this is why Shaklee refuses to make melatonin in pill form for people to take. It is much better for the body to make it’s own melatonin, even if you may have a restless or sleepless night occasionally for one reason or another.
I tried to obtain the “Kitchen Apothecary” free offering ebook. But I X-ed out to answer the phone and lost the book.
It looked very interesting and I would like to get it back; and then I guess I must “save” the book. Is that right?
Hi. I love your blog. The homemade bleach alternative works like a charm! And I recently tried your homemade dishwasher detergent (I added citric acid to the detergent instead of a separate rinse aid) and oh my word!! My dishes came out sparkling.
I was very excited for this recipe using banana peels as i am continually looking for ways to reduce waste and get the nutrients my body needs through food. I have tried dehydrating the banana peels twice and they keep turning black! What am I doing wrong???
You’re not doing anything wrong. Banana peels turn black, in dehydrating. As long as they’re dry and crispy, you’re good. Just make sure to condition them, to prevent mold/mildew.
Heather, I love, Love, LOVE this banana peel tea, and have been recommending it to anyone I know, who struggles to get to sleep. I even have neighbors saving their banana peels for me. Who would have thought I’d ever use more peels than I could eat bananas, to get?
Thanks Carla. How would I go about conditioning them?
You’re just putting them into a jar/bag overnight, to check for moisture. If there is no moisture in the container, and there’s no sign of moisture in the pieces(you’re checking for any softness, at all), you can put them away, for later use.
Can’t wait to try banana tea for sleep and morning bowel regularity!!!
Would cutting the peels very small before dehydrating make it possible to steep this like normal loose leaf tea (just pour boiled water over and let them steep) or is it very necessary to boil the dried peels and then continue to simmer them?
Does this tea help with bowel regulation any differently than other teas?
What about using ripened/ blackish bananas, does this enhance the nutrient content?
I’ve had insomnia for decades and I’ve tried everything, except prescriptions sleeping pills,no thank you. I usually take natural sleep aides and I do take anxiety medication during the day dude to my PTSD. I’m very excited to try this because I get leg cramps and I think this will help with sleep AND leg cramps! Plus it smells really good. I’m using a whole banana just because I had one left that was to ripe for me to eat. Fingers crossed 🤞
Good night is my frist night to use the banana tea wish me good lucky thank u
Can you store if you make a bigger batch ?
Hmm, I wonder why monkeys don’t eat the peel? And what is the point of drying it please.
When my Dad was living he had severe dementia…he wandered down the streets BAREFOOTED several times….my mom was at her wits end not know how to help him to sleep…I read online about some banana tea….took what was needed over to their place and told mom about the wonders of the tea…several more incidents happened before she decided to try my ‘remedy’. It was the first full nights’ sleep Daddy had had in several weeks/maybe months…and he loved the banana tea…so this became a nightly ritual so that Daddy could/would sleep the whole night thru without any wanderings down the road!!!
Just FYI: as a diabetic, bananas have been off the ‘table’ for some time. HOWEVER, I have recently found that GREEN bananas, (even green banana flour), are OK. The greener, the better. So if you are diabetic like me, you could try VERY green bananas to do this with. Contact your Dr to make sure, though. Mine is a Naturopathic Dr.
The green bananas have much less natural sugar; the older they get, the more sugar is present in the banana…not sure if the peel contains sugar, also.
So…bananas (peels) for roses? GREAT!
I’m looking forward to trying this recipe! However, all the nutrition facts are at 0. Do you have the proper nutrition facts?
Thank you so much!
The nutrition facts are zero because the calculations are made using national databases, and since banana peels are not usually consumed as food there is no nutritional data available.
Thank you for your wonderful recipes! I have enjoyed so many of them!
your emails are so much fun to get!
I wanted to comment of dried fruit. I have been told that some dried fruit is not dried naturally, and is made using chemicals. China is known to dry fruit that way. Food color is sometimes added as well.
Hi MommyP, I have banana trees and some that are just about tree ripened. A great article! I’ve been putting the peals on my stag horn plant. They love banana peals too. I’m going to try your recipes here, looking forward to it. I’ll try all 3 recipes for sure. I give away some of the hands of bananas to my neighbors and friends, there’s no way I can use them all. Some I peal and freeze for smoothies.
I always enjoy your informative articles. Don’t know how you find the time with 3 boys. Hahaha
Keep up the good work! Donna
Mrs Fleur Hobbs-McLernon
Will banana peel tea break my intermittent fasting ?