Platanaceae: Banana Leaf Bandages for Burn Wounds
Platanaceae is a series of first-aid bandages for burn wounds that happen in the home environment. They are designed to fit different parts of the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers, and to allow movement while wearing them. The banana leaf is an abundant resource in tropical parts of our planet. Its large dimensions and water-retaining properties make it an attractive material for human use.
The hydrated texture of the banana leaf is refreshing when in contact with burned or scathed skin. Additionally, the inside of the bandage is coated with aloe vera to enable active healing when in contact with the skin. For conservation of the leaf, methylcellulose is proposed as an external coating to preserve the humidity within. The bandages’ shapes allow them to wrap around different parts of the hands and arms. Any burn bandage should remain on the skin for a maximum period of 24 hours. After 24 hours, the banana-leaf bandage would degrade naturally.
Platanaceae came to life because of an interest in the banana leaf as a typical wrapping for food in South America and Asia. This led to a deeper dive into the properties of the banana leaf, and the findings of research surrounding its qualities as a wound dressing.
This project is based on the use of the banana leaf as a wound dressing both in traditional medicine as well as in the hospital environment. In various hospitals in India and the Philippines, studies show that, as a wound dressing for burn patients, the effectiveness of sterilised banana-leaf bandages is equal to or better than synthetic bandages. The banana leaf is an ideal material since it does not stick to the skin (which can be especially painful when healing burn wounds) and is also semi-permeable, allowing it to provide an ideal micro-environment to not dry out and encourage the tissue to repair itself.
This proposal has been developed by researching and analysing two core aspects: the needs of the user (medical, ergonomical) and the reach of the material (fabrication and conservation). The fundamental concepts behind this project have been determined through interviews with a wound expert (user needs) and a food engineer (conservation of the leaf). The realisation of this project, from prototype to product, could contribute to the issue of single-use bandages in general.
Further development of this project would focus on determining conservation and packaging techniques that are best suited for the circular aspects of this project.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Banana leaf, aloe vera coating
Project developed during the Master in Product Design program at ÉCAL/Switzerland