Could there be anything more millennial than a squishy avocado? Whether blended into a smoothie, mashed into guacamole, or spread over toast, this buttery fruit has been ruling our palates, nutrition plans – and Instagram profiles – for a while now.
An Australian cafe has turned it into coffee mugs, San Diego devoted a museum to it, Virgin Trains offered discounted fares to those who carted one into a ticket office, and there are those who spend long nights fretting that Trump’s Mexican wall will devastate the supply of this pear-shaped essential. Yes, there is so much more at play in that last situation but a world without avocados… just imagine!
However, even as we have led the avocado charge right into this millennium, the ancients still knew better. They did not toss away those precious avocado leaves, drawing instead on their beyond-belief health and beauty benefits that sometimes far outclass the fruit itself.
And we are seriously throwing all this away?
Take, for example, the nutritional profile: 100 grams of avocado leaves contain 25.54 grams of protein and 38.40 grams of fiber. 100 grams of avocado, on the other hand, contain only 1.60 grams of protein and 2.06 grams of fiber. The leaves are also rich in phytochemical compounds and minerals, like sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and potassium.
Little wonder that avocado leaves have been used as traditional medicine in Mexico and throughout the Caribbean since centuries.
The rest of us are just now starting to catch up, as science shows that these humble accoutrements can help with everything from diabetes and hypertension to kidney stones, cholesterol, uric acid, inflammation and headaches. They are usually brewed into a simple tea – leaves, boiling water and a bit of sweetener to balance out the slightly bitter, licorice-like taste.
So, pick up those leaves, or grow your own – while you may not get full fledged avocado trees on your kitchen counter, growing the leaves is fairly simple. This post, from one of my most-referred places on the internet, will show you how.
In the meantime, let me skip fast forward and show you how to use them in your beauty routine. Scientists largely recommend avoiding leaves of the Guatemalan avocado and using the Mexican varietal instead, as there is a debate about the toxicity of the former.
Avocado leaves: Smooth, glowing skin
So, who hasn’t once mashed up an avocado and slathered it onto your face? Or, at the very least, stocked up on an avocado-based skincare product (*waving out to my brand new jar of Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask)?
Say hello to avocado leaves now, since they contain even more antioxidants than the fruits. This gives them the ability to mop up complexion-destroying free radicals, which helps maintain skin elasticity, keeping it smooth and supple. All you need to do is mash 10-15 leaves along with a spoonful of the fruit. Apply this paste on your face; rinse off with warm water after 15 minutes.
Avocado leaves: Acne
Avocado leaves contain strong antibacterial and antiseptic agents, which are great for busting acne. Mash a couple and apply it on the blemish as a spot treatment.
Avocado leaves: Hair loss
These broad leaves are rich in B vitamins, which make them excellent for strengthening your hair, leaving it healthy and glossy. Simply mash up some leaves with a little olive oil (or avocado oil – if you’ve got some on hand) and massage into your strands. Wash out after 15-20 minutes.