The banaba tree is a rain forest tree growing in Southeast Asia and India. The scientific name is “Lagerstroemia speciosa L” and it is a flowering tree that has lavender blooms. Banaba is also known as the cape myrtle tree. The bark, and leaves of this tree is used in the Philippines by herbolarios or herbal medicine men/women to treat “manas” or swelling of ankles or other parts of the body. Banaba’s principal ingredient is corrosolic acid, a substance that has the same effect on the body as insulin medication, only without the harmful side effects that chemical medicines have on the human body.
Banaba is also used to treat diabetes and kidney failure, obesity and high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
An interesting “side-effect” of tighter control of blood sugar and insulin levels is a significant tendency of banaba to promote weight loss (an average of 2-4 lbs. per month) – without significant dietary alterations. It is likely that modulation of glucose and insulin levels reduces total caloric intake somewhat and encourages moderate weight-loss.
The leaves also contain the minerals manganese and zinc. Extracts from the seeds have been found to have powerful antioxidant properties and are in fact being researched as a possible HIV treatment.
The corosolic acid in banaba leaves isn’t just good for blood sugar levels either. Researchers at Changhai Hospital in Shanghai, China tested corosolic acid against human cervical cancer cells. They found that corosolic acid stimulates the release of cancer-cell-killing enzymes, resulting in cancer cell death.
Banaba leaf may also be effective in treating metabolic syndrome, a group of pre-diabetic conditions a person may have that increase susceptibility to heart disease and stroke. Researchers at Mukogawa Women’s University in Nishinomiya, Japan found that by the end of 10 weeks of treatment with banaba leaf, blood pressure had been lowered, fat metabolism had normalized, and the body’s inflammation levels had decreased.
To use banaba leaf, in folk medicine, the leaves were often brewed as a tea; however, today it can be easily found in supplement form. If you do suffer from blood sugar issues, keep in mind that taking banaba along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low.
Blood pressure control ,
Urinary dysfunctions (helps ease urination) ,
Controls the cholesterol levels,
Treatment of diarrhea,
Facilitates bowel movement
Treatment of fevers and others.
No Chemical Content
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