Banaba--whose botanical name is Lagerstroemia speciosa--is also known as queen's crape myrtle, queen's flower, and pride of India. It is a deciduous, flowering tropical tree whose pink to purple flowers produce nut-like fruit. Corosilic acid is a substance that has been used to treat diabetes mellitus, and banaba contains high levels of this substance. The plant has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for treating diabetes. The banaba tree is also grown for its beautiful flowers.
For centuries, medical professionals in the Philippines and Ayurvedic medicine in India have used banaba for treating diabetes. Recently, it has been recognized globally in treating diabetes (though the U.S. FDA has not recognized it, and you should consult with your doctor before starting any treatment with it).
Studies have been done to determine its effect on lowering glucose levels in the treatment of diabetes, it appears that banaba does lower glucose levels, thus, it is called "natural plant insulin". Additional studies have been done to determine any other medicinal purposes for banaba, such as using extracts of the seeds of the plant for antibacterial purposes, and using banaba to treat HIV-infected cells.
How It Works
Banaba contains corosolic acid, which acts like a "natural insulin" of sorts, in that it acts to reduce blood sugar levels in those who have high blood sugar levels. Banaba comes in supplement form. Although, as with other herbal supplements, it is essential to consult your physician before taking this extract, or using it as the treatment for any disease or health condition.
Banaba tea can be good for your general health as the leaves are high in fiber, and minerals (zinc and magnesium). You can make banaba tea by boiling the leaves. Banaba tea can be taken on a daily basis. In Japan the tea is known as "slimming tea," referring to possible weight loss attributes.
Consult Your Physician
Before taking any herbal supplement, consult with your physician, as herbal supplements can interact with drugs that you are currently taking. Herbal supplements may also negatively effect other conditions that you may have. And, anyone who is pregnant or nursing should avoid these supplements without consulting a doctor first.