Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa), not to be confused with the banana fruit, is a South-East Asian tree, the leaves of which have been traditionally used for the treatment of diabetes and kidney-related diseases. In the 1990s, the popularity of this herbal medicine began to attract the attention of scientists worldwide due to its various health-benefiting properties.[1]

Animal studies show that banaba leaves can reduce the accumulation of triglycerides.[2] The leaf extract inhibits lipid peroxidation (the process by which free radicals remove electrons from lipids (fats) in cells and damage them) and neutralizes free radicals.[3]

Corosolic acid, the active ingredient in banaba leaf, has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, antineoplastic (tumor preventive) and osteoblastic (bone-forming) activities.[4]

Banaba Leaf For Diabetes
Animal studies show that banaba leaves reduce diabetic symptoms in genetically diabetic mice.[2, 5] Another animal study found that banaba leaves decreased the blood glucose levels in streptozotocin (a naturally-occurring chemical that is particularly toxic to the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas)-induced diabetic mice after 15th day of banaba exposure.[3]

A clinical study done in people with type 2 diabetes taking banaba leaf extract found that they had a 30 percent decrease in blood glucose levels after taking it for two weeks.[6] Another one found that banaba leaves enhanced the effective utilization of glucose, decreased gluconeogenesis (formation of glucose from non-carbohydrate carbon sources) and regulated lipid metabolism.[4]

How To Take It
1. Take two teaspoons of banaba leaf extract powder with a glass of warm water twice daily after meals to see a reduction in blood sugar levels. You can buy it online here.

2. Alternatively, you can take 450mg of banaba leaf supplement twice daily after meals. To buy it online, click here.

The content made available at Z Living has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or by any other governmental agency. It is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Natural Remedies here.

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Living With Diabetes: Practical Ways To Manage The Condition Better (Part 2)

1. Klein G, Kim J, Himmeldirk K, Cao Y, Chen X. Antidiabetes and Anti-obesity Activity of Lagerstroemia speciosa. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2007;4(4):401-407. doi:10.1093/ecam/nem013.

2. Suzuki Y, Unno T, Ushitani M, Hayashi K, Kakuda T. Antiobesity activity of extracts from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. leaves on female KK-Ay mice. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1999 Dec;45(6):791-5. PubMed PMID: 10737232.

3. Saumya SM, Basha PM. Antioxidant effect of Lagerstroemia speciosa Pers (banaba) leaf extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Indian J Exp Biol. 2011 Feb;49(2):125-31. PubMed PMID: 21428214.

4. Stohs SJ, Miller H, Kaats GR. A review of the efficacy and safety of banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa L.) and corosolic acid. Phytother Res. 2012 Mar;26(3):317-24. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3664. Epub 2011 Nov 17. Review. PubMed PMID: 22095937.
5. Kakuda T, Sakane I, Takihara T, Ozaki Y, Takeuchi H, Kuroyanagi M. Hypoglycemic effect of extracts from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. leaves in genetically diabetic KK-AY mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1996 Feb;60(2):204-8. PubMed PMID: 9063966.

6. Judy WV, Hari SP, Stogsdill WW, Judy JS, Naguib YM, Passwater R. Antidiabetic activity of a standardized extract (Glucosol) from Lagerstroemia speciosa leaves in Type II diabetics. A dose-dependence study. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003
Jul;87(1):115-7. PubMed PMID: 12787964.

Armed with a PhD in Alternative Medicine, a graduate degree in Biotechnology, an MSc, and an MBA in Clinical Research and Clinical Pharmacology, Dr Jonathan is a certified practitioner of Alternative Medicine and is actively involved in patient education initiatives. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Outsmart Diabetes. Dr Jonathan loves to share his passion for herbs and other alternative medicinal practices with others through his writing.