Banaba, the scientific name of which is Lagerstroemia speciosa, is a tropical flowery tree. It grows to a height as high as 20 meters. Its leaves are large, and ranges from the shape of elliptical-ovate to oblong. These leaves are shed by the plant during the first months of the year, and are bright orange or red during these times. Various research on Banaba conducted in Japan prove true the belief that this plant contains high levels of corosilic acid, a substance known as one of the many treatments for diabetes mellitus. Besides its medicinal value, banaba is also cultivated and known for its beautiful flowers.
Banaba has been used in Filipino folkloric herbal medicine for the treatment of diabetes for centuries. It is now gaining popularity and getting recognition as a herbal medicine not only in the Philippines but worldwide. Banaba is also known as Queen's Flower, Crepe Myrtle and the Pride of India. In India, Banaba has also been used to cure diabetes in Ayurvedic medicine for a long time.
Recent studies and laboratory test showed that it's active ingredient, corosolic acid is a potent compound that has insulin like effect to lower glucose in the body and is effective in treating diabetes. Banaba is rapidly becoming known as a natural plant insulin, and what makes it ideal is that, the herbal preparation may also be taken orally, without any risk of adverse side effects. However, caution is advised against taking Banaba with any diabetic drug or any other drug simultaneously. Always consult with a qualified physician or a medical practitioner before taking any medication or any herbal medicine for a correct dose. Also, extra precaution is highly recommended as initial findings show that Banaba extract may delay and reduce the absorption of carbohydrates in the body and promote weight loss, despite its useful medicinal value.
Other studies that were focused on this plant showed other potential medicinal benefits. These include antibacterial functions of seed extracts from this plant, and a water extract of the same manifest anti-oxidative functions. Another is the significant protection that Banaba seems to exhibit to treat HIV-infected cells. This is brought about by its ellagic acid constituents.
Aside from the medicinal value of Banaba, as a herbal medicine, it is also good for the health. Banaba contains high concentrations of dietary fiber and minerals such as zinc and magnesium. The leaves can be boiled and taken daily as tea.
Benefits and Treatment of Banaba:
• Fights obesity
• Helps regulate blood pressure
• Good for the kidneys
• Aids the digestive system
• Helps ease urination
Banaba Preparation & Use:
• Wash the leaves in running water (if fresh). Cut into smaller pieces if desired.
• Boil Banaba (one cup Banaba to cup of water) for 30 minutes. Drink like tea.
Note: Fresh leaves, dried leaves, flowers, ripe fruit, root and bark of Banaba can all be used.
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Posted by First published at 18:02