Banaba is a large, flowering tree that is native to the India and Philippines. It is also known as Queen’s Crape-myrtle, Giant Crape-myrtle, or Pride of India. This natural treatment to a number of health issues has large panicles of its attractive lavender or pink flowers, which bloom from June to July.
Banaba and Blood Sugar Levels
Taking Banaba may help lower our chances of developing diabetes. It has been used as a folk medicine to treat diabetes in various parts of the world, primarily Southeast Asia. It is used to help lower blood sugar, help the body use insulin more efficiently, and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Its antidiabetic effect is attributed to its beneficial components namely corosolic acid, ellagitannins, and gallotannins (1).
Corosolic acid, the main phytochemical in Banaba, has anti-inflammatory properties and works by increasing insulin sensitivity, enhancing glucose uptake, and inhibiting alpha-glucosidase — an enzyme that helps digest carbs. These effects help lowers blood sugar levels (1).
In a study, experts found that ingesting Banaba’s compound corosolic acid can lower blood sugar levels 90 minutes later (2).
The hypoglycemic effects of Banaba have been attributed to both corosolic acid as well as ellagitannins. Corosolic acid has been reported to decrease blood sugar levels within 60 min in human subjects. In addition to this, it also exhibits antihyperlipidemic and antioxidant activities. A growing body of evidence involving animal and human studies as well as in vitro systems indicates that Banaba leaf extracts exert anti-diabetic and anti-obesity effects (3).
Banaba leaves can be used as a tea to control blood sugar levels and manage diabetes.
Banaba tea is a great beverage choice. Have 2 teaspoons of dried Banaba leaves to a tea infuser. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and pour over leaves. Let steep for 3-4 minutes before straining. Add 1 teaspoon each of honey and lemon and serve.
We can also have a refreshingly iced tea version of the same enhanced with calamansi and lemongrass. Either refrigerate the tea or add ice cubes to the tea.
What are the other benefits that we can obtain from Banaba?
- May reduce heart disease risk factors
- Antioxidant activities
- May offer anti-obesity benefits
- May have protection against kidney damage
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