Ingredient Type: Botanical, Extract
Also Known As: Lagerstroemia speciose, Banaba leaf extract, Crape myrtle, Crape myrtle leaf extract
Banaba is a flowering tree found in tropical and subtropical environments, particularly in Southeast Asia and India. Its leaves are used to make teas in traditional herbal medicine, most commonly in the Philippines. It is believed to have blood sugar balancing and weight management benefits. The hypoglycemic effect of Banaba leaf is thought to occur through a mechanism of action similar to that of insulin (e.g. it induces glucose transport from the blood into body cells) (1).
Banaba is also used in Asia, Australia, and the East Indies for timber, and because of its large showy flowers, the plant is commonly used as an ornament. Banaba is the Tagalog name for Lagerstroemia speciosa L., which has been used as a folk medicine for patients with diabetes in the Philippines and Southeast Asia (1).
Banaba is used today in health supplements to support healthy blood sugar levels (2). Orally, Banaba is used for diabetes and weight loss (2).
WHAT DOES SCIENCE TELL US?
Banaba Possibly Lowers Blood Glucose:
Some preliminary clinical research suggests that taking a one-time dose of the banaba constituent corosolic acid 10 mg prior to an oral glucose tolerance test lowers plasma glucose levels after 90 minutes compared to placebo in patients with diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. However, the single dose of corosolic acid does not appear to improve glucose tolerance compared to placebo (1). Other preliminary clinical research shows that type 2 diabetes patients who take a specific banaba extract (Glucosol), standardized to 1% corosolic acid, for 2 weeks have an average of 10% lower blood glucose levels than patients taking a placebo (2).
Banaba is considered safe when the leaf extract is used orally for up to 15 days. The safety of long-term use is unknown.
- Fukushima M et al. Effect of corosolic acid on post challenge plasma glucose levels. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2006;73(2):174-177.
- Judy WV, Hari SP, Stogsdill WW, et al. Antidiabetic activity of a standardized extract (Glucosol) from Lagerstroemia speciosa leaves in type II diabetics: A dose-dependence study. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003;87:115-7.
See the Examine.com entry for banaba leaf for more information.