Banaba is a flowering plant that grows in warm climates such as the Philippines and India. It is widely used in the Philippines and other Asian countries in traditional medicine as herbal treatment for diabetes.
In India, Banaba is also used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of diabetes.
Banaba is a tropical flowering tree that grow up to 10 meters high. Banaba has large green oblong leaves that is about 3 inches in width and 7 inches in length. The flowers or Banaba are racemes and colored pink to lavender. Banaba bears nut-like fruits that are arranged in large clumps.
The Banaba leaves and flowers contain corrosolic acid, a substance being studied for its insulin like effect of lowering the glucose in the body. Banaba is also being studied as a weight-loss supplement for its ability to delay or reduce the absorption of carbohydraes. Banaba is also rich in vitamins and minerals including zinc and magnesium. Banaba is also rich in dietary fibers.
Banaba Traditional Medicinal Uses and Health benefits
Banaba has a long history of medical usage and has a long list of folkloric health benefits for the following conditions.
- Inflammation of kidneys
- Dysuria and other urinary dysfunctions
- Blood pressure control
- Kidney disorders
- Urinary dysfunctions (helps ease urination)
- Controls the cholesterol levels
- Treatment of diarrhea
- Facilitates bowel movement
- Treatment of fevers
Findings from laboratory studies and animal-based research suggest that banaba may help control diabetes. In a study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry in 1996, for instance, scientists demonstrated that treating diabetic mice with banaba extract helped protect against elevated blood sugar levels.
In addition, banaba appeared to reduce total cholesterol levels.
In 2003, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology published a study finding that type 2 diabetes patients treated with banaba extract for two weeks experienced a significant reduction in blood sugar levels. The number of study participants is unknown.
Banaba may help fight obesity, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology in 1999. In an experiment involving obese mice, researchers found that adding banaba to the animals’ diets helped prevent weight gain. What’s more, banaba-fed mice were less likely to experience buildup of triglycerides (a type of harmful blood fat).
Very little is known about the safety of using banaba in the long term. However, there is some concern that banaba may reduce blood sugar levels. If you’re considering the use of banaba, talk to your doctor before beginning treatment.
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Where to Find It
Widely available for purchase online, banaba products (including banaba capsules and teas) are sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.
Using Banaba for Health
Due to the lack of supporting research, it’s too soon to recommend banaba for any health-related purpose. If you’re considering using banaba, talk with your primary care provider first. Furthermore, it’s important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with banaba and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.
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Source: Medical Health Guide | Very Well