Banaba – Lagerstroemia speciosa L (anti-diabetec, glucose transport, anti-obesity)

Banaba – Lagerstroemia speciosa L

Munchausia speciosa Linn.
Lagestroemia reginae Roxb
Banaba is also knows as:
Agaro, Mitla, Bugarom, Nabulong, Pamalauagon, Duguam, Pamarauagon, Kauilan, Parasabukung, Makablos, Tabangau, Tauagnau
Banaba is a flowering plant that grows in warm climate like the Philippines, India and others. Banaba is widely used in the Philippines and as herbal medicine for diabetes. While in India, Banaba is also used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of diabetes. 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.
Folkloric uses of Banaba herbal medicine include the treatment for diarrhea, constipation, inflammation of kidneys, dysuria and other urinary dysfunctions
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.

A profusion of large, bright pink to lavender blooms appear in dense, foot-long, terminal panicles, making Banaba tree a spectacular specimen to look at. Putting out brilliant displays of the glorious bright flowers, the tree attracts large numbers of bees, butterflies and birds. Furthermore, a well grown tree may flower twice a year. Due to which, it will stand out in every garden and is a beautiful landscape tree. The Banaba tree can start flowering as early as three years of age.
Banaba is a drought tolerant species which is easily cared in the garden or landscape with really a low maintenance. It will grow in full sun on a wide range of well-drained soils but is not salt-tolerant. It coppices freely and is easily propagated by seeds, cuttings, root suckers.
Banaba has dense and wide spreading root system. Hence the tree is valued for erosion control. The hardy tree can even be utilised for reforestation of degraded hills.
Being one of the most beautiful trees, moreover, this tree is also medicinally valuable & famous in Ayurvedic medicine. Banaba can be used to treat number of ailments such as urinary tract infections, blood pressure & even type II diabetes mellitus. It is also believed to have anti-diabetic & weight reducing properties. Technically, the active principle is considered to be corosolic acid, which promotes glucose transport or utilization in the body cells. The current thinking is that Banaba can lower glucose independent of pancreatic insulin. This makes the active principle of the tree a natural form of insulin from plants. A tea, made from the leaves, served as a health drink. There are no known side effects or toxic reactions of Banaba. In fact, it has been reported that it can help detoxify the body and protect the liver.
The leaves of Lagerstroemia speciosa (Lythraceae), a Southeast Asian tree more commonly known as banaba, have been traditionally consumed in various forms by Philippinos for treatment of diabetes and kidney related diseases. In the 1990s, the popularity of this herbal medicine began to attract the attention of scientists worldwide. Since then, researchers have conducted numerous in vitro and in vivo studies that consistently confirmed the antidiabetic activity of banaba. Scientists have identified different components of banaba to be responsible for its activity. Using tumor cells as a cell model, corosolic acid was isolated from the methanol extract of banaba and shown to be an active compound. More recently, a different cell model and the focus on the water soluble fraction of the extract led to the discovery of other compounds. The ellagitannin Lagerstroemin was identified as an effective component of the banaba extract responsible for the activity. In a different approach, using 3T3-L1 adipocytes as a cell model and a glucose uptake assay as the functional screening method, Chen et al. showed that the banaba water extract exhibited an insulin-like glucose transport inducing activity. Coupling HPLC fractionation with a glucose uptake assay, gallotannins were identified in the banaba extract as components responsible for the activity, not corosolic acid. Penta-O-galloyl-glucopyranose (PGG) was identified as the most potent gallotannin. A comparison of published data with results obtained for PGG indicates that PGG has a significantly higher glucose transport stimulatory activity than Lagerstroemin. Chen et al. have also shown that PGG exhibits anti-adipogenic properties in addition to stimulating the glucose uptake in adipocytes. The combination of glucose uptake and anti-adipogenesis activity is not found in the current insulin mimetic drugs and may indicate a great therapeutic potential of PGG.

Type 2 diabetes has developed into a worldwide epidemic. Ironically, the dramatic increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes can be attributed to the rapid economic development and correlated to changes in lifestyle within the last 50 years. Type 2 diabetes is closely associated with obesity. Up to 90% of the patients in the US with type 2 diabetes are either overweight or obese. It seems likely that the readily available high calorie food and a sedentary life style are major causes for obesity. Obesity contributes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Reducing obesity and stopping weight gain constitutes a way to slow down the rate of occurrence of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which is defined as defective insulin signaling and a decreased insulin efficiency to induce glucose transport from the blood into key target cells such as muscle and fat (adipocyte) cells. In general, obesity leads to hyperglycemia, which in turn leads to and exacerbates insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, if not treated, results in hyperinsulinemia and eventually leads to full blown type 2 diabetes. Obesity or excessive adiposity, particularly visceral adiposity, contributes to and worsens insulin resistance. Most antidiabetic drugs are hypoglycemic or anti-hyperglycemic (blood glucose level reducing). However, most of these drugs are, to different extents, weight gain promoting (adipogenic). Thus, these drugs treat one of the key symptoms of type 2 diabetes, hyperglycemia, but exacerbate the condition of being overweight or obese, one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, while these drugs are beneficial over the short term, they are not optimal for long term health of type 2 diabetic patient. The most desirable situation would be the development of new types of antidiabetic drugs that are either hypoglycemic or anti-hyperglycemic without the side effect of promoting weight gain (adiposity). Herbal medicines known to be useful in diabetes treatment may be able to lead to compounds with such a combination of ideal therapeutic properties.

Lagerstroemia speciosa – Banaba
Lagerstroemia speciosa , also called banaba in the Tagalog language of the Philippines, is a tropical plant found in many parts of Southeast Asia including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and southern China. It is a tree that can grow as tall as 20m. Despite growing in several countries, only in the Philippines are the dried and shredded banaba leaves known to be used as a treatment for diabetes and kidney disease. It is not clear if banaba plants grown in different countries are equally effective in the treatment of diabetes.
Corosolic Acid and Lagerstroemin—The Most Effective Antidiabetic Compounds in Banaba Extract?
In 1993, a group of scientists from Hiroshima University used an Ehrlich ascites tumor cell line coupled with a bioassay guided fractionation to screen compounds isolated by HPLC from banaba extract in order to identify the effective antidiabetic component. Corosolic acid (2α-hydroxyursoloic acid) was identified as the effective compound in the methanol extract of banaba leaves in a glucose uptake assay. However, this result should be considered with caution since the tumor cell line used in this study is a very unusual and unconventional cell line for diabetes studies or antidiabetic compound screening. Furthermore, the result could not explain the discrepancy that both the banaba water extract and the methanol extract were active in antidiabetic and anti-obesity animal studies since corosolic acid only exists in the methanol extract.
Banaba, Herbal Medicine For Diabetes
Banaba is used as herbal medicine for the treatment of diabetes not only in India but also in the Philippines.
Studies have shown that Banaba contains corosolic acid that acts like insulin by lowering the blood sugar in the body. Corosolic acid is a triterpenoid glycoside that improves the cellular uptake of glucose.
How To Use Banaba Herb For Diabetes?
The following details the preparation and application of Banaba herbal medicine for diabetes
Although studies have shown that Banaba does not contain any toxic ingredients. It is recommended that before taking any herbal medicine for your diabetes, consult with your doctor.

Banaba Herbal Tea For Weight Loss Management
Banaba herbal tea is also used for sustained weight-loss management. The corosolic acid in Banaba leaves and flowers acts by delaying and reducing the absorption of carbohydrates by the body. Continued drinking of banaba tea causes weight loss without any side effects.
How To Use Banaba Herb For Weight Loss?
Preparation and application of Banaba herbal tea for weight loss management
1.      Dry Banaba leaves and fruits for about two weeks
2.      cut Banaba leaves and fruits into pieces
3.      Boil the dried leaves and fruits in water,
4.      one cup of dried banaba leaves and fruits to 2 cups of water.
5.      Let it seep for 30 minutes,
6.      Strain the leaves and fruits.
7.      Take the Banaba herbal tea for 4 to 6 times daily

Banaba Side Effects
Although according to studies, there were no known toxic or adverse effect from Banaba. However if discomfort occurs, stop using Banaba herbal tea.
Other Banaba Health Benefits
Banaba is also used for other folkloric herbal medicine for the treatment of the following
·         blood pressure control ,
·         kidney disorders,
·         urinary dysfunctions (helps ease urination) ,
·         controls the cholesterol levels,
·         treatment of diarrhea,
·         facilitates bowel movement
·         treatment of fevers and others.

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