Properties /Uses : Banaba is a deciduous tree growing to 40 to 60 feet and is bushy; with smooth oblong leathery leaves, up to 12 inches long. Banaba leaves have been traditionally used over thousands of years in Philippines and as folklore treatment by the native Indians and more recently used by the Japanese, mostly as tea preparation. Banaba leaves and their ability to reduce blood sugar, and its "insulin-like principle" made it popular herb to be used as herbal extract and with others in many formulations for controlling blood sugar and weight loss.
Banaba leaf extract contains a triterpenoid compound known as Corosolic acid - which has actions in stimulating glucose transport into cells. Studeis have shown that Banaba has natural mineral such as magnesium and zinc and contains 15 times more fibers than sweet potato
Banaba plays a role in regulating levels of blood sugar and insulin in the blood. The hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) effect of banaba leaf extract is similar to that of insulin which induces glucose transport from the blood into body cells.
Blood sugar regulating properties of banaba have been demonstrated in cell culture, animal and human studies. In isolated cells, the active ingredient in banaba extract, corosolic acid, is known to stimulate glucose uptake. In diabetic mice, rats and rabbits, banaba feeding reduces elevated blood sugar and insulin levels to normal. In humans with type II diabetes, banaba extract, at a dose of 16-48mg per day for 4-8 weeks, has been shown to be effective in reducing blood sugar levels (5%-30% reduction) and maintaining tighter control of blood sugar fluctuations.