Banaba, scientific name Lagerstroemia speciosa, is a traditional remedy used for centuries. But the scientific world is also becoming interested in banaba, with the first research dating back to 1940. Over the years, many other studies have been added, revealing a remedy with notable beneficial properties, especially for the health of the heart, the cardiovascular and the immune systems. But let us also try to understand the benefits of banaba.
Banaba, active ingredients and properties
Banaba contains, as active ingredients, corosolic acid and ellagitannins (Miura et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2012). The important properties of banaba are attributed to these substances that make it, as emerges from studies conducted both in the laboratory and on humans, an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, but also cardioprotective remedy, useful for keeping blood sugar and cholesterol under control and with an action aimed at protecting the kidneys (Miura et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2012 - Priya et al, J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol, 2007).
Banaba for blood pressure and the cardiovascular system
Taking 500 mg of banaba extract twice daily for 3 months has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure. Not only that, it was also possible to observe a reduction in bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (Lopez Murillo et al, J Med Food, 2021).
Banaba to keep blood sugar under control
The corosolic acid contained in banaba is able to reduce blood sugar values in humans within 60 minutes of taking the remedy (Miura et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2012). As an immediate effect, banaba extracts have been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar by approximately 15% in people with fasting blood sugar values above 110 mg/dL. Banaba also reduced postprandial blood sugar. In the long term, taking banaba has improved glucose tolerance and counteracted insulin resistance (Chen et al, Front Nutr, 2023). In general, taking banaba doesn't induce hypoglycemia, which means too low levels of glucose in the blood (Miura et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2012).
Banaba for the immune system
Banaba is able to support the immune system. In particular, banaba extracts have made it possible to combat some viruses, such as rhinovirus, one of the causes of the common cold (Choi et al, Lett Appl Microbiol, 2010).
Banaba, how to take it
Banaba-based remedies are obtained from its leaves. Banaba leaves can be taken in the form of extracts or infusions. Extracts and preparations for infusions based on banaba leaves can be purchased in herbalist's shops and specialized shops, including online. However, it must be said that if it is very easy to find supplements based on banaba extracts, it is not as easy to purchase infusion preparations, even if these are certainly better known by tradition. In any case, always check the quality of the product.
Banaba, side effects and contraindications
Banaba is considered safe and, in the studies conducted, no particular side effects are reported either in the short term or after a year of taking the remedy (Miura et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2012 - Alkahtani et al, Saudi J Biol Sci, 2022). However, given the anti-diabetic, hypocholesterolemic and anti-hypertensive action, ask your doctor for advice if you intend to start treatment with banaba, especially if you are already taking drugs for these conditions. Finally, there is the possibility, hypothesized but not yet confirmed by scientific studies, that banaba could alter the metabolism of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, diclofenac, used for joint pain, in the case of people with diabetes and kidney problems (Miura et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2012).