Banaba Herb for Kidney Disorders and Diabetes

There is a tree that grows in the Philippines and bears purple flowers during the rainy season. The tree is the banaba and it is now gaining attention from the rest of the world because of its medicinal properties.

Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa) grows almost anywhere in the Philippines. It has been known in the country since ancient times as a natural diuretic and as a cure for kidney and bladder problems. With the increasing popularity of herbal medications, the banaba has been studied by several institutions and the results confirm what Filipinos have known all along: that it is a very potent herb and taking it orally in tea or capsule form has no known adverse side effects.

Herbal Remedy for Diabetes

There have been many studies done on this remarkable herb. Research conducted by Dr. Yamazaki, a professor of Pharmaceutical Science in the Hiroshima University School of Medicine in Japan have shown that the banaba contains corosolic acid, which has insulin-like properties. The studies indicate that corosolic acid activates the transport of glucose across cell membranes. The herb, therefore serves as a glucose transporter which helps reduce blood sugar levels.

To confirm this, Dr. Yamazaki conducted a study where he fed chicken with dried banaba leaf powder mixed with chicken feed. He then fed the egg yolk from the banaba-fed chicken to diabetic mice and tests revealed that the blood sugar levels normalized.

In another study, the alcohol extract from banaba leaves was sprayed in a hospital room where a patient was sleeping through a mist generating device. Tests showed that the patient inhaled trace amounts of corosolic acid and this in turn regulated the blood sugar level.

Clinical tests conducted in 1999 by Dr. William V. Judy at the Southwestern Institute of Biomedical Research in Brandenton, Florida confirmed that corosolic acid actually lowers the blood sugar levels and that the higher the dosage, the bigger the drop in the blood sugar level.

Herbal Remedy for Kidney and Bladder Problems

Filipinos have traditionally used the banaba leaf to make tea not only for diabetes, but for kidney and bladder ailments as well. Recent studies have shown, however that the entire herb is useful in lowering blood sugar levels.There are indications that corosolic acid may not be the only active ingredient in the banaba. In a study published by Edison Biotechnology Institute in Athens, Ohio, it was concluded that all the parts of the banaba tree had a glucose lowering effect and that the herb could be used not only for diabetes but for obesity as well.

So, Filipinos weren’t exactly right — afterall — because through the centuries they believed that drinking banaba tea did not entail any side effects. From the recent studies, we now know that taking the herb in whatever form has positive side effects — it also helps the body deal with obesity. That’s quite a lot from a small tree with purple flowers!

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