Banaba is a flowering tree commonly found in tropical and subtropical environments, particularly in India and Southeast Asia. In traditional herbal medicine, banaba leaves are used to make teas; this is commonly done in the Philippines. It is believed to have weight loss, blood sugar balancing, and cholesterol-lowering benefits.
In this article, we discuss the possible health benefits of banaba, who could benefit from taking it, and its possible side effects.
Possible Health Benefits of Banaba
Currently, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the health effects of banaba. However, some preliminary research shows that it does have promising health benefits. Listed below are some key studies that examine the potential health benefits of banaba.
- Weight Loss
In one study, researchers examined the efficacy of a blend of plant extracts – including banaba – on weight loss after a 12-week treatment period. After the treatment period, results showed that those who took the extract blend lost considerably more body fat mass and weight compared to those taking placebo. Furthermore, those taking the extract blend also experienced a greater reduction in hip and waist circumference.
According to one study, banaba and other natural supplements, including ginseng, cinnamon, fenugreek, and biotin have the potential to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. Banaba may also help with glycemic control and/or reduce the need for insulin therapy when used in addition to traditional diabetes treatments. Further findings from other animal-based research and laboratory studies reveal that banaba may help control diabetes. For instance, one study published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, studied the effect of the banaba compound corosolic acid. Researchers found that those who had ingested corosolic acid had significantly lower blood sugar levels ninety minutes later, as shown after an oral glucose tolerance test.
For diabetics, banaba extract can help to:
- Control glycemic levels
- Improve long-term prognosis of diabetes
- Decrease the need for insulin medications in those with type 2 diabetes
- Protect against fluoride intoxication, mainly in those with type 2 diabetes It is also likely that you will experience lower cholesterol levels, particularly “bad” cholesterol, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.
Overall Health Benefits of Banaba
Aside from its potential benefits for weight management and diabetes treatment, proponents also claim that banaba can treat a broad range of health problems. Other health benefits of banaba include:
- Banaba supplements may help treat fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot and vaginal yeast infections. It may also treat the flu and cold sores.
- Banaba can help protect you against alcoholic liver disease. One study found that people taking banaba have lower liver enzymes, as well as less fat in the liver. Those who take banaba has also been found to have lower levels of 2-thiobarbituric acid reactive substances which are markers that demonstrate oxidative injury to the liver.
- Taking a banaba supplement has also been shown to help treat inflammation. Less inflammation normally means less fatigue, less swelling, and less pain.
Who Should Consider Taking Banaba?
Wondering if banaba is right for you? Here, we list down those who can benefit from taking it.
- Anyone with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, or are at high risk of developing diabetes should consider taking a banaba supplement.
- People with viral or fungal infections may also benefit from a banaba supplement.
- People with inflammation, whether it be due to arthritis, autoimmune conditions, or some other inflammatory disease may also benefit from a banaba supplement.
- People who are obese or overweight may also want to take a banaba supplement, as it has been shown to have weight loss benefits.
- People with liver disease, be it due to alcoholic or non-alcoholic reasons, may also benefit from taking a banaba supplement.
How Safe is Banaba for Long-Term Use? Common Side Effects
Banaba is safe for long-term use, with no side effects identified. Overall, data supports the safety of banaba use as a supplement.
One study evaluated the safety of banaba using a 45 measurement blood chemistry panel, and an 86-item self-reported quality of life inventory, cardiovascular changes, and bone mineral density. What researchers found was that there were no significant changes at all in any blood chemistry measurements. Also, when reviewing the quality of life scores, they experienced improvements with banaba supplements.
However, it should be noted that people with hypoglycemia (or are prone to low blood sugar) should avoid banaba-containing supplements.
Banaba Supplements: What Forms Do They Come In?
Banaba supplements come in different forms, including tablets and tablets. For those who have a hard time swallowing pills and capsules, banaba also comes in powder form and even banaba tea extracts.
Diabetes and Banaba Supplement: Choosing the Best Banaba Supplement to Treat Your Diabetes
The best banaba supplement for managing prediabetes, diabetes, insulin resistance, and blood glucose levels will have corosolic acid. Also, make sure that the supplement you choose has high-quality ingredients – you want products with natural ingredients.
The appropriate banaba dose depends on different factors, such as the user’s age, overall health, and other conditions. At this time, there is no sufficient scientific evidence to determine the appropriate range of dosage for banaba. Remember, natural products are not always necessarily safe and proper dosage is important. Make sure to follow all instructions provided on product labels and consult your doctor before taking any banaba supplements.
The Bottom Line
Proponents claim that banaba has weight loss, blood sugar balancing, and cholesterol-lowering benefits. It is also believed to help treat fungal and viral infections, provide protection against alcoholic liver disease, and help treat inflammation. However, there is still insufficient research to support these claims, so if you are considering using banaba and banaba supplements, make sure to consult your physician first.