Banaba is an herbal remedy extracted from the leaves of Lagerstroemia speciosa, a tree native to Southeast Asia. Long used in folk medicine, banaba is available in supplement form. Proponents claim that banaba can promote weight loss and treat a wide range of health problems.
Rich in corosolic acid (a substance found to possess blood-sugar-lowering, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties), banaba also contains ellagitannins, a class of compounds with antioxidant effects.
Banaba is touted as a natural remedy for the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Kidney disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Urinary tract infections
In addition, banaba is often marketed as a natural weight loss aid. Some proponents also suggest that banana can aid in detox and enhance liver health.
There is currently a lack of scientific evidence for the health effects of banaba. Some preliminary research indicates that banaba may offer certain benefits, however, the studies are often dated or use a combination of herbs. Here’s a look at several key study findings:
According to a 2015 report published in Frontiers in Bioscience, banaba and other natural supplements (including cinnamon, biotin, fenugreek, ginseng, and alpha-lipoic acid) “have to potential to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes in the large at-risk population.”