Banaba leaves are thick and waxy and come from a tree with striking, purple flowers that grows easily in Southeast Asia and India. It has long been a traditional treatment for high blood sugar throughout this region, particularly in the Philippines and India.
How it is Taken
Banaba Leaf Extract is traditionally taken by making a tea from the leaves, but nowadays it is available in capsules. A typical dosage might be between 16mg and 48mg per day and is sometimes combined in capsules with other blood glucose-regulating compounds.
Numerous clinical studies, on both humans and animals, have shown banaba leaf extracts ability to lower blood sugar and insulin levels. One study at the Southeastern Institute of Biomedical Research, using a 1 percent corosolic acid extract of banaba leaf, consistently reduced blood glucose significantly in people with type-II diabetes—though interestingly, not in healthy people.
An added benefit of taking banaba leaf extract is the Holy Grail—weight loss without dieting. An animal study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science showed banaba leaf extract to not only regulate glucose, but also induce weight loss. Experts believe this is because the regulation of insulin and blood sugar levels helps control cravings for sweets and other simple carbohydrates, allowing the person to eat less (and healthier) with less difficulty.
According to natural health practitioner Dr. Ray Sahelian, as of April 2009, no articles in medical journals have been published indicating any known side effects of taking banaba leaf extract. The general consensus in the medical community is the herb does not cause any ill effects at all. The one thing to be concerned about when taking it is the possibility of overuse, which can make it work too well—lowering blood sugar levels too far (by any means, even not eating enough) can result in dizziness, headache and fatigue