Banaba’s Powerful Effects in Diabetes
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“The Pride of India” owns its name
A botanical traditionally used in Southeast Asia for diabetes and its related complications is Lagerstroemia speciosa, also known as Banaba. This tree is common to the region and has been a part of Philippine local herbal medicine and other medical traditions such as Ayurveda for many years.
Corosolic acid, one of the primary active compounds found in its leaves, is what extracts from the Banaba tree are typically standardized to. However, substances known as gallotannins and ellagitannins, which are also found in the extract, may mediate the observed biological effects as well, giving importance for use of the whole herb in addition to corosolic acid., Although clinical trials have focused on the role of the extracts in blood sugar regulation, results in cellular and animal models suggest that they also may be protective against obesity, elevated uric acid levels, high cholesterol, hypertension, and liver and kidney damage, – each of these being issues that often accompany diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Banaba and glucose homeostasis
Cellular, animal, and human studies reinforce Banaba’s value in promoting healthy blood sugar levels. One mechanism via which the compounds within L. speciosa may reduce blood sugar levels is by increasing glucose uptake into cells where it can be used., Animal studies have shown that Banaba extracts also inhibit alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidases (enzymes that play a role in starch digestion) thereby reducing the absorption of carbohydrates that are eaten during a meal. As such, its benefits are greatest when it can be taken prior to meals to promote this additional effect.
Animal studies have shown that Banaba extracts also inhibit alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidases (enzymes that play a role in starch digestion) thereby reducing the absorption of carbohydrates that are eaten during a meal.
In humans, these effects and possibly others have been shown to have a dose-dependent impact on blood glucose levels. In one clinical study involving both healthy individuals and those with diabetes, corosolic acid was shown to significantly reduce post-challenge blood glucose levels. In another study involving type 2 diabetics, daily supplementation with Banaba extract standardized to 1 percent corosolic acid (providing 0.48 mg of corosolic acid) significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 30% after two weeks. The individuals in this study were not on other medications and had initial fasting blood glucose levels of 140 – 250 mg/dL.
Corosolic acid also protected against diabetic kidney damage in animals, reducing levels of protein found in the urine as well as lowering serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) values.
In genetically diabetic mice, a lowering effect was seen not only with blood glucose, but hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) levels were also significantly diminished., Corosolic acid also protected against diabetic kidney damage in animals, reducing levels of protein found in the urine as well as lowering serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) values – each being markers of kidney damage. On a cellular level, proliferation of glomerular cells and glomerular fibrosis (both typically seen in diabetes-related renal damage) were also diminished via treatment with corosolic acid.
Collectively, the available evidence suggests this botanical may broadly address the issues related to diabetes, with benefits extending beyond improved glucose control. Taken alone or in combination with other directed botanicals (such as berberine or other Ayurvedic herbs), the standardized extracts from the Banaba tree provide another option for the increasingly common issue of type 2 diabetes.
Click here to see References
 Klein G, et al. Antidiabetes and Anti-obesity Activity of Lagerstroemia speciosa. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2007 Dec;4(4):401-7.
 Hayashi T, et al. Ellagitannins from Lagerstroemia speciosa as activators of glucose transport in fat cells. Planta Med. 2002 Feb;68(2):173-5.
 Suzuki Y, et al. Antiobesity activity of extracts from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. leaves on female KK-Ay mice. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1999 Dec;45(6):791-5.
 Unno T, et al. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors from the leaves of Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Aug;93(2-3):391-5.
 Yamaguchi Y, et al. Corosolic acid prevents oxidative stress, inflammation and hypertension in SHR/NDmcr-cp rats, a model of metabolic syndrome. Life Sci. 2006 Nov 25;79(26):2474-9.
 Guo X, et al. Corosolic acid protects hepatocytes against ethanol-induced damage by modulating mitogen-activated protein kinases and activating autophagy. Eur J Pharmacol. 2016 Nov 15;791:578-588.
 Tiwary BK, et al. Radical Scavenging Activities of Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers. Petal Extracts and its hepato-protection in CCl 4-intoxicated mice. BMC Comp Alt Med. 2017 Dec;17(1):55.
 Bai N, et al. Active compounds from Lagerstroemia speciosa, insulin-like glucose uptake-stimulatory/inhibitory and adipocyte differentiation-inhibitory activities in 3T3-L1 cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Dec 24;56(24):11668-74.
 Liu F, et al. An extract of Lagerstroemia speciosa L. has insulin-like glucose uptake-stimulatory and adipocyte differentiation-inhibitory activities in 3T3-L1 cells. J Nutr. 2001 Sep;131(9):2242-7.
 Suzuki Y, et al. Effect and mode of action of banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa L.) leaf extracts on postprandial blood glucose in rats. Nippon Eiyo Shokuryo Gakkaishi.2001;54(3):131-137.
 Fukushima M, et al. Effect of corosolic acid on postchallenge plasma glucose levels. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2006 Aug;73(2):174-7.
 Judy WV, et al. Antidiabetic activity of a standardized extract (Glucosol™) from Lagerstroemia speciosa leaves in type II diabetics: A dose-dependence study. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Jul 1;87(1):115-7.
 Kakuda T, et al. Hypoglycemic effect of extracts from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. leaves in genetically diabetic KK-AY mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1996 Feb;60(2):204-8.
 Li XQ, et al. Corosolic acid inhibits the proliferation of glomerular mesangial cells and protects against diabetic renal damage. Sci Rep. 2016 May 27;6:26854.
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Dr. Carrie Decker
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