Banaba leaf or lagerstroemia is a herb that has long been used in Buddhism, helping those who eat it achieve enlightenment. In dietary supplements, however, banaba leaf appears to be best suited for its anti-diabetic or glucose disposal benefits as it is almost exclusively found in these style of products.
What it does
Banaba is a powerful anti-diabetic, capable of lowering one’s blood sugar by ~30%. Thanks to its key active ingredient, corosolic acid, this plant may also hold promise in its ability to offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, and more.
How it works
Banaba contains a compound known as corosolic acid which allows it to exhibit its powerful anti-diabetic and glucose lowering effects. The theorized mechanisms of action for the compound are that it may be capable of sensitizing insulin receptors themselves, allowing the body to “supercharge” the power of its own naturally occurring insulin, or that it may help insulin enter the cells via a unique pathway called the GLUT4 glucose transporter. This pathway increases the uptake of blood sugar into muscle cells, and as a result, blood sugar levels drastically reduce.
When using a non-standardized form of banaba, aim for 3,000mg per day, preferably before or with meals containing carbohydrates. If using a form standardized for corosolic acid, aim for 250-500mg of corosolic acid each day, again taken prior or during carbohydrate meals. Due to this plant’s capability to reduce blood sugar drastically, it is advised to start with a small dose to assess tolerance, as too high of a dose may cause hypoglycemia which may result in extreme side effects.