Banaba Tropical Tea
Banaba or Lagerstroemia speciosa is a tropical ornamental tree, about 40-60 feet tall, that is also called the Pride o India, Queen's crape myrtle and Giant crape myrtle. It is well known and admired for its showy clusters of crinkly red, white, lavender and purple flowers and leaves that turn bright red during the first months of the year. Banaba is an early bloomer, and produces flowers even when it is just a few feet tall. The flowering period lasts from 2-4 months each year, probably the longest among trees. It produces round or oval, hard brown seeds.
Banaba is a fast growing and sturdy tree, resistant to pollution, diseases and drought, and prefers full exposure to the sun. It is extensively planted along residential streets, public roads and parks where the trees can provide people with shade and a beauty all its own. Indigenous only to the Philippines, India, Australia and East Asia, the banaba has spread to other countries with warm climes, including Italy, the south of France, Spain and Portugal in Europe and Texas and Florida in the US.
In the Philippines the banaba tree is considered both as an ornamental and medicinal plant. Probably the most popular herbal drink in the Philippines is made of seven kinds of herbs and out of all those seven herbs, the most popular is the banaba. Traditionally those who want to drink what is amusingly called as the Seven-Seven Tea buy or collect the fresh herbs from gardens or tiny herb "stands." A tea prepared from banaba leaves alone is also a very popular herbal brew. Regular consumption of banaba tea is usually associated with diabetes since Filipinos have been drinking it to lower blood sugar levels for many generations. In fact it is only in the Philippines that dried and shredded banaba leaves have been used as an anti-diabetic agent.
Neuleaf Banaba tea is made from healthy and mature banaba leaves, wild crafted, carefully selected and handpicked, and dried naturally under the tropic sun. It is tangy and strong, and meant to be slowly sipped and enjoyed.