Nutritional qualities and Benefits

The banaba's greatest health benefit is undoubtedly its insulin-like effect that lowers blood sugar levels. Aside from that, banaba provides you with significant amounts of dietary fiber and minerals such as zinc and magnesium. Fiber helps keep you regular, your colon cells healthy and undamaged by free radicals, and prevents colon cancer.

As early as 1940, a Filipino scientist researched and wrote on the banaba's anti-diabetic properties. But it was only in the 1990s that scientists from the US, Japan and Korea launched studies to determine if there was a solid basis behind the banaba's reputation and popularity as a folkloric cure for diabetes.This continuing interest can probably be traced, at least in part, to the steep rise in cases of Diabetes 2 due to a sedentary lifestyle and a diet high in sugar and fat that has contributed to the spread of obesity, even among young children. By 1996, scientists had studied and verified the anti-diabetic action of banaba extracts on mice during their experiments. The blood glucose and insulin level of the mice dropped after the extract was administered. Not only that, in a later study, it was discovered that overweight mice treated with the extract lost weight, though there was no change in food intake.

So far, studies have shown that the banaba herb does have that insulin-like effect, something that generations of Filipino herbal healers and their patients had already assumed from experience and observation. In earlier studies this effect was attributed to corosolic acid which constitutes 1 percent of the total content of banaba leaves. In later studies, it appears that the banaba leaves contain other active elements such as tannin molecules. It is still not clear, however, which tannin molecules contribute to banaba's anti-diabetic effect. The icing on the cake is the fact that banaba can be taken orally and have no seriously negative side effects.

The long term effects of diabetes are terrible-heart attacks, strokes, blindness, amputations due to problems in circulation, depression, etc. That's why it is so important to discover, develop and combine both conventional and alternative methods of preventing and curing this disease.