1 in 10 Americans has type 2 diabetes.
The condition is dangerous in and of itself, but the downstream effects of type 2 diabetes are even more alarming.
Fortunately, there’s banaba leaf, a curious herb that may help end type 2 diabetes as we know it.
Reader be aware you did indeed read the word banaba (and not banana) in this article.
Banaba leaf may resemble banana in spelling, but the two aren’t even close to related.
Banaba leaf comes from the banaba tree which grows throughout the subtropical areas in India, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines.
For centuries the leaves have been turned into tea, and in the Philippines, the Filipino Department of Health (DOH) even lists it as a medicine.
While banaba has a long list of uses, one of the most exciting is how banaba leaf can help to control blood sugar.
Banaba Leaf Dramatically Improves Blood Sugar
In Southeast Asia, various cultures have used banaba leaf to help improve blood sugar. And while they weren’t aware of the mechanisms that caused banaba to lower blood sugar, they just knew it worked.
Scientists have identified a compound in banaba known as corosolic acid that they believe holds the secret power to help improve blood sugar.
Research on how corosolic acid affects blood sugar levels have scientists investigating ways they can use it in drug treatments.
In a meta-analysis of banaba use, the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine cited a study that showed when subjects took an extract of banaba leaf standardized to 1% corosolic acid; there were observable improvements in blood sugar.
Taking low doses of just 32mg – 48mg for two weeks was all it took to make their blood sugar levels better.
In that short amount of time, the study subjects saw their blood glucose levels fall roughly 30%.
No other factors were at play during the testing other than the introduction of banaba leaf extract into their daily routine.
In this study, the researchers couldn’t determine precisely if it was corosolic acid that made their blood sugar drop, mainly because the banaba leaf extract they used had other constituents inside of it.
However, a second study was collected in the same research paper. That second study indicated it was the corosolic acid that caused the improvement.
To come to this determination, the researchers created a group of 12 non-diabetic subjects to see what banaba leaf would do to their blood glucose levels.
At the start of the study, the subjects had blood glucose levels of 104 mg/dL (which is a regular blood sugar reading).
In this experiment, the subjects took banaba leaf extract with 10mg of corosolic acid standardized to 18% (nearly 1000% higher than the first study mentioned).
With this purer, more concentrated form of banaba leaf extract flowing through their veins, the results the researchers collected substantiate the belief corosolic acid helps to boost blood sugar control.
After two weeks of supplementing the already healthy, fasting blood sugar levels, of the test-subjects, dropped an incredible 12%. A second test showed that postprandial (after eating) blood sugar levels also fell 12%.
A remarkable improvement for a supplement-based approach.
These two studies have been corroborated by a series of subsequent studies too, which is why many functional medicine doctors believe banaba leaf is one of the best, natural-based approaches for treating type 2 diabetes.
Are There Downsides to Banaba Leaf?
So far the compile studies support banaba use for blood sugar issues, and the consensus is there are no downsides to using it.
More than a dozen studies indicate it is safe to use and no side effects have been noted for continuous use.
At one-time banaba leaf was hard to come by, but now there are plenty of companies manufacturing it, which means the average person should have no issue getting a supply to use to combat diabetes.