Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa L)

Posted by Puteri | 2/12/2008 10:48:00 AM | | 0 comments »

I was at a Prediabetic class yesterday. There were about 12 of us and about half of the people in the class were about my age, and the other half were elderly.

From the questions that some raised during the class, I deduced that I was the only one who was monitoring my blood sugar using a glucose meter!

I was surprised that not more would want to monitor their blood sugar using a glucose meter. Ever since I was taken off the prescribed diuretic I had been on for about 2.5 years, I now test my blood sugar less frequently.

My doctor was right when he suggested that my elevated blood sugar could have been due to the prescription diuretic. My fasting blood sugar used to be in the high 90s mg/dL. Now it is on the low 80s or high 70s mg/dL.

I have also totally changed my diet. I bought several diabetic cookbooks and those books have been useful in helping me plan my meals.

One other thing that I have also done was take some food supplements that have been proven helpful in lowering blood sugar like gymnema sylvestre, alpha lipoic acid, bitter melon tea, and today I discovered Banaba.

Nobody at the prediabetic class raised the possibility of using certain food supplements in controlling their blood sugar. I guess I was the only one using food supplements! I told the elderly lady sitting next to me about what I was taking, and recommended that she try a couple of them.

The following, on Banaba which is a variety of crepe myrtle that grows in the Philippines, India, Malaysia and Australia, was taken from a site called

Active ingredients include corsolic acid and tannins, including lagerstroemin. These ingredients are thought to stimulate glucose uptake and have insulin-like activity. The latter activity is thought to be secondary to activation of the insulin receptor tyrosine kinase or the inhibition of tyrosine phosphatase.


A 15-day randomized control trial on banaba was done in 10 patients with type 2 diabetes and fasting glucose levels between 140 and 250 mg/dl. The results of the trial were published in a 2003 issue of the Journal of Pharmacological Sciences (93:69-73).

Diabetes medications were stopped 45 days before the study. Three different doses of banaba—16 mg, 32 mg, or 48 mg—in either a soft-gel or hard-gel formulation were used.

Five subjects in each group received the three different doses for 15 days, with a 10-day washout between doses. Basal glucose was determined by a fasting blood sample seven days before starting banaba.

During the study, three samples were taken, and an average of the three readings was compared to the basal value. The 32- and 48-mg soft-gel formulations showed 11 percent and 30 percent decreases, respectively, from basal values after 15 days of treatment. Only the 48 mg hard-gel formulation showed a significant decrease of 20 percent, but it was still lower than the soft-gel formulation.