Posted April 26, 2013 by bathyal.ganesh in Flora and Fauna

Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa) Herbal Medicine

banaba 2
banaba 2
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Banaba tree is a species of Lagerstroemia native to tropical southern Asia. It has been known by many names such as Giant Crape-myrtle, Queen’s Crape-myrtle, Banaba Plant for Philippines, or Pride of India.

It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 25 metres (66 ft) tall, with smooth, flaky bark. The leaves are deciduous, oval to elliptic, broad, with an acute apex. It  is fast-growing (so is used as a nurse tree for slower growing saplings) with an extensive root system so is useful to stop soil erosion.

 It is native to the Indian subcontinent where it grows wild and cultivated, and to the Philippines, South East Asia, Indonesia and Australia. It has been introduced into parts of tropical Africa, Jamaica and the USA. At the beginning of the year it starts to lose its leaves which have turned bright red or orange by that season.

Banaba has been known and used for it’s medical applications that include blood pressure control, urinary dysfunctions (helps ease urination), cholesterol level control, treatment of diarrhea, facilitates bowel movement, diabetes and as an analgesic. The primary active chemical ingredient of the extract is corosolic acid, and there are also numerous possible synergists including lager-stroemin, flosin B and reginin A. The leaves of the Banaba and other parts are used widely by the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan as a tea preparation. Corosolic acid is a known potent glucophage, helpful in decreasing blood sugar levels.

The leaves contain theminerals manganese and zinc among others, and it has been discovered that one of the side effects of banaba is very positive as it helps reduce weight and so banaba can be found in many weight control formulae in the US. Extracts obtained from the seeds (said to be narcotic) have powerful antioxidant properties and the ellagic acid compounds in banaba are being researched to discover if they can help in the treatment of HIV. Banaba may have antibiotic properties too

Apart from it’s medicanal use it is used as an ornamental plant, it is also used as a living fence, and various items are made from its wood, including poles, decorative items and furniture. It is also used for construction and cut down for fuel by local people, who also use it for charcoal. Its bark produces a yellow dye .

Banaba Documentation Video by nimbus2828 -

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