Herbal Ergogenics: Banaba Leaf

muscled guy with medicine ballThe leaves of banaba, also known as Lagerstroemia Speciosa and Lythraceae, have been used for many years in the Philippines to treat diabetes and kidney related diseases. Banaba contains quite a few constituents that are believed to have health benefits, but corosolic acid is believed to be the main active constituent.

The most common uses of banaba are as a fat loss and recompositioning aid and for controlling blood glucose levels. Banaba has been shown act in a manner similar to insulin in lowering blood sugar levels. This makes banaba of benefit not only to those with high blood glucose levels, but also to performance and physique athletes. Supplementing with banaba may lead to less ingested carbohydrates stored as body fat and more carbohydrates stored as glycogen in skeletal muscle. Banaba may actually inhibit the storage of calories as fat, and it is also believed to curb appetite. Banaba may have some additional benefits as well. Research suggests that banaba may act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, and may support liver health.

Banaba is included in many weight loss and blood glucose control supplements for its ability to act as an insulin mimetic. Banaba may also be purchased as a single ingredient in capsules or bulk powder.


1. Klein G, Kim J, Himmeldirk K, Cao Y, & Chen X. (2007). Antidiabetes and Anti-obesity Activity of Lagerstroemia speciosa. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM. 4(4), 401-7.

2. Ulbricht C, Dam C, Milkin T, Seamon E, Weissner W, & Woods J. (2007). Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa L.): an evidence-based systematic review by the Natural Standard research collaboration. Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy. 7(1), 99-113.

3. Priya TT, Sabu MC, & Jolly CI. (2008). Free radical scavenging and anti-inflammatory properties of Lagerstroemia speciosa (L). Inflammopharmacology. 16(4), 182-7.

4. Hou W, Li Y, Zhang Q, Wei X, Peng A, Chen L, & Wei Y. (2009). Triterpene acids isolated from Lagerstroemia speciosa leaves as alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. Phytotherapy Research : PTR. 23(5), 614-8.

5. Bai N, He K, Roller M, Zheng B, Chen X, Shao Z, Peng T, & Zheng Q. (2008). Active compounds from Lagerstroemia speciosa, insulin-like glucose uptake-stimulatory/inhibitory and adipocyte differentiation-inhibitory activities in 3T3-L1 cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 56(24), 11668-74.

6. Judy WV, Hari SP, Stogsdill WW, Judy JS, Naguib YM, & Passwater R. (2003). Antidiabetic activity of a standardized extract (Glucosol) from Lagerstroemia speciosa leaves in Type II diabetics. A dose-dependence study. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 87(1), 115-7.

7. Liu F, Kim J, Li Y, Liu X, Li J, & Chen X. (2001). An extract of Lagerstroemia speciosa L. has insulin-like glucose uptake-stimulatory and adipocyte differentiation-inhibitory activities in 3T3-L1 cells. The Journal of Nutrition. 131(9), 2242-7.

8. Suzuki Y, Unno T, Ushitani M, Hayashi K, & Kakuda T. (1999). Antiobesity activity of extracts from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. leaves on female KK-Ay mice. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. 45(6), 791-5.

9. Kakuda T, Sakane I, Takihara T, Ozaki Y, Takeuchi H, & Kuroyanagi M. (1996). Hypoglycemic effect of extracts from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. leaves in genetically diabetic KK-AY mice. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. 60(2), 204-8.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cassie is a chemistry major and national level bodybuilder. Questions or comments? Talk to Cassie on the FORUM or on FACEBOOK.

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