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Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Check out this information: Lagerstroemia speciosa (Giant Crape-myrtle, Queen's Crape-myrtle or Banaba plant) is a species of Lagerstroemia native to tropical southern Asia. It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 20 m tall, with smooth, flaky bark. The leaves are deciduous, oval to elliptic, 8-15 cm long and 3-7 cm broad, with an acute apex. The flowers are produced in erect panicles 20-40 cm long, each flower with six white to purple petals 2-3.5 cm long.

Lagerstroemia speciosa Linnaeus (Banaba) is a perennial tree commonly found also in upland forests of the Philippines. Traditional medicine has long recognized it for the therapeutic properties of its leaves.

In 1998, clinical studies confirmed the hypoglycemic effect of “colosolic acid” in the banaba leaves- a medical breakthrough indicating that proper diet regimen can control diabetes. The findings conducted by Dr. Yoshio Ikeda, an authority in Clinical and Preventive Medicine on Diabetes and Obesity at the Jikei University School of Medicine, showed that the substance could lower blood glucose level by an average of 13.5% on clinical test on patients with “mild” (type2) diabetes.

Traditional medicine has long touted it also as a natural remedy to alleviate kidney and bladder problems, stomach disorders, and diarrhea. In addition, it is an agent for the maintenance of low blood pressure and improved kidney functions without side effects. Dr. Ikeda’s study also showed that banaba leaves have a natural “antioxidant” that may help repair damaged cells and slow down aging.

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