It happened during one of my husband's provincial trips. When he visited their local station in Bicol Region he came across an old man driving his tricycle. He was kind of aged, but hubby noticed that he is still physically fit and moves perfectly. He was able to ask the old man about his secret for keeping such a perfect, healthy body. The only answer that the man gave my husband is the power of Banaba. He and his family make Banaba tea as their coffee. They drink three or more glasses of it in a day. Because of that I got curious about the health benefits of Banaba and here's what I found.
Banaba has the scientific name of Lagerstromia speciosa. It is a tree commonly found in the provinces, and its beautiful blue-violet flowers make the banaba tree an ornamental tree used also as shade for parking lots and roadside landscaping. Extracts from this medicinal plant of the Philippines are known for lowering blood sugar and thus it is beneficial to diabetic patients. It has corosolic acid, a triterpenoid compound, which aids glucose transport or utilization in the body cells. Reduction of blood glucose can lead to reduction in body weight due to the better control of carbohydrates, and said weight reduction was seen even without dietary restrictions. Also, Banaba is popular and used for treatment of urinary tract infections.
The leaves are generally used to make Banaba tea, but the bark, flowers and fruits can be used as well.
Pick mature leaves and chop them. Mix the chopped leaves with water with the ratio of 1 part leaves per 3 parts water. Boil for 15 minutes over low heat. Strain the tea to separate the tea from the solid parts. To give some twist in the flavor you can add "kalamansi" (calamansi). Drink it hot or cold 3 to 4 times a day.
The Banaba tea can cure urinary tract infection (UTI), inflammation of the liver and dysuria. Drinking the tea aids people with diarrhea and promotes proper bowel movement and flow. It helps in weight reduction and more. There are no known side effects or toxic reactions of Banaba. Banaba has proven its value as a traditional Philippine health drink.