Banaba leaves are now making headlines in natural health and healing literatures because of the growing number of people who benefit from their anti-diabetes effect. I first heard of banaba leaves used as herbal tea when I was in high school. Back then, our backyard caretaker, Kardo, always told me stories about how certain PhilAsian herbs were instrumental to the healing of such and such persons.
Kardo himself had proven the healing power of banaba tea. He used to get the leaves from banaba trees in Manila North Cemetery. He would gather the large, mature leaves,boil them and drink the brew. It had a good diuretic effect that cleansed and washed out toxins that clogged body systems. He used it for almost any ailment--cough, cold, UTI, difficulty in urination, flu, to name a few. He claimed banaba leaves worked for all the above.
But some experts in herbs and plants in the Philippines and Asia say that banaba leaves are especially effective to regulate blood sugar count. They recommend it to diabetics, and some observers say it has to do with the tea's ability to reduce body weight and wash out fat. Also, others say it has todo with the banaba leaves' ability to regulate carbohydrates which increases sugar in our body.
If you want to try banaba leaves, simply gather the bigger and mature leaves, chop them to tea-size leaves, boil them, and enjoy the brew. There are ready-to-drink commercial banaba tea bags but it's always better to make the tea yourself from raw materials. Use the banaba leaves, bark, flowers, or even fruit for the purpose. If you want to add some flavor, go all-natural. Squeeze in some kalamansi and mix it with honey.
Where can you find banaba leaves or trees? Well, you can try Kardo's favorite hangout in Manila North Cemetery, or go to Bluminttrit market near the Chinese General Hospital and ask where banaba leaves are available for sale.