December 8, 2010 at 10:34 am #3465
Has anyone tried Banaba Tea or any of the Extracts out there. I have read a few articles lately on the purported benefits of it. I am in the US and there doesn't appear to be any source of obtaining the tea here. Here is a snippet from one of the sites i have found:
“The leaves also contain Valoneic Acid Dilactone (VAD) that can be employed in the treatment of gout**. It is used as an inhibitor*** of xanthine oxidase to lower uric acid levels.
Extracts from the leaves seems to be more effective for this purpose than the prescription drug ZYLOPRIM® (Allopurinol), and Colchicine but without the side effects associated with these products.”December 8, 2010 at 6:37 pm #10753
There are lots of natural xanthine oxidase inhibitors, as a thorough search of PubMed will reveal. However, the fact that your source confuses allopurinol (uric acid lowering) with colchichine (anti-inflammatory pain relief) should set alarm bells ringing.
The relevant research is:
J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Aug;93(2-3):391-5.
Xanthine oxidase inhibitors from the leaves of Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers.
Unno T, Sugimoto A, Kakuda T.
Central Research Institute, ITO EN Ltd. 21 Mekami, Sagara-cho, Haibara-gun, Shizuoka 421-0516, Japan.
Xanthine oxidase (XOD) is a key enzyme playing a role in hyperuricemia, catalyzing the oxidation of hypoxanthine to xanthine and then to uric acid. This study aimed to identify the XOD inhibitors from the leaves of Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers. (Lythraceae), which was traditionally used as a folk medicine in the Philippines. Using a bioassay-guided fractionation technique, two active compounds were isolated from the aqueous extracts of the Lagerstroemia speciosa leaves, namely valoneic acid dilactone (VAD) and ellagic acid (EA).
The result demonstrated that the XOD-inhibitory effect of VAD was a stronger than that of allopurinol, a clinical drug used for XOD inhibitor, with a non-competitive mode for the enzyme with respect to xanthine as the substrate. These results may explain and support the dietary use of the aqueous extracts from Lagerstroemia speciosa leaves for the prevention and treatment of hyperuricemia.
PMID: 15234783 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
But that refers to extracts prepared in lab conditions. The practical considerations seem overwhelming to me:
- How do you control dosage?
- How do you know it is safe?
- Are there any long term health risks?
- What are the costs compared to proven uric acid lowering medications.
Having said all that, you only have a 20% chance of proper gout care at the doctors, and I know a reputable supplier, so I'll be back soon with some costings.December 8, 2010 at 7:20 pm #10750
OK, for anyone who wants a little self-experimentation, here we go…
First, unless you have access to weekly uric acid tests from your doctor, you'll need a uric acid monitor.
Second, you need your banaba.
Amazon sell a range of banaba products. Try Banaba Leaf (which earns me a small commission).
Third, you'll need a plan. This needs to be a personalised plan to manage the 3 phases of urate lowering therapy. It's the type of thing you'd get from a caring doctor prescribing allopurinol, but if you're getting that level of care, you're unlikely to be coming here for advice. I'm sure by now that everyone knows my general approach to this 3 phase uric acid management plan, so I wont bore you again here. Once you've got the first two items, come back and we'll thrash out the numbers for the plan.
I take no responsibility if it doesn't work, or if you die.December 8, 2010 at 8:01 pm #10752
This Banaba is amazing stuff- I've never heard of it and thought it a mispelling of banana !
It seems a more usual use is blood sugar control where it is as powerful as insulin.
From the site refereral:
Balances blood sugar
Promotes healthy insulin levels
Controls appetite and food craving (especially carbohydrate cravings)
Promote weight loss
So, these would have to be considered 'side effects' to the SUA lowering discussed from the Japanese research, when used for gout.
Obviously , to be used with exreme care. This is not to deny its potential usefulness, of course, but it looks like a good candidate to be banned and then resurrected as a miracle cure at huge cost.
With huge drums costing $10+ grand a go- this wouldn't be difficult to justify.
Sometimes,I really respect out forebears with their trials of home cures- many must have 'dropped off the cart' in the event and be written off to 'experience'.
With gout being so painful, this is understandable.December 9, 2010 at 2:08 am #10748
Like any natural source, there are many different compounds that can be extracted. The report I quoted mentions 2, and some product descriptions focus on another. Natural xanthine oxidase inhibitors are all around us in many plants, but the difficulty lies in extracting a controlled dose.
Plant extracts are a huge industry with massive investment in quality control procedures. Boiling a kettle and splashing it on a few leaves cannot come close to achieving a reliable, medical quality product. My earlier post was a tongue-in-cheek 'procedure' for the type of things that you would have to consider before attempting to use Banaba Leaf as a serious uric acid reducing tool. Surely nobody would consider this when allopurinol is so cheap, reliable and effective (when managed by the 20% of healthcare professionals who know what they are doing).
Having said that, a significant number of our visitors live in the Philippines, and may have access to banaba leaf based treatments. I must stress that it's usefulness can only be judged by it's effect on uric acid. If it is effective, then it may actually induce gout attacks in the early stages, just as Western medicine drugs like allopurinol often do. The thought of people experimenting with urate lowering preparations without realizing that lowering uric acid can cause gout flares scares me.December 10, 2010 at 6:13 am #10746
It's our Southern States' CREPE MYRTLE:
- Although native only to India, the Philippines, Australia and East Asia, the Banaba bush has been introduced and subsequently become well established in warm climates worldwide. Common in Italy, southern France and the Iberian peninsula, the plant is also prevalent anywhere south of Zone 6 in the United States. Banaba thrives particularly well in milder climates that are not high in humidity, such as in Texas and southeastern California. In the United States, the Banaba bush is also known as the Giant Crape Myrtle, Cuddle Tree and Queen Crape Myrtle.
It's major claim to fame seems to be its hypoglycemic effect (mimicking insulin.) Of coures, IF this is true, then it is good or bad depending on your blood sugar. Obviously diabetics would need to take this stuff very carefully. Likewise people who suffer bouts of hypogylcemia would want to avoid it.
Is there ANY plant on Earth for which someone hasn't made a medical claim?