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  • #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.”


    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.


    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.

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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?Wink

    Dorian Kramer

    I found a relatively inexpensive supplier for both banaba and chianca piedra(phyllanthus)
    As to dosage general raw herb extracts are done as a tea, this is often done through boiling and then simmering herbs. certain herbs though have volatile oils that can be evaporated if cooked too long. Since I don’t know if these herbs are long term or short term cooking herbs I would suggest for those who want to try it that you use a French press of no more then two cups of water with a heaping tablespoon of the herb/ or one of each if doing both herbs. Let steep for a minimum of 15 minutes, you can have one cup at night and even save over night the rest and have a stronger cup in the morning. Do not microwave as it may change the nature of the function. In addition for those concerned with extracting only the right chemical compound, don’t be too concerned it many studies on herbs are all based on water extracts, in addition for most herbs it is actually all the components of it that can have a “safer effect” than isolating one compound, easiest thing to look at is aspirin and willow bark to understand this. That being said, herbal medicine is not inherently safe because it is “natural”, being under the care of an experienced practitioner is always safest. But since I have had a hard time finding known side effects of these two herbs, they may be “safer” than others

    Keith Taylor

    When I consider the safety aspect, I’m obviously concerned with potential toxicity. However, there is another safety aspect to consider.

    That is the danger of untreated excess uric acid. Though gout sufferers are primarily concerned with the pain of a gout flare, the worse danger is the damage caused by uric acid crystals. In, and around the joints, uric acid crystals cause physical damage to cartilage, tendon, and bone. This can lead to permanent loss of mobility, and amputation or joint replacement. Uric acid deposits spread beyond joints. The first victim is often the skin, as tophi burst through ears, hands, etc. All joints are at risk, with kidney and heart disease common targets that may prove fatal.

    So the safety context has to consider how effective a herbal medicine is at making uric acid safe. If it is ineffectual for uric acid control, it is dangerous irrespective of toxicity. Therefore, herbal medicines taken for uric acid control must always be measured by getting regular uric acid blood tests. I believe that kidney function tests and liver function tests are also a vital part of herbal uric acid lowering.

    Of course, some herbal medicines are taken for pain relief. In that case, the safety aspect of toxicity remains. But never forget that relying on herbal pain relief without lowering uric acid is extremely unsafe.

    Dorian Kramer

    Keith you make an excellent point. Herbs must be treated with the same respect as medications, since they are the original medication. That means that you should always monitor yourself while taking them the exact same way you would while on a medication. Also taking them doesn’t mean you are cured, any real herbalist will talk to you about diet and lifestyle changes as well, all they are is a potential alternative to medications, as one of my teachers used to say “it is medicine not magic”. If you choose to see a provider of alternative medicine they should and can work in conjunction with your regular MD.

    Keith Taylor

    Dorian, I’m so glad you overcame the problems of registering. Hope this isn’t causing your head to ache!

    I hope you’ll start more interesting discussions about alternative medicine.

    Dorian Kramer

    Hey found this study that supports the use of this herb as a xanthine oxidase inhibitor

    Keith Taylor

    Great find, Dorian.

    If this works properly, there should be a link to the full report here very soon.

    It has details of how the banaba tea was made. Note that the study uses extracts derived from that tea. Also, it is laboratory inhibition of Xanthine Oxidase. The authors call for real-life testing of the tea, and it’s active components, to test if uric acid lowering actually occurs.

    Keith Taylor

    Whilst looking for that, I also found a summary of several other plants that have shown xanthine oxidase inhibition. I’ll try to summarize these in more accessible form when I get time. Remind me if you get impatient waiting 🙂

    Also, if any of these plants have special interest for anyone, please let me know and I will research more facts about their uric acid lowering potential.

    Keith Taylor

    @dorian-kramer I just realized I didn’t comment fully on your earlier

    For safety, I recommend getting regular liver function and kidney function checks. This is usually associated with pharmaceutical uric acid control, such as allopurinol and Uloric. However, I think those tests, along with uric acid tests, are advised for herbal gout medicine. Even with diet control, it is useful to be assured that lifestyle changes are not having repercussions.

    GoutPal HelpDesk

    Please note that we’ve moved discussion of Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitors to the new gout forum. But remember, that is for sharing information to improve GoutPal facts about Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitors.

    If you want personal help about any aspect of your gout, please start a topic in the new gout forum.

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