The Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) Plant of the Month (POM) for July 2019 is the “banaba” or scientifically known as Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers. It belongs to family Lythraceae. It is native to tropical Southern Asia but usually grown in South and East Asia like Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Southern China, and the Philippines.
Banaba leaves are widely used as tea in the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. In Vietnam, the young leaves of banaba is used as vegetables while its mature leaves are used as traditional medicine reducing blood sugar. Furthermore, dried and shredded banaba leaves are used to treat diabetes and kidney diseases. Other uses of banaba specifically its roots are as astringent and stimulant.
Caution, banaba seeds are poisonous but when treated properly can be edible.
Come, visit and explore MBG and see for yourself the wonderful banaba tree!