Clinical studies show that banana plant extract is a powerful new treatment for today’s intestinal problems.


ACITAN is a relatively new supplement obtained form the pseudostem of the banana plant known botanically as Musa paradisiaca L. (hereafter referred to as PSB).


In brief, it works in three clearly different ways: to destroy intestinal microbes, to regulate peristalsis and to protect the mucous membranes of the gut. PSB yields a rich array of fatty acids – palmitic, oleic, pentadecanoic, myristic, laceric, and stearic acids and their esters to name a few – but it is the tannins that are the crucial elements. Chemically, tannins are water-soluble polyphenols, generally associated to sugars. From a biological point of view, tannins are associated with the resistance of plants to infections and they are powerful antifungal agents.


Essentially, Acitan is a 100% natural extract of PSB: it is an important source of trace minerals including iron, manganese, calcium, selenium, copper, phosphorous, potassium and zinc – all the essential building blocks of a healthy human immune system and vital in protecting the gastric tract.


Equally vital is Acitan’s high fibre content: non-degradable insoluble dietetic fibre is a very important factor in allowing the formation of what the specialists call ‘an augmented faecal bolus’ – in simple terms a large, formed, regular bowel movement. This contributes to the increase of intestinal peristaltic movements – the reflex movement of the gastric tract when presented with foods – and helps the elimination of faeces preventing the re-absorption of toxins into the bloodstream caused by constipation. It was this high fibre content that originally led researchers to conduct tests, first with laboratory animals and then with human subjects, into the extract’s efficacy against chronic digestive disorders in patients of all ages.


Primarily all research into the effects of banana extract on patients with acute and chronic gut problems was carried out in Cuba, where there is a high incidence of gastrointestinal disease in adults and malnutrition resulting from parasitic infestation in children. Particularly revealing was a clinical study using a group of adults suffering from a variety of inflammatory diseases of the intestine and colon.


Within a 30-day trial using banana plant extract, there was a considerable improvement in all the participants, leading the researchers to conclude that the supplement was effective in cases of ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis and non-specific diarrhoea. Earlier, malnourished and underweight children were observed and treated at Havana’s Pedtriatric Hospital with a course of Acitan: all started to gain weight within the three-month trial period and a variety of parasitic infections were eliminated.


With this background information – and a host of other studies (see below) – it makes sense for everyone with a gut problem to test Acitan for themselves. Its gut-specific ability to destroy intestinal microbes, to regulate peristalsis and to protect the mucous membranes of the lower gut make it an invaluable supplement to treat a wide variety of gastric symptoms.


Typical extract from clinical tests

A group of patients suffering from a wide range of gastro-intestinal disease – idiopathic ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, granulomatous enteritis, irritable colon and non-specific diarrhoea – were treated with ACITAN in the Julio Trigo Hospital, (Havana, Cuba). The patients received half a gram of the Banana Extract twice a day for 30 days. The patients were examined before and after the treatment, taking into account the symptomatic elements plus endoscopic and radiological evidence. The treatment was applied with satisfactory results in 100% of cases to 99 patients with inflammatory diseases of the colon and the rectum. There was a remission of the clinical symptoms and of the endoscopic and radiological signs.


The British Naturopathic Journal produced a paper in 2003 (Vol.20, No 2) covering the background research into the use of banana extract (Acitan). Its Research Review detailed; ‘Banana extract is described as a dietary supplement that due to its content of insoluble fibre, minerals and tannic substances, helps to improve the functioning of the large intestine and ameliorates dysfunction due to inflammatory, oxidative and autoimmune process.’


IBS Fact file – in brief

Typically, a ‘syndrome’ – as in irritable bowel – is so called because the burden of proof remains unsubstantiated. IBS is a common disorder characterised by intermittent abdominal pain and irregular bowel habit (constipation, diarrhoea or both), more commonly in women.


IBS patients may suffer both diarrhoea and constipation – essentially at opposite ends of the scale – through the disruption of peristalsis. The peristalsis muscles are controlled by the nervous system and the communication between nervous system and muscles may get confused. Irregular movement of waste food results: sometimes it’s pushed through far too quickly – resulting in diarrhoea; at other times the movement of food stops altogether, or is perhaps even forced in the opposite direction, resulting in intestinal blockages and constipation.


IBS is thought also to be caused by stress and over-sensitivity to stressful situations. Bear in mind the digestive tract has a very complex network of nerve cells helping to regulate the complex digestive process. The colon (large intestine) is controlled by the autonomic part of the nervous system, which also regulates heartbeat and breathing rate. Stress can increase both of these and can also cause irregular bowel movements.


So reduce your stress, chew thoroughly, hydrate well throughout the day and if necessary use a digestive enzyme like Acitan.


Also see: Chewing… A Necessary Conversation and Eat to Live