Stevia is extracted from plant “Stevia Rebaudiana” which belongs to the sunflower family. It is popularly known as sugar leaf or sweet leaf. It has long been used as a sweetener or sugar substitute, for more than 1500 years. It is used in food products, soft drinks, and also for table use.
The health benefactions offered by stevia include lowering of blood pressure, protection of oral health, weight loss, the building of strong bones, preventing certain forms of cancer, and skin care.
In addition, a recent research published in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology revealed stevia to be a safer way of treating Lyme diseases outperforming those conventional and toxic antibiotics used against Lyme.
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted by infectious ticks. It affects the heart and nervous system. Joint pain and fatigue are also the common symptoms of Lyme disease. If left untreated, it poses hazardous complications on the body. There are certain antibiotics used against it. However, the continuous adaptations of the germs have rendered these antibiotics less effective.
The respective study was conducted by the researchers at the University of New Haven. For the experiment, an alcohol extract was derived from stevia leaves and then applied to a biofilm of Borrelia burgdorferi. The extract was found to be very efficient in distorting the biofilm. The extract reduced the microbial mass by up to 40%.
The active compounds of stevia include glycosides, steviol, and stevioside. The antimicrobial effect of stevia is accredited to these components by the researchers. Moreover, stevia is reported to consist of antioxidant flavonoids like quercetin and pigments like beta-carotene that distort the structural components of microbes. Stevia extracts are also reported to be effective against the pathogens that cause dysentery and cholera.
When antibiotics are subjected to these biofilms, the microbes close their nutritional tubes however this doesn’t happen in case of stevia. Owing to its sweetness, the microbial nutritional tubes remain open to stevia and the phytochemicals rush into the bacterial films destroying them with greater proficiency in comparison to the conventional antibiotics.
Moreover, antibiotics are toxic and cause various complications. In contrast, stevia extract is found to cause no possible side effects. In addition, no possible regrowth was observed after a week of experiments and just 10% regrowth after two weeks.
Stevia, despite being 40 times sweeter than sugar, doesn’t affect blood sugar levels. It is a native herb in South America. Aside from treating Lyme disease, it offers various benefactions, some of them are mentioned below.
It’s great for people with diabetes because it isn’t absorbed by the body cells but the bacteria in the gut region. The diabetic patients can use it as a sweetener without suffering from any complications.
Due to low caloric content stevia could be used in low-calorie desserts which may help people with their diet or weight loss plans. Being rich in antioxidants it also induces the reduction of tumor cells.
Glycosides in stevia help relax the blood vessels and reduce bad cholesterol, low-density lipids, and triglycerides’ levels in the body.
Stevia prevents the formation of bacteria in the skin and mouth preventing conditions like eczema and dermatitis. It also prevents cavities and gingivitis. It enhances bone density and prevents osteoporosis by increasing the calcium catabolism.
Professor Eva Sapi, chairwoman of University of New Haven’s Department of Biology and Environmental Science, along with her team stated that stevia extract could be a plausible solution to Lyme disease with minimal side effects but still, more research is to be done in order ensure that it would work on humans.