Stevia rebaudiana (generic name)
treats Hyperglycemia and Hypertension
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EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Hypertension (high blood pressure):
Stevioside is a natural plant glycoside isolated from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, which has demonstrated blood pressure lowering effects. Despite evidence of benefits in some human studies and support from laboratory and animal studies, more research is warranted to compare stevia's effectiveness with the current standard of care and make a firm recommendation. Stevia appears to have no major side effects.
Stevia has been widely used for diabetes in South America and animal studies have had promising results. Studies report decreases in plasma glucose when stevia was taken in normal volunteers, but there is currently no conclusive evidence of effectiveness when used for diabetes. Additional study is needed in this area to confirm these findings.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Alcohol abuse, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antimutagenic, antitumor, antiviral (human rotavirus activity), contraceptive (birth control), diarrhea, digestive aid, diuretic, food additive, immunomodulation, obesity.
Adults (18 years and older)
For hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), 1 gram of stevioside has been taken with meals to lower blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. Water extracts of 5 grams of leaves have also been used at regular six-hour intervals for three days to increase glucose tolerance.
For hypertension (high blood pressure), stevioside (250-500mg) capsules given three times daily decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure after three months of therapy, and have been studied for up to two years. Despite early evidence that this may be an effective dose, a recent study did not find any benefit of crude stevosides (up to 15mg/kg taken twice daily) for two years.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for stevia, and use in children is not recommended.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to stevia or the daisy family (Asteraceae/Compositae). Other members of the daisy family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and many other herbs.
Side Effects and Warnings
Stevioside may lower blood glucose levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Myalgia (muscle pain), muscle weakness, dizziness, asthenia (loss of strength), nausea, and abdominal fullness have been reported after taking stevioside. These effects resolved after the first week of treatment. Stevia may also lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure. Use cautiously in patients with hypotension (low blood pressure) or taking hypotensive drugs since various human and animal studies have shown that stevioside may significantly decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Higher doses of stevia may affect renal activity and perfusion, sodium excretion, and urinary flow. Avoid using stevia therapeutically in patients with impaired kidney function or other kidney diseases until human safety data is available.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Stevia is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.