Stevia is a genus of many herbs of the family Asteraceae. It originated from subtropical and tropical region of the world. One species in particular, Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is grown to be a natural sweetener. Stevia is also known as sugar leaf or sweet leaf and now grown all over the world.
It is a popular sweetener among the people on low carbohydrate diets, obese people trying to lose the weight and also among the hypertension patients.
Stevia is widely used in Japan as the natural sweetener, but the same herb was banned from use in the United States since the 1990. The stevia extract is approved to be used as the additive in the food in 2008.
Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar, which is why many people disregard the potential danger from consumption of this herb. The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) banned the use of this herb 20 years ago, stating that stevia is not safe to be used as food additive.
Stevia is usually the sweetener of choice for diabetic patients and for those who are trying to lose some weight but don’t want to deprive themselves from sweets.
Stevia is also known to lower the high blood pressure, which is why it is used to help treating the hypertension. This herb could be helpful for obese people while losing some weight and diabetics, because of the increase of glucose tolerance in these patients.
Stevia might be a potential problem for reproductive system, energy metabolism and be a pro-cancerous substance.
This herb could potentially cause a problem for male reproductive system. Although the research was made on rats, the results could be interpreted as the same for humans. There are some changes in the female reproductive system as well, but the damage was more extensive in the male animals, showing the decrease of sperm production.
Children might be more seriously affected than adults, when using stevia. This herb interferes with the absorption of carbohydrates from intestines, affecting the energy metabolism and making the body weak.
Stevia has not been proven to be a pro-cancerous herb, but some consider it to be a mutagen agent. This herb is connected to the DNA mutation in the cells, which could ultimately lead to cancer changes of the cells in the body. Whenever, something is called a mutagen, it is not advised to use this substance, or, at least, the use should be limited to a bare minimum.