Azucacaa, Caa-He-É, Ca-A-Jhei, Ca-A-Yupi, Capim Doce, Chanvre d'Eau, Eira-Caa, Erva Doce, Estevia, Eupatorium rebaudianum, Green Stevia, Kaa Jhee, Mustelia eupatoria, Paraguayan Stevioside, Plante Sucrée, Reb A, Rebaudioside A, Rébaudioside A, Rebiana, Stévia, Stevia eupatoria, Stevia Plant, Stevia purpurea, Stevia rebaudiana, Stevioside, Sweet Herb of Paraguay, Sweet Herb, Sweet Leaf of Paraguay, Sweetleaf, Yerba Dulce.
Overview InformationStevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a bushy shrub that is native to northeast Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. It is now grown in other parts of the world, including Canada and part of Asia and Europe. It is probably best known as a source of natural sweeteners.
Some people take stevia by mouth for conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heartburn, and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Extracts from the stevia leaves are available as sweeteners in many countries. In the US, stevia leaves and extracts are not approved for use as sweeteners, but they can be used as a "dietary supplement" or in skin care products. In December 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status to rebaudioside A, one of the chemicals in stevia, to be used as a food additive sweetener.
How does it work?Stevia is a plant that contains natural sweeteners that are used in foods. Researchers have also evaluated the effect of chemicals in stevia on blood pressure and blood sugar levels. However, research results have been mixed.
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
- Diabetes. Some early research suggests that taking 1000 mg daily of stevia leaf extract might reduce blood sugar levels after eating by a small amount in people with type 2 diabetes. But other research shows that taking 250 mg of stevioside, a chemical found in stevia, three times daily does not decrease blood sugar after three months of treatment.
- High blood pressure. How stevia might affect blood pressure is unclear. Some research suggests that taking 750-1500 mg of stevioside, a chemical compound in stevia, daily reduces systolic blood pressure (the upper number in a blood pressure reading) by 10-14 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by 6-14 mmHg. However, other research suggests that taking stevioside does not reduce blood pressure.
- Heart problems.
- Weight loss.
- Water retention.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyWhen taken by mouth: Stevia and chemicals contained in stevia, including stevioside and rebaudioside A, are LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth as a sweetener in foods. Rebaudioside A has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status in the U.S. for use as a sweetener for foods. Stevioside has been safely used in research in doses of up to 1500 mg daily for 2 years. Some people who take stevia or stevioside can experience bloating or nausea. Other people have reported feelings of dizziness, muscle pain, and numbness.
Some people who take stevia or stevioside can experience bloating or nausea. Other people have reported feelings of dizziness, muscle pain, and numbness.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if it is safe to take stevia when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Stevia is in the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. This family includes ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many other plants. In theory, people who are sensitive to ragweed and related plants may also be sensitive to stevia.
Diabetes: Some developing research suggests that some of the chemicals contained in stevia might lower blood sugar levels and could interfere with blood sugar control. However, other research disagrees. If you have diabetes and take stevia or any of the sweeteners it contains, monitor your blood sugar closely and report your findings to your healthcare provider.
Low blood pressure: There is some evidence, though not conclusive, that some of the chemicals in stevia can lower blood pressure. There is a concern that these chemicals might cause blood pressure to drop too low in people who have low blood pressure. Get your healthcare provider's advice before taking stevia or the sweeteners it contains, if you have low blood pressure.
Be cautious with this combination
Lithium interacts with STEVIA
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with STEVIA
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with STEVIA
The appropriate dose of stevia depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for stevia. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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- Kinghorn, A. D., Soejarto, D. D., Nanayakkara, N. P., Compadre, C. M., Makapugay, H. C., Hovanec-Brown, J. M., Medon, P. J., and Kamath, S. K. A phytochemical screening procedure for sweet ent-kaurene glycosides in the genus Stevia. J Nat Prod. 1984;47(3):439-444. View abstract.
- Klongpanichpak, S., Temcharoen, P., Toskulkao, C., Apibal, S., and Glinsukon, T. Lack of mutagenicity of stevioside and steviol in Salmonella typhimurium TA 98 and TA 100. J Med Assoc Thai. 1997;80 Suppl 1:S121-S128. View abstract.
- Koyama, E., Kitazawa, K., Ohori, Y., Izawa, O., Kakegawa, K., Fujino, A., and Ui, M. In vitro metabolism of the glycosidic sweeteners, stevia mixture and enzymatically modified stevia in human intestinal microflora. Food Chem.Toxicol. 2003;41(3):359-374. View abstract.
- Lee, C. N., Wong, K. L., Liu, J. C., Chen, Y. J., Cheng, J. T., and Chan, P. Inhibitory effect of stevioside on calcium influx to produce antihypertension. Planta Med 2001;67(9):796-799. View abstract.
- Li, J., Jiang, H., and Shi, R. A new acylated quercetin glycoside from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni. Nat.Prod Res 2009;23(15):1378-1383. View abstract.
- Takasaki, M., Konoshima, T., Kozuka, M., Tokuda, H., Takayasu, J., Nishino, H., Miyakoshi, M., Mizutani, K., and Lee, K. H. Cancer preventive agents. Part 8: Chemopreventive effects of stevioside and related compounds. Bioorg.Med.Chem. 1-15-2009;17(2):600-605. View abstract.
- Taware, A. S., Mukadam, D. S., and Chavan, A. M. Antimicrobial Activity of Different Extracts of Callus and Tissue Cultured Plantlets of Stevia Rebaudiana (Bertoni). Journal of Applied Science Research 2010;6(7):883-887.
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- Yasukawa, K., Kitanaka, S., and Seo, S. Inhibitory effect of stevioside on tumor promotion by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate in two-stage carcinogenesis in mouse skin. Biol Pharm Bull. 2002;25(11):1488-1490. View abstract.
- Yodyingyuad, V. and Bunyawong, S. Effect of stevioside on growth and reproduction. Hum.Reprod. 1991;6(1):158-165. View abstract.
- Ajami M, Seyfi M, Abdollah Pouri Hosseini F, et al. Effects of stevia on glycemic and lipid profile of type 2 diabetic patients: A randomized controlled trial. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2020;10(2):118-127. View abstract.
- Barriocanal LA, Palacios M, Benitez G, et al. Apparent lack of pharmacological effect of steviol glycosides used as sweeteners in humans. A pilot study of repeated exposures in some normotensive and hypotensive individuals and in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 2008;51:37-41. View abstract.
- Boonkaewwan C, Ao M, Toskulkao C, Rao MC. Specific immunomodulatory and secretory activities of stevioside and steviol in intestinal cells. J Agric Food Chem 2008;56:3777-84. View abstract.
- Brusick DJ. A critical review of the genetic toxicity of steviol and steviol glycosides. Food Chem Toxicol 2008;46 Suppl 7:S83-91. View abstract.
- CFSAN/Office of Food Additive Safety. Agency Response Letter: GRAS Notice No. 000252. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, December 17, 2008. Available at: https://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~rdb/opa-g252.html.
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- Chan P, Tomlinson B, Chen YJ, et al. A double-blind placebo-controlled study of the effectiveness and tolerability of oral stevioside in human hypertension. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2000;50:215-20. View abstract.
- Chan P, Xu DY, Liu JC, et al. The effect of stevioside on blood pressure and plasma catecholamines in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Life Sci 1998;63:1679-84. View abstract.
- Curi R, Alvarez M, Bazotte RB, et al. Effect of Stevia rebaudiana on glucose tolerance in normal adult humans. Braz J Med Biol Res 1986;19:771-4. View abstract.
- Farhat G, Berset V, Moore L. Effects of Stevia Extract on Postprandial Glucose Response, Satiety and Energy Intake: A Three-Arm Crossover Trial. Nutrients. 2019;11(12):3036. View abstract.
- FDA. Office of Regulatory Affairs. Automatic detention of stevia leaves, extract of stevia leaves, and food containing stevia. https://www.fda.gov/ora/fiars/ora_import_ia4506.html (Accessed 21 April 2004).
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- Geuns JM. Stevioside. Phytochemistry 2003;64:913-21. View abstract.
- Gregersen S, Jeppesen PB, Holst JJ, Hermansen K. Antihyperglycemic effects of stevioside in type 2 diabetic subjects. Metabolism 2004;53:73-6. View abstract.
- Hsieh MH, Chan P, Sue YM, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of oral stevioside in patients with mild essential hypertension: a two-year, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Clin Ther 2003;25:2797-808. View abstract.
- Hubler MO, Bracht A, Kelmer-Bracht AM. Influence of stevioside on hepatic glycogen levels in fasted rats. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol 1994;84:111-8. View abstract.
- Jeppesen PB, Gregersen S, Poulsen CR, Hermansen K. Stevioside acts directly on pancreatic beta cells to secrete insulin: actions independent of cyclic adenosine monophosphate and adenosine triphosphate-sensitive K+-channel activity. Metabolism 2000;49:208-14. View abstract.
- Lailerd N, Saengsirisuwan V, Sloniger JA, et al. Effects of stevioside on glucose transport activity in insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant rat skeletal muscle. Metabolism 2004;53:101-7. View abstract.
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- Maki KC, Curry LL, Carakostas MC, et al. The hemodynamic effects of rebaudioside A in healthy adults with normal and low-normal blood pressure. Food Chem Toxicol 2008;46 Suppl 7:S40-6. View abstract.
- Matsui M, Matsui K, Kawasaki Y, et al. Evaluation of the genotoxicity of stevioside and steviol using six in vitro and one in vivo mutagenicity assays. Mutagenesis 1996;11:573-9. View abstract.
- Melis MS, Sainati AR. Effect of calcium and verapamil on renal function of rats during treatment with stevioside. J Ethnopharmacol 1991;33:257-622. View abstract.
- Melis MS. Effects of chronic administration of Stevia rebaudiana on fertility in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 1999;67:157-61. View abstract.
- Melis MS. A crude extract of Stevia rebaudiana increases the renal plasma flow of normal and hypertensive rats. Braz J Med Biol Res 1996;29:669-75. View abstract.
- Melis MS. Chronic administration of aqueous extract of Stevia rebaudiana in rats: renal effects. J Ethnopharmacol 1995;47:129-34. View abstract.
- Morimoto T, Kotegawa T, Tsutsumi K, et al. Effect of St. John's wort on the pharmacokinetics of theophylline in healthy volunteers. J Clin Pharmacol 2004;44:95-101. View abstract.
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- Prakash I, Dubois GE, Clos JF, et al. Development of rebiana, a natural, non-caloric sweetener. Food Chem Toxicol 2008;46 Suppl 7:S75-82. View abstract.
- Stamataki NS, Scott C, Elliott R, McKie S, Bosscher D, McLaughlin JT. Stevia Beverage Consumption prior to Lunch Reduces Appetite and Total Energy Intake without Affecting Glycemia or Attentional Bias to Food Cues: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial in Healthy Adults. J Nutr. 2020;150(5):1126-1134. View abstract.
- Tomita T, Sato N, Arai T, et al. Bactericidal activity of a fermented hot-water extract from Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni towards enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 and other food-borne pathogenic bacteria. Microbiol Immunol 1997;41:1005-9. View abstract.
- Toskulkao C, Sutheerawatananon M, Wanichanon C, et al. Effects of stevioside and steviol on intestinal glucose absorption in hamsters. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 1995;41:105-13. View abstract.
- Wasuntarawat C, Temcharoen P, Toskulkao C, et al. Developmental toxicity of steviol, a metabolite of stevioside, in the hamster. Drug Chem Toxicol 1998;21:207-22. View abstract.
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