Stevia is used as a no-calorie sweetener that supposedly doesn’t negatively impact blood glucose levels, however, stevia shows to be detrimental on reproduction function and is used  in South America as birth control. Other areas of the world use stevia medicinally. For people who currently suffer from health issues indicative of microbiome issues, the use of stevia is potentially harmful.

Specifically stevia showed over a 50 percent effectiveness when used as birth control.

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PubMed published a study from Science magazine showing, “A water decoction of the plant Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni reduces fertility in adult female rats of proven fertility. The decoction continues to decrease fertility for at least 50 to 60 days after intake is stopped.”

Making a decoction is done by using a pint of filtered water to 1 ounce herb, bringing to a simmer over medium heat and allowing the mixture to cook down, without the lid, until it reduces by 1/3 in size.

The study says, Matto Grosso Indians tested dry powdered stevia leaves and stems used as oral contraceptive with albino rats. Their 6-day mating period was monitored with the powdered decoction administered before, during and after. The male rats were not treated with the stevia, only the females. The experiment was repeated three times with a 50-60 day rest period between tests where no therapy was administered.

They found, “Fertility was reduced 57-79% in rats drinking the decoction as compared with controls. A reduction of 50-57% in fertility was still present at 50-60 days after intake of the decoction. In the 1st experiment 11 of the young, belonging to different litters, lost their tails without apparent cause at ages of 12-15 days. This did not occur in the other experiments.”

Healthline says, “A highly refined form of stevia called rebaudioside A (marketed as Rebiana) is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food additive.” The FDA has strict guidelines and believes raw stevia leaves or minimally processed leaves, “Can damage heart and reproductive health, and might do harm to the liver.”

Stevia is a plant, grown naturally, which is claimed to be anywhere from 20 to  200 times sweeter than table sugar. The leaves are green. When dried they are still green. When pulverized they are still green. Stevia purchased in the store is white. Manufacturing processes alter the plant in its whole food form. For minimally processed, dried and ground stevia leaf, click here.

Stevia.com claims, “The human body does not metabolize the sweet glycosides (they pass right through the normal elimination channels).” The glycosides contained in stevia are Steviosides, Rebaudiosides and a Dulcoside. They cliam, “Refined Steviosides & Rebaudiosides are the sweetest form of Stevia and may be purchased in a semi-white powder form (usually referred to as an extract) or in a clear liquid made by adding the powder to water and a preservative.”

They go on to say, “Although Stevioside is a desirable sweetener it does not have the extraordinary health benefits of the Stevia leaf or products made from whole leaf Stevia concentrate.”

One placebo controlled double blind study on Stevioside showed no difference with human test subjects in comparison to the placebo.

Stevia processing involves drying the plant with the use of the sun, heat or microwave, depending on the manufacturer.

Truvia is an artificial sweetener derived from stevia. It is highly processed and compromised from the original stevia state.

Stevia is considered a medicinal compound due to the plant chemical structure with over 100 phytochemicals found including: Apigenin-4′-o-beta-d-glucoside, austroinulin, avicularin, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, campesterol, caryophyllene, centaureidin, chlorogenic acid, chlorophyll, cosmosiin, cynaroside, daucosterol, diterpene glycosides, dulcosides A-B, foeniculin, formic acid, gibberellic acid, gibberellin, indole-3-acetonitrile, isoquercitrin, isosteviol, jhanol, kaempferol-3-o-rhamnoside, kaurene, lupeol, luteolin-7-o-glucoside, polystachoside, quercetin, quercitrin, rebaudioside A-F, scopoletin, sterebin A-H, steviol, steviolbioside, steviolmonoside, stevioside, stevioside a-3, stigmasterol, umbelliferone, xanthophyll.

Interestingly researchers found anti-tumor properties from stevia compounds saying, “The antiinflammatory effect of steviol glycosides, stevioside, rebaudiosides A and C and dulcoside A against TPA-induced inflammation and found these compounds to possess a marked inhibitory effect.”

Medicinally stevia is used in Brazil, Paraguay and South America for several reasons including cavities, depression, diabetes, fatigue, heart support, hypertension, hyperglycemia, infections, obesity, sweet cravings, tonic, urinary insufficiency, wounds, diabetes, hypertension, infections, obesity, vasodilation and as a sweetener.

Some pro-stevia advocates, such as stevia.net say the use of stevia for birth control have not been duplicated in test studies.

The concern remains this is a processed food. The human body is made to digest food in its whole food form, complete with all the accompanying components and health benefits. Food processing has shown to degrade and compromise the beneficial aspects. If stevia is your sweetener of choice it may be best to have a plant of your own and use the leaves as your chosen sweetner instead of purchasing the manufactured product. 

Click here for plant starters. Click here for seed packets to grow your own stevia. The stevia plant grows much like basil or sage in low growing clusters.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, neurologist and neurosurgeon who specializes in the gut microbiome and rebuilding the body after autoimmunity says the healthiest sweetener known today is still local honey from bees pollinating their local flowers, not fed sugar water. Click here for a quality option if you don’t have a beekeeper near you. 

*If you learned something from this post share it so others can do the same. To support the efforts of this blog shop the affiliate links above like this one. You pay the same shopping through Amazon while the author receives a small referral fee from Amazon. This offsets the costs of this site.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.





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