Until now, it’s been fairly well known that stevia can help in weight management, lower blood pressure, help control diabetes, build strong bones, promote healthy skin, and even help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Now, the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology has released a new study that shows stevia may have may another important benefit as an antibiotic against Lyme disease.
New Haven University researchers created an alcohol extract made from stevia leaves. They applied this to a film of the bacterium Borrelia Burgdorfer, the active agent known to cause Lyme disease.
They found the extract was, in their words, “very effective” in disrupting the formation of the bacteria. Their initial experiments resulted in a 40% reduction in the growth of the bacteria. This is a marked improvement over standard antibiotics used against the disease.
The antimicrobial properties of stevia come from its unique pair of glycosides; stevioside and steviol. Research shows that stevioside is a potent resistor of both Pseudomonas Aeruginos and Klebsiella pneumoniae bacterium. These are frequently transmitted through contaminated food. Extracts of stevia have also been found to be effective against the microorganisms that cause cholera and dysentery.
Stevia has the unique ability to trick bacteria into turning off one of its primary defense mechanisms. Biofilms possess nutrition tubes which they can close when they encounter traditional antibiotics. Because of stevia’s natural sweetness, bacteria are more motivated to consume it- since sugar is a highly desirable food source for bacteria. Bacteria gladly gobble the substance up, allowing stevia’s phytochemicals enter the bacteria’s digestive system, and are destroyed.
Lyme disease is a severe medical condition that can harm the nervous system and heart. When left untreated, it can have widespread and sometimes deadly repercussions. According to the Infectious Disease Society of America, those who have contracted the disease should undergo a two to four-week course of treatment of doxycycline. Other traditional treatments for the disease include daptomycin, cefoperazone and other combinations of antibiotics, all of which are rapidly proving inferior to stevia.
Numerous studies have shown that bacteria’s ability to evolve rapidly and adapt to traditional antibiotics means these drugs have only limited usefulness. At least 20 percent of Lyme disease sufferers experience fatigue and severe joint pain after just six months of aggressive treatment with antibiotics. This is a condition known as chronic Lyme disease or post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It is caused by microbes which traditional antibiotics fail to kill.
These microbes which traditional antibiotics cannot kill are called persisters. They are the strongest and most aggressive strains of the standard Lyme populations. Ordinarily, these persisters would be kept in check by their neighboring microbes. When left untreated by antibiotics, the strongest bacteria would have to share resources and compete with ordinary spores. But when antibiotics kill the majority of a biofilm- the strongest remain unhindered by a lack of space or the need to share food.
You might think of a persistor microbe as analogous to the barbarians in a Mad Max film. After the nuclear holocaust, only the strongest remain- and there’s nothing to stand in the way of their plundering- least of all the antibiotics that failed to kill them in the first place. Worse yet, traditional antibiotics also decimate the body’s immune system. This leaves the body even more unprotected from the stronger persister microbes.
Unlike ordinary antibiotics, bacteria are much less able to adapt to stevia since bacteria accept it readily as food. Would-be persister bacteria gobble it up just as eagerly as the rest, making super strains much less likely to develop a strong presence.
What’s more, antibiotics come with a host of unwanted side effects and can interact with other drugs adversely.
Stevia has no known adverse side effects and no record of causing harmful reactions. In other tests, it was able to destroy 100% of pathogenic organisms. After these tests, no viable growths emerged after one week, and after 10 weeks just 10% regrowths were found.
Stevia comes from a leafy green plant native to South America. It has been used for generations as a topical antibiotic, and it has been enjoyed as a food additive because of it’s sweet flavor.
Today, the market is inundated with artificial sweeteners meant to replace sugar. Without exception, all of these have been found to cause cancer and other dreaded diseases. Stevia is the only known sugar replacement that is not fattening, causes no harm, and comes with a host of benefits- including powerful antibiotic properties.
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