If you enjoy the super sweet taste of stevia, you may never have to worry about suffering from Lyme disease. As odd as that may sound, a recent study conducted by University of New Haven researchers suggests that stevia, a plant known for its sweetness, can kill Lyme disease.
Lyme disease, an infection spread by deer ticks during warm-weather months, causes flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, chills, muscle aches and joint pain. Symptoms are often accompanied by a large, circular rash. If left untreated, Lyme disease may cause symptoms that are eerily similar to other illnesses, like auto-immune thyroid disease, lupus, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. As per the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, the most commonly prescribed treatment for Lyme disease, a two or four-week course of antibiotics, cannot effectively treat the disease.
However, University of New Haven researchers say they may have found something that can do exactly what antibiotics can’t. In a recent University-led study, extract of stevia leaves was shown to eradicate many different forms of B. burgdorferi, the microorganisms responsible for Lyme disease. (Yes, we are in fact talking about the liquid sweetener, stevia, that you put in your coffee every morning.)
During the study, stevia leaf extract consistently outperformed many antibiotics that are traditionally used to treat Lyme disease, including, cefoperazone, doxycycline and daptomycin. Stevia leaf extract also prevented Lyme disease-causing microorganisms from returning, whereas standard antibiotics failed to produce similar results. Ultimately, stevia extract permanently killed B. burgdorferi infections in seven days, whereas antibiotics actually caused B. burgdorferi to increase in size and return again.
Many people aren’t aware they’ve been bitten by a deer tick, and many who get flu-like symptoms fail to consider Lyme disease as a possible candidate for their malaise, as they can’t see or don’t have the “telltale” circular rash surrounding a bite site. But the disease’s prevalence during the hot summer months, coupled with its ability to mimic other illnesses, makes it easy to go undetected.
While more research is needed on the subject, feel free to add a generous squeeze of liquid stevia extract to your sweet tea while fishing on the lake or making s’mores by the campfire.