Stevia, a highly-popular natural sugar substitute, may be good for more than just sweetening your coffee. Tests conducted by a Connecticut professor and her students showed that Stevia effectively treated Lyme disease. 
Professor Eva Sapi, chairwoman of University of New Haven’s Department of Biology and Environmental Science, and her students found that the liquid, whole-leaf Stevia extract prevented the tick-borne bacteria better than other antibiotics, including doxycycline, cefoperazone, and daptomycin.
Sapi’s original research was published in 2015 in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology, but Stevia as a defense against Lyme disease continues to impress.
Once diagnosed with the disease, Sapi said:
“We believe that nature put Borrelia (the bacterial species which causes Lyme disease) on this planet and nature will provide a solution for it, too.”
“It was just after I got my first full-time position teaching and doing research at the University of New Haven, and I started experiencing dizziness, nausea and fatigue. I even started having some memory issues and some problems talking.” 
She went on to say:
“I was terrified to learn that not much is known about what is really working for this disease. That was my goal, I was on a mission, I mean when I recovered I promised myself that we find something.
Just because it works in a test tube doesn’t mean it’s going to work in a human body so we didn’t stop.” 
If not caught and treated in a timely manner, the effects of Lyme disease can be devastating, as they are often life-long. The disease can cause fatigue, headaches, high body temperature, other flu-like symptoms, and more. 
Fortunately, Sapi is in remission, and claims to have been treated by a variety of things, including a compound anti-microbiotic medicine, infrared sauna use, and an overall lifestyle change.
The study abstract actually concluded with:
“When Stevia and the three antibiotics were tested against attached biofilms, Stevia significantly reduced B. burgdorferi forms. Results from this study suggest that a natural product such as Stevia leaf extract could be considered as an effective agent against B. burgdorferi.”
Stevia is Being Studied for its Anti-Lyme Properties
Clinical trials of Stevia in human patients are currently being conducted in patients of Dr. Richard Horowitz, a doctor in Hyde Park, New York, who specializes in Lyme disease.
“They’re going well as far as I’m aware. I got an e-mail from one of Dr. Horowitz’s patients, who said it appears to be working.”
Horowitz confirmed that the trials are going well.
“My research is looking at a pool of 200 people with the disease, and based on what we’ve seen so far all symptoms seem to have significantly improved in the patients.”
Fascinatingly, other studies have shown that sugar “wakes up” dormant bacteria, called persisters. This was also part of Sapi’s inspiration for the experiment. Her research found that these persisters are protected by a biofilm, which allows it to lay dormant and keeps antibiotics from killing it.
“They are called sleepers and persisters because no combination of antibiotics were working, and there was no way to wake them up so they could be killed.”
The professor and her students then learned that Stevia has been used in Japan for centuries as a microbiotic agent.
“And every time we’ve tested it so far it’s worked, we just need to see the results from the chemical trials.”
Tens of thousands of people are stricken with Lyme disease every year, the majority of them in the northeast. In 2015, 95% of Lyme disease cases were documented in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotics, but if clinical trial results further prove that Stevia is effective against the condition, it will mean patients have a better shot at being cured without the side effects and risks of antibiotics.
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Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.