Stevia is an herbal supplement derived from a plant native to South America. Despite its uses as a sugar substitute and for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension, stevia poses a risk for side effects in some patients.
There are a number of other names for stevia, though each of these herbal supplements represent a product derived from the same type of plant, posing similar side effects. Other possible names for stevia include azucacaa, Paraguayan sweet herb, sweet leaf, honey leaf, Reb A and yerba dulce.
Types of Side Effects
Possible side effects of stevia include bloating, nausea, dizziness, muscle pain and numbness, according to RxList.com.
Stevia does interact with some other drugs. Stevia increases the amount of the psychiatric drug lithium in your body, causing an increased risk of the drug's toxic side effects. Because of its potential to lower blood sugar or pressure, stevia poses a risk for serious hypoglycaemia or hypotension when combined with oral diabetes or blood pressure medications.
Some patients develop a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to stevia, causing shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, wheezing, hives and even anaphylactic shock. You are at an increased risk for an allergic reaction if you have an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemums or daisies, cautions RxList.com.
Because there is no research verifying the safety of its effects upon a developing foetus, avoid taking stevia if you are pregnant.