"Studies revealed that Stevia has been used throughout the world since ancient times for various purposes; for example, as a sweetener and a medicine. As we know that the leaves of Stevia plants have functional and sensory properties superior to those of many other high-potency sweeteners. Although Stevia can be helpful to anyone, there are certain groups who are more likely to benefit from its remarkable sweetening potential. These include diabetic patients, those interested in decreasing caloric intake, and children. Stevia is a small perennial shrub that has been used for centuries as a bio-sweetener and for other medicinal uses such as to lower blood sugar. Its white crystalline compound (stevioside) is the natural herbal sweetener with no calories and is over 100-300 times sweeter than table sugar." (1)

Bioactive moieties in Stevia play a vital role in health promotion aiding and boosting the immune system to fight against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and lower the occurrence of various other ailments diseases. (1)

“Stevia rebaudiana is famous for its sweetening properties but there are many other aspects for its popularity and getting importance for being the rich source of nutritional and functional components like protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins, phenolic acids, free radical scavenging and antioxidant capability, nutraceutical properties, etc. A number of scientists have worked on different aspects and properties of Stevia and found some remarkable results. Fresh Stevia leaves contain almost 80% moisture and provide 270 kcal/100 g energy (Savita et al., 2004a). Gasmalla et al. (2014) determined that Stevia has a considerable amount of protein and can absorb sufficient water in product development. Protein content in Stevia leaves was recorded as 6.2–20.42% (Gibson et al., 2017).(2)

Fat content in extraction from Stevia was found to be only 4.34% that is not high enough compared to other oil sources however fatty acid composition of Stevia presents it as a good source for optimum growth. Gasmalla et al. (2014) determined that Stevia leaves have 6.13 ± 0.63% fat content. Fibers are chemically polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, lignins and their associated plant components. Fiber are resistant starches which remain undigested during metabolism of carbohydrates, therefore escape absorption in the small intestine of humans. Regular utilization of dietary fiber in food provides health benefits like promotes normal functioning of digestion, reduces constipation, maintains body weight, removes extra cholesterol content and saves the body from cardiovascular disorders by regulating normal blood pressure. It also helps in prevention of cancer by providing a surface for attachment to colonic bacteria and also ease the transition of food via intestines (Sánchez-Muniz, 2012; Takasaki et al., 2009). Stevia is a source of ample amounts of dietary fibers and it has been reported that 18 g/100 g crude fiber is present in Stevia leaves powder while (Gasmalla et al., 2014) reported crude fiber in Stevia as 13.56–18.5%.

“Mineral composition of Stevia- Stevia leaves have a good mineral profile with nutritionally essential elements in reasonable amounts i.e. calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc and sodium in fresh as well as dried leaves. Potassium, an important mineral present in high amounts followed by calcium, sodium and magnesium being beneficial for human health as reported by many authors (Lemus-Mondaca et al., 2012). Potassium works as an enzyme activator which is vital in making different peptide bonds. Stevia has sufficient amount of zinc (1.42 mg/Kg) which is the structural as well functional part of different enzymes like trans phosphorylase, peptidases, etc. which plays an important role as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and anticancer element. It is also an integral part of both DNA and RNA polymerase (Brisibe et al., 2009). Iron is the integral part of hemoglobin and works to transport oxygen across the body for continuation of body process. Therefore, diets missing in iron will lead to several body disorders, major one being anemia. It is a component of myoglobin protein found in muscle. Bone mineralization, enzymatic action, and proper functioning of the nervous system is regulated by magnesium concentration in the body. Calcium is an integral part of teeth and bones performing vital roles in normal muscle contraction. Stevia emerged as a pronounced source of potent minerals thereby playing a protecting role against diet disorders. It balances and conserves different metabolic processes (Khiraoui et al., 2017).” (2)

Siddique, Rahman and Hossain (2016) analyzed the hexane extract of Stevia rebaudiana from hexane and determined free and bound fatty acids. They found that the relative percentage of palmitic acid in extract was highest as compared to others fatty acids and it was 86.50%.

Phytochemical and antioxidant potential of Stevia -Oxidative stress is generated when production of a reactive oxygen species became too fast as it creates imbalance and biological system loss its ability to detoxify or repair that damage produced by reactive intermediates (Asmat, Abad, & Ismail, 2016; Maritim, Sanders, & Watkins Iii, 2003). In a cell environment, life is stable due to reducing the atmosphere which is maintained enzymatically by energy input that is metabolically attained. So, alteration or disturbance in this reducing state can greatly affect redox potential or create toxic effects thereby destructing the integrity of DNA. In human prospective, oxidative stress resides in many forms like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, myocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis and chronic fatigue (Che, Wang, Li, Wang, & Zheng, 2016; Elchuri et al., 2005).

Numerous biochemical constituents are generated by plants including phenols as well as their oxygen substituted derivatives. These compounds have a special role in plants serving as protection against microbial attacks and infections (Johnson, Wesely, Hussain, & Selvan, 2010). Stevia has limitless ability to produce phytochemicals, volatile oil components, flavonoids, sterebins A to H, triterpenes, gums, pigments, etc. (Siddique, Rahman, Hossain, & Rashid, 2014). These phytochemicals have enormous potential in minimizing risk free radicals that ultimately cause mutation, cancer and inflammation of body organs. Moreover, phytochemicals present in Stevia have been proved to be significantly effective for anesthetic, vasodilator cardiotonic, anti-inflammatory and austroinullin effects (Zia-Ul-Haq et al., 2011).

Therapeutic remunerations of Stevia - Stevia has been recommended to diabetic patients owing to its non-nutritive properties and approved by the FDA as a dietary supplement. In ancient times, use of Stevia has been reported in treatment of various maladies. Stevia leaves have been recommended to cure different ailments like obesity, renal diseases, CVDs, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), dental caries, etc. (Gupta, Purwar, Sundaram, & Rai, 2013). Toxicological studies have shown that Stevia play a defensive role against carcinomas, mutagenesis, teratogenesis, certain allergic responses, cause no genetic defects in body and beyond sweetness impart anti-hypertensive, diuretic, anti-viral, anti-diarrheal, anti-cariogenic, anti-microbial, immunomodulatory and chemo-preventative activities (Abou-Arab et al., 2010; Yildiz-Ozturk, Nalbantsoy, Tag, & Yesil-Celiktas, 2015) .

Different bioactive components have been reported to be working against tumors, carcinomas, etc. Stevia leaves are rich in bioactive moieties like Labdane sclareol, which has anti-cancer anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic removing attributes (Kaushik, Narayanan, Vasudevan, Muthukumaran, & Usha, 2010).

“Stevia polyphenols have been reported to possess properties inhibiting tumor initiation, propagation and ultimately protecting the body against certain maladies. SGs particularly Steviosides have the capability to block or minimize the activity of tumor propagation (Mizushina et al., 2005). Rebaudioside A has been extensively investigated for its safety perspective including carcinogenesis, mutation by employing Ames test in which bacterial reverse mutation was checked by using Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli as standards. The results depicted that Reb A was found to be non-mutagenic in both bacterial strains. Another study was done on human lymphocytes in order to establish the toxicity status of Rebaudioside-A. Male Wister rats were administered 2000 mg/kg body wt. in a single dose with subsequent 16 h observation in order to check any toxicity signs of Stevia. No substantial toxicity effects have been seen in rats that leads to carcinogenesis (Williams & Burdock, 2009). Stevioside have been examined and they retard the tumor promoting agent which promotes tumor formation in mice skin. Anti-tumor and anti-carcinogenicity effects have been recorded when Stevioside has been administered against urinary bladder tumor diseased cells. Therefore, neoplastic or pre-neoplastic lesions have not been seen in any of the tissue (Takahashi et al., 2012).” (2)

“Stevia rebaudiana (SR) is often used by the food industry due to its steviol glycoside content, which is a suitable calorie-free sweetener. Further, both in vitro and in vivo studies indicate that these glycosides and the extracts from SR have pharmacological and therapeutic properties, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, and anticancer. This work reviews the antiobesity, antihyperglycemic, antihypertensive, and antihyperlipidemic effects of the majority of glycosides and aqueous/alcoholic extracts from the leaves, flowers, and roots of the SR. These compounds can serve as a natural and alternative treatment for diseases that are associated with metabolic syndrome, thus contributing to health promotion.”(5)

“Background: Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) natural, non-caloric sugar substitute is rich source of pharmacologically important glycoside stevioside that is linked to the pathology and complications of diabetes.Methods: The current research was carried out to explore the anti-diabetic effect of aqueous extract of Stevia rebaudiana leaves in albino rats. For this purpose, diabetes was induced by administration of streptozotocin (40 mg/kg body weight, intraperitoneally). The diabetic rats were administered with aqueous stevia extract at different dose levels (200, 300, 400 and 500 ppm/kg b.w) for 8 weeks; the control rats were fed a basal diet during this period. Results: Stevia aqueous extract improved caloric management and weight control by decreasing the feed intake and body weight gain. Furthermore, intake of stevia extract resulted in significant (P < 0.05) decrease in the random blood glucose level (- 73.24%) and fasting blood glucose (- 66.09%) and glycosylated (HbA1c) hemoglobin (5.32%) while insulin (17.82 μIU/mL) and liver glycogen (45.02 mg/g) levels significantly improved in the diabetic rats, compared with the diabetic and non-diabetic control rats after 8 weeks study period. Conclusions: It is concluded that aqueous extract of stevia has anti-diabetic effects in albino rats, and therefore could be promising nutraceutical therapy for the management of diabetes and its associated complications.” (7)