Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is a sweet and nutrient-rich plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. Stevia
leaves contain steviol glycosides including stevioside, rebaudioside (A to F), steviolbioside, and isosteviol, which
are responsible for the plant’s sweet taste, and have commercial value all over the world as a sugar substitute in
foods, beverages and medicines. Among the various steviol glycosides, stevioside, rebaudioside A and rebaudioside
C are the major metabolites and these compounds are on average 250-300 times sweeter than sucrose.
Steviol is the final product of Stevia metabolism. The metabolized components essentially leave the body and
there is no accumulation. Beyond their value as sweeteners, Stevia and its glycosdies possess therapeutic effects
against several diseases such as cancer, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, inflammation, cystic fibrosis, obesity and
tooth decay. Studies have shown that steviol glycosides found in Stevia are not teratogenic, mutagenic or carcinogenic
and cause no acute and subacute toxicity. The present review provides a summary on the biological and
pharmacological properties of steviol glycosides that might be relevant for the treatment of human diseases.