Stevia or honey leaf, known for its antidote properties against diabetes, is becoming popular as a cure for the disease in Varanasi.
Also known by the names of sweet leaf or sugar leaf, these leaves provide cure in many health disorders.
"Diabetic patients can use these leaves as an alternate for sugar. These sweet leaves provide the taste of sugar without increasing the sugar or glucose level in the body. Besides this, these leaves are also good for heart patients as it smooth the cardiovascular function," said Amit Yadav, an Ayurvedic practitioner.
He also added that since Stevia contains fewer concentrations of carbohydrate and calories, they are also helpful in obesity and high blood pressure.
Diabetic patients said Stevia helped them in controlling their blood sugar level.
"I have tried many medicines for treating diabetics, but I was unable to control my blood sugar level. Someone told me about this Stevia leaf and I started consuming the boiled extract of these leaves. This not only controlled my blood sugar level but also provide relief to my body," said Yogendra Pratap Singh, a diabetic patient.
According to reports, India has around 37 million diabetic patients out of the total 150 million in the world and it is growing rapidly. If nothing is done to reverse the trend, then India would become the diabetic capital of the world by 2025 with estimated 70 million diabetic patients.
As the graph of diabetic patients is increasing, farmers prefer cultivating Stevia to traditional crops.
"The percentage of diabetic patients is increasing day-by-day. Stevia leaf is helpful in controlling blood sugar level and obesity as well. So there is a huge demand for this. We foresee a bright future in Stevia cultivation. That is why we prefer Stevia to other crops," said Mahendra Pratap Singh, a cultivator of Stevia plants.
Diabetes sets in when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Sugar then cannot be properly stored or used and it builds up in the bloodstream, resulting in diabetes. By Girish Kumar Dubey