Publicado: 02-23-2010 03:30 PM
What is stevia? Stevia Rebaudiana is an herb in the Chrysanthemum family which grows wild as a small shrub in parts of Paraguay and Brazil. It is also cultivated in China, Japan, and California. New growers are popping up along the Pacific Rim, as well as Southern Ontario in Canada and even in the south of England.
The glycosides in the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, especially the high concentration of “stevioside”, are what create the incredibly sweet flavor on the tongue, making it unique among the nearly 300 species of Stevia plants.
"What is stevia sweetener?" It’s a different kind of sweet than sugar or honey or maple syrup, because it is not a sugar. There can be a slight bitter aftertaste sometimes, which may take a little getting used to, but it's quite easy to get hooked on the taste!
Stevia has been used for centuries by the indigenous peoples of Paraguay to sweeten their traditional tea, Yerba Mate. It has also been used extensively in Japan to flavor a wide range of foods, including candy, pickles, dried seafoods, chewing gum, “diet” soda, and vegetable dishes.
Stevia is legally sold in the US as an herbal supplement, not as a food additive. In Europe it is illegal to sell it unless you are a licensed herbalist or otherwise properly accredited practitioner who administers herbal supplements. But this is not due to any danger of consuming it, it's more about the fact that if stevia was legalized as a sweetener, it would soon put other sugar and artificial sweetener manufacturers out of business!
Stevia is sweeter than sugar and artificial sweeteners, and has none of the unhealthy drawbacks associated with either of them. The pure liquid extract form os stevia (a dark green liquid, extracted from the leaves of the plant "as is", with no extra concentration of steviocides) is actually used to help stabilize blood sugar levels when taken as a drink mixed with water, has excellent properties as a skin toner when applied as a mask, and has been shown to help prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay when used in food and drinks, since it is not a sugar.
Publicado: 02-23-2010 04:31 PM