Stevia is an herbaceous plant (herb) that is grown in countries such as Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico and China. Stevia has been used in these and many other countries for more than a millennium.
Steviosides, the sweet glycosides from the Stevia Leaf are 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.
For centuries Stevia leaves have been chewed, crumbled, crushed, soaked and stewed by South Americans.
In Japan, Stevia has become the #1 sweetener with a 52% market share, more than sugar!
Not only is Stevia a naturally sweet dietary supplement, it may also have health benefits. Studies have shown that Steviocides may lower blood pressure without any apparent influence on blood chemistry results.*
In a study at Purdue University, Stevia was found to inhibit the growth of oral bacteria that causes tooth decay. It has also been found to inhibit the formation of plaque and also reduce he incidence of tooth decay.**
Perhaps the most important use of Stevia is its use as sweetening agent for persons with diabetes. Stevia has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and increase glucose tolerance.***
In America, as of this writing, Stevia must be marketed as a dietary supplement and not a sweetener. This is aregely due to the lobbying efforts of companies that make artificial sweetneners. A simple search on Google will bring you a plethora of information about the controversial topic.
Stevia Powder for Baking
Stevia remains stable at extreme temperatures, making it excellent to use in hot food and in baking.
*Chan P, Tomlinson; B. Chen YJ, et al. A double-blind placebo-controlled study of the effectiveness and tolerability of oral Steviosides in human hypertension. Br J Clin Pharmacol 50 (3): 215-220, 2000.
The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical condition.
**Das, S; Das AK; Murphy R.A; et al. Evaluation of cariogenic potential of intense natural sweeteners stevioside and rebaudioside A. Caries Res 26 (5); 363-366, 1992.
***Curi, R; Alvarez, M; Bazotte, RB; et al. Effect of Stevia rebaudiana on glucose tolerance in normal human adults. Braz J Med Biol Res 19 (6): 771-774, 1986.