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Stevia is actually part of the sunflower family and is made out of 240 species. It can be found in subtropical areas mainly in the western part of North and South America. This plant is most commonly known for its leaves which are very sweet and are produced as a sweetener or a sugar substitute. The positive side to stevia is the slower onset and the longer taste it has. Stevia is used highly in controlled carbohydrate diets because it has a negligible effect on blood glucose, making it the perfect choice for diabetics. The use of this plant can be dated centuries. Japan has been using the herb for decades as a sweetener. Native Americans have used stevia for centuries, not only for its sweet content but also for medical purposes. This is the best tasting herbal tea!
Benefits of Stevia
Apposed to sugar stevia doesn’t have it ups and downs, actually, consuming stevia gives you energy, and its almost 30 times sweeter than table sugar. Did you know stevia also has zero calories? That’s why is highly recommended for people suffering from obesity. Some people use the leaves to make sugar free treats, the herb is also known to suppress hunger. It has even been used as a medication to help give up smoking. Stevias compound of glycosides, is great for your teeth as it battles tooth decay, while eliminating plaque and cavities. Many toothpaste’s in the market today use stevia as an ingredient. Stevia has also been used in tea form to help the digestive system, and stomach pains. Another popular method is washing your hair with stevia, it can actually help prevent dandruff, and some energy drinks now contain stevia. Unlike some other herbal remedies, stevia does not come with a huge list of adverse effects. Native American were the first to appreciate the benefit of stevia. The Native American herbal remedies would use the leave of the plant to sweeten their beverages, as well chewing the plant.
- Very sweet but has no calories
- Helps with oral health
- Boosts energy
- Prevents dandruff
History of Stevia
Stevia has been used by Native Americans for centuries in South America. Native American have a big range of uses for the herb. Obesity, heartburn, lethargy, or even high blood pressure. Modern medicine did not begin experimenting with the plant until the year 1899, when doctors discovered the plant in the forest of South America. The first chemist to work with the plant made startling discoveries. The plant had a sweetening power stronger than that of sugar. When production first started the plant could only be found in the wild, it took several years for the plant to be cultivated outside the wild. But it did not take long for stevia use to explode. United States started producing the plant in 1918, with the slogan “Remarkable Sweetness”. Japan didn’t get into the stevia market until the 1970s when it looked into stevia as an alternative sweetener, since 1977 Japan has used stevia in all culinary products. In this present day stevia can be found in canned food all over the world.
photo credit: 甜菊 via photopin (license)