Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Stevia: About the Sweet Leaf

Stevia is a sweet leaf herb that has been used for many years in South America to sweeten herbal teas. It is a member of the aster family (Asteraceae). People in Paraguay and Brazil have used this herb safely for hundred's of years. In more recent times, Japan has implemented the use of this sweet herb to sweeten beverages and foods. It is a safe, natural, and non-caloric sweetener and has many beneficial qualities for health. Not only is it believed to prevent tooth decay, but it is beneficial to the pancreas and is safe for people with blood sugar issues. Stevia kills fungi, bacteria, and viruses and is claimed to lower blood pressure. Stevia contains more than 100 different phytochemicals including terpenes and flavonoids. The chemicals in the stevia leaf that provides the intense sweetness of this herb are called glyocosides. One-fourth teaspoon of dried, ground leaves of stevia in their natural form is equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar. The natural, unrefined herb is delicious and most healthful, although refined forms are commercially available and can add sweetness to baked goods, beverages, and fruits.


comfrey cottages said...

i have stevia growing and will be drying some of it. want to experiment and hopefully be able to fine tune some simple things like how much to put in beverages etc. gotta start it simple with my group lol

La Tea Dah said...

It's so good, and the whole leaf doesn't get bitter or too strong like the processed stevia can. Do you go out to your garden and clip off a leaf and eat it? So sweet! I dry it the same way I dry herbs --- and then enjoy mixing it with dried mints and other 'garden tea' ingredients (herbal) and making a yummy tea with it!

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