Stevia is a native shrub of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) from subtropical and tropical parts of South and Central America. It is widely grown for its sweet leaves to be used as a natural replacement for sugar and is also known as sweetleaf or sugarleaf. It has been used for over 1500 years by native Guarani tribes of Brazil and Paraguay. It is also widely used in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The stevia leaf contains numerous phytonutrients and trace minerals. It contains stevioside, a natural sweetener, which is 300 times sweeter than sugar, yet it is not absorbed by the body and contains practically no calories or carbohydrates and is diabetic safe. It also contains numerous phytonutrients and trace minerals.
Stevia is said to nourish the pancreas and does not raise blood glucose levels making it safe for diabetics. Since there are no calories or carbohydrates stevia is an excellent weight loss aid. Adding stevia to your diet on a regular basis has been reported to minimize hunger sensations, cravings for sweets or fatty foods, aide in digestion, decrease hypertension without effecting normal blood pressure, stabilize blood glucose levels, shorten recovery time from cold and flu. There are several reports that the use of stevia has reduced cravings for tobacco, alcohol, sweet and fatty foods. When used in toothpaste or mouthwash, tooth decay, cavities and gum disease is reduced due to its antibacterial properties.
Today, health conscious Japan, (where aspartame has been banned) is one of the world’s largest users of stevia where it is used to sweeten everything from soy sauce, pickles, and confections to soft drinks. Even multi-national giants like Coca Cola and Beatrice Foods use Stevia extracts to sweeten foods (as a replacement for Nutra Sweet and saccharin) for sale in Japan, Brazil and other countries. After extensive research, stevia has been safely used for over 30 years. Other major countries around the world have also been using stevia as a sugar substitute in food manufacturing. Stevia is often used in cooking and baking as a natural sweetener (the stevia blend is best for this).
As Dr. Daniel Mowrey reported: "Almost every toxicity test imaginable has been performed on stevia extract (concentrate) or stevioside at one time or another. The results are always negative. No abnormalities in weight change, food intake, cell or membrane characteristics, enzyme and substrate utilization, or chromosome characteristics. No cancer, no birth defects, no acute and no chronic untoward effects. Nothing."
Stevia offers a safe and natural alternative to nasty artificial chemical sweeteners like aspartame which come with a host of side effects and negative consequences for health and without the negatives of regular conventional sugar.
Suggested use: can be boiled with water and used as a liquid.