Stevia is part of the daisy family and is an evergreen shrubby
perennial with soft green, deeply veined leaves that contains large
amounts (up to 5% in dry weight) of stevioside a sweetener
estimated to be 300 times as sweet as sugar.
It bears clusters of small white flowers in late summer, needs
full sun and can grow up to more than 1m. Stevia is frost tender and
dies back in cold areas it will grow out again in spring. Stevia
is a good container plant and will grow equally well in an indoor
Stevia grows naturally in north-eastern Paraguay near the
Brazilian border. The Guarani Indians who lived there, called it kaa
he-e that means 'sweet herb'. They used it to sweeten their bitter
maté, added it to their medicinal potions and chewed the leaves to
have a sweet taste in their mouthes that lasts a long time. The
Spaniards documented it and by the 1800s the daily consumption of
Stevia spread throughout Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. The first
Westerner to discover Stevia was an Italian botanist named Bertoni
who learned about it from Indian guides in 1887. He named it after a
Paraguayan chemist named Rebaudi, who became the first to extract
Stevia's sweet constituent.
Harvest and parts used: Leaves.
Stevia may have a slight licorice aftertaste and some people will
need to acquire a taste for it. Stevia can be used fresh, dried or
in liquid form depending on what you are using it for.
Stevia's most natural, unrefined form is its fresh leaf. Dried
Stevia leaves are sweeter than fresh leaves and it can be crushed or
grounded into a green powder that is about 10 to 20 times sweeter
than sugar. It can have a somewhat strong aftertaste amounts must
be adjusted to provide more or less a sweet taste. It can be added
directly to tea or other dishes. Stevia powder can be converted into
a syrup by dissolving 1 teaspoon of the powder into 2 cups of water.
Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, lower the heat and simmer until
it has been reduced to a slightly thick syrup. After the liquid
cooled down, it can be poured into a small bottle and stored in the
What Stevia can do:
Stevia enhances the flavor and sweetness of lemon, tomato and most
other fruit, gives a creamier texture to homemade ice cream and
remains stable when combined with acidic food. High temperatures
does not destroy Stevia's sweetening properties and it does not
ferment or discolor. Stevia can be used in hot dishes and baked
foods. When you bake with Stevia, it does not have an after taste
but the green Stevia powder may slightly change the color of the
What Stevia can not do:
Food baked with Stevia does not rise as well as when baked with
sugar. Stevia cannot provide texture, aid in the creaming and
whipping process to give a soft spreading action to batter,
caramelize to enhance browning or feed the fermentation of yeast and
the retaining of moisture.
When baking with Stevia:
Remember that Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar. If you use too
much Stevia, it will lead to over-sweetness and an aftertaste.
Stevia's sweetness is more noticeable when used with neutral/mild
flavored foods and is not as apparent in strong/bitter-tasting foods
like coffee and cocoa. Always add Stevia (powdered or liquid form)
to the liquid ingredients of a recipe. When adapting a recipe by
substituting sugar with Stevia, you may need to slightly increase
the amount of liquid (egg, water, milk). Keep in mind that too many
eggs may toughen your end result. To enhance the flavor of cake
(flour has a bitter nature) - you can add nuts and grated lemon
peel. You can also partially substitute sugar with Stevia.
Stevia's Conversion rate:
||6 9 drops
||2 4 drops
Stevia and diabetes:
- Sugar can elevate blood sugar levels, is addictive in
nature, leeches minerals from the body that causes weakness to
the immune system and excess sugar is converted by the body into
- Sugar can safely been substituted by Stevia without any side
- Stevia and weight loss:
Stevia has no calories and can help to reduce caloric intake.
Two teaspoons of sugar contains 50 calories.
- Stevia and tooth decay:
Certain bacteria in your mouth ferment various sugars and
produce acids. These acids eat through the enamel of the tooth
and causes decay spots or cavities. The 2 primary sweet
constituents of Stevia (Stevioside and Rebaudioside A) are not
fermentable and cariogenic (cavity causing).
Stevia and children:
- Sugar is implicated in obesity. Try and substitute sugar
wherever possible (even partially), with Stevia to satisfy a
child's sweet tooth. Stevia is safe for children.
- Stevia and High Blood Pressure:
Studies with Stevia found a reduction in blood pressure as well
as an increased elimination of sodium (diuretic effect).
- Stevia's anti-aging potential:
Stevia promotes general good health and longevity.
Excess amounts of calorie-laden sugar contributes to high blood
sugar, obesity and side effects like aging. Glucose has the
ability to react with proteins like collagen and then produces
glycation. That means that the glucose molecule attaches to some
amino acids of a protein, making the protein less functional and
that leads to disturbances in the cell. The initial phase of
this attachment is called glycation. As we are getting older our
blood sugar also increases and the amount of clycation of the
proteins in our bodies increases in proportion to that. By
avoiding high sugar and calorie consumption (by using Stevia),
you can help your proteins stay healthier.
Recipe to treat the pancreas:
Prepare a dark concentrate with dried Stevia leaves:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and
add 15g of crushed/ground dried Stevia leaves. Cover the pot and
boil for 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the
liquid to steep until cool. Strain the greenish-black liquid through
a cheese cloth and refrigerate it in a container.
This concentrate has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
and can be used topically on the skin to treat burns, wounds and