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Stevia



Stevia Herb

When most people hear the word Stevia, they think of the white powder used as a sugar substitute found in individual packages or in specific low-calorie products. But did you know that Stevia is a plant native to Brazil and Paraguay and has been used by the Guaran people of South America for more than 1,500 years? They have not only used it as a sweet treat but also as a medicinal herb, a testament to its long-standing reliability and trustworthiness.

 

The Stevia plant was first documented in a botanical journal in 1887 by Dr. Moises Santiago Bertoni (director of the College of Agriculture in Asuncion, Paraguay). It was later named officially after the chemist Rebaudi, who identified the plant's compounds.

 

Stevia is derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant in the sunflower family. Its active ingredient is steviol glycosides, which are 30-150 times sweeter. The body does not metabolize glycosides, so they contain no calories. 

 

In 1994, the FDA approved Stevia as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). This approval covered products and additives made from the extraction of the Stevia plant. One benefit for stevia product manufacturers is that it is heat—and pH-stable and does not ferment. Surprisingly, the pure leaf was not included in this classification.

 

Many products, including Truvia and Previa, were introduced in and around 2008. Some see these highly processed products made for these extracts as bitter and having a chemical taste, but you will not experience this if you use pure herbs. 

Below is some more information from an Ayurvedic and Holistic point of view:

 

Rasa (taste): Sweet and Pungent

Virya (Energy): Cooling

Vipaka (After Effect: Pungent

Gunas: Light, Cold, and Sharp

Dosha Effects: Increases Vata in excess, Reduces Pitta, and increases Kapha.

Bio-medicals: Antibacterial, adaptogenic, anti-viral, reduces blood pressure, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, carminative, nervine sedative, antipyretic, diuretic, and refrigerant.

Benefits: Stevia reduces blood sugar levels, benefits diabetes, reduces heartburn, and helps regulate high blood pressure.

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