Stevia is a perennial plant which is a small shrub and comes from the sunflower family. It is also called as sugar leaf, honey leaf and sweet leaf. The leaves of the plant are a source of zero calories, natural sweetener. It is regarded as sweeter than sucrose or sugar.
Stevia has been used in many parts of the world as a sugar substitute and in treatment of health conditions. Originally, leaves of Stevia were consumed fresh or dried but later on chemists were able to isolate elements like rebaudioside and stevioside from the leaves which are responsible for its sweetness. Stevia also contains trace elements, phytonutrients, vitamins, volatile oils and minerals which provide medicinal and nutritional properties.
In 2008, stevia extract was approved by FDA as a safe ingredient in beverages and foods. Nowadays, it is used in beverages, foods, herbal supplements and in syrups and sweet powders. It is a safe ingredient in cooking and baking. One can source stevia from stevia manufacturers in India, especially by online means.
- Hair health and dandruff
Concentrate of stevia is considered to be beneficial for dry scalp, dandruff and thin and dull hair. Those who consume stevia have reported strong and dandruff free hair.
As per studies, stevia will help in stabilizing of levels of blood sugar, increasing insulin sensitivity by promoting pancreas health, discouraging absorption of glucose in the blood and inhibiting candidiasis- a yeast infection that exacerbates with sugar. Stevia is a low sugar, low carb and low calorie alternative which is excreted via urine without accumulating in the body.
As per studies, anti-bacterial qualities of stevia may aid in healing of cavities, gingivitis, mouth sores and tooth decay. It may inhibit the reproduction and development of infectious microbes in teeth and gums inhibit growth of plaque and enhance total oral health. Stevia users have reported reduced incidence of gingivitis.
- Indigestion and heartburn
Residents of Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil have been making use of Stevia tea to soothe heartburn, upset stomach, and improvement of gastro-intestinal function and indigestion.
- Hyper tension or high blood pressure
As per studies, stevia has been found to reduce blood pressure.
Stevia is known to aid in enhancing absorption of calcium and helps improve density of bones.
- Weight loss
As per recent medical studies, low sugar, calories and carbohydrates inStevia may help in weight management. Stevia interferes in work of hypothalamus by suppressing sensation of hunger.
- Skin conditions and wrinkles
Stevia is a great healer for skin conditions. Its antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant activity may heal skin blemishes, wrinkles, eczema, dermatitis, scarring, acne, chapped lips, itchiness, and rashes.
There are no reported cases of side-effects of Stevia, when consumed in moderation. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and WHO (World Health Organization) have approvedsteviato be safe,andalso, stipulated that a daily intake of 4mg per kg of body weight is acceptable.
Where to Buy
Stevia is available in herbal food shops, organic grocery stores in form of green or white powder, raw dried leaves, sugar tabs, crystalline and granulated sugar, flavoured liquids or concentrates.
These are some aspects about the wonder plant- Stevia.