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What is Stevia?





Stevia rebaudiana also known as sweet herb or honey leaf is a small perennial shrub that belongs to the chrysanthemum family of plants. Stevia rebaudiana is the only known species at present which possesses an inordinate ability to sweeten. Stevia in its natural lerbal form is approximately 10 to 15 times sweeter than common table sugar. The Stevia is extracted from the leaves of the plant and the refined powder is rated at 200 to 380 times sweeter than sugar.

Stevia may well be the most remarkable sweetener in the world. The following are some of its the characteristics:
• It is suitable for diabetics
• calorie free
• does not adversely affect blood sugar
• is non toxic
• inhibits the formation of cavities and plaque
• contains no artificial ingredients
• can be used for cooking and baking

Stevia has also been known to possess herbal properties and was used by South American Indians for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Here is a list of some of the possible medicinal uses: Diabetes, Obesity, Hyperactivity, High blood pressure, Carbohydrate cravings, Tobacco and alcohol cravings, Hypoglycemia, Indigestion, Yeast infections, Skin toning and Healing.

Consumption is most extensive in Japan, Korea and China making up 80% of the world's consumption. It is also consumed in many other parts of the world.

As a result of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act signed by then President Clinton, Stevia was finally approved by the FDA for use as "Dietary Supplement" and all labeling must state that. This is why if you try to find Stevia in your local health food store it will be in the supplement section not the sweetener section.(that is...if the store carries it all.)

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