Stevia Rebaudiana - 10 Gm Seeds
The species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves.
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Stevia is a genus of about 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical regions from western North America to South America. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations.
With its steviol glycoside extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar,stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar food alternatives. Because stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets.
The availability of stevia varies from country to country. In a few countries, it has been available as a sweetener for decades or centuries; for example, stevia has been widely used for decades as a sweetener in Japan. In some countries, health concerns and political controversies have limited its availability; for example, the United States banned stevia in the early 1990s unless labeled as a dietary supplement, but in 2008 it approved rebaudioside A extract as a food additive.
Planting & Care
Stevia is not as easy to grow as most culinary herbs, but it has been successfully grown in climates ranging from southern Canada to the American South. Stevia is hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 11 and up, and does best in semi-humid locations with acidic, well-draining soil. Space plantings 8 to 10 inches apart in a location where they will receive full sun. Stevia grows best when soil pH ranges from 6.7 to 7.2.
One can often find stevia in your local nursery’s herb section. The majority of stevia plants are sold as cuttings.
This herb grows best in cooler summer weather with strong sunlight, but generally fairs poorly in high temperatures. Stevia grows well in containers. Like oregano and basil, stevia grows well in pots when 1 to 2 plants to a pot. When blooming, stevia plants display crisp white flowers. Stevia typically blooms in early to mid-Autumn.
While these plants have been known to overwinter in climates as low as Zone 8, if planting stevia in a colder climate, you run the risk of losing plants to frost. The solution is to grow stevia as an annual, or overwinter the plant indoors.
Be careful when weeding, as the plant’s branches are fairly brittle. Stevia doesn’t have any known diseases or pests. But it would be smart to defend against pests and diseases that plague similar culinary herbs.
At the end of September or beginning of October, harvest the entire plant once flower buds have appeared but before they’ve opened. Ideally, harvest in the morning when the plant is at its highest sugar content. Also, be sure to harvest before many flowers (4-5 buds) have opened. If most of the flowers have blossomed, they will leave behind a bitter aftertaste throughout the entire plant.
Interesting facts about Stevia
- Stevia is a derivative of the sunflower plant.
- Stevia leaves taste sweet when eaten raw or in food.
- Stevia has zero carbs and zero calories.
- Stevia does not affect blood sugar.
- Stevia is native to South America, Central America and Mexico
- Stevia has been used traditionally as a cardiac stimulant for hypertension, heartburn, obesity and to treat high uric acid levels.
- Stevia has characteristic white flower buds when it flowers.
- Stevia could have an aftertaste of mint or licorice depending on the purity of the extract.
- Stevia can be used in MOST foods. It is often used in cooking, for making teas and flavoring foods but cannot be used for making glazes or meringues because it does not brown or crystalize like sugar does.
Why Stevia is Great For You
- Stevia may help you maintain or lose weight.
- Stevia CAN completely replace sugar in your diet.
- Stevia can aid glucose intolerance after a meal.
- Stevia may reduce hypertension.
- Stevia has no known side effects.
When it comes to healthy living, we know that an excess of refined sugar in your diet can be disastrous for your health and waistline but with the amazing properties of Stevia you can now enjoy delicious, sweet foods safely and without the extra pounds.
Note: please consult appropriate doctor/phsician before use.