Stevia, originally from Paraguay (ka’a he’e or “sweet grass” in Guaraní), It is a plant of the sunflower family and has become one of the crops with the greatest potential in the world.. Stevia has a sweetness equivalent to 300 times that of sugar, its properties are unique in the world.
Stevia is a sweet plant that has been used for millennia to sweeten foods and, also, a plant with medicinal properties.
These days, the use of artificial sweeteners is very common, as it is a tendency to consume foods that are touted as “the healthiest” for our bodies. But we must be able to recognize the truths and lies of these, as they are found in most products that claim to be “lightweight”.
Among the most commercial are: Splenda (Sucralose), Aspartame, Saccharin, Acesulfame. By consuming them, it has been possible to show an increased craving for sweets and carbohydrates, which causes you to eat more during the day and hampers weight loss. Plus, they can lead to high levels of insulin, causing your body to store fat.
To introduce changes in your diet, you should always be supervised by a specialist doctor. If you are hypotensive, your doctor will likely recommend other options.
Although the negative effects are not fully scientifically proven, they are believed to be responsible for the following conditions:
- Some are linked to potential cancer risks.
- Negative effects on the kidneys, liver and other organs.
- They stimulate anxiety.
- Gastrointestinal problems.
- Developmental problems in fetuses and children.
What is the best sweetener?
Among the best options we can choose the Stevia Rebaudiana, a herbaceous shrub from which the sweetener is obtained which can be used safely and regularly.
Stevia is native to the Amambay mountain range between Paraguay and Brazil and was consumed by the Guaraní Indians Before the arrival of the Spaniards, this is why we can say that it is one of the oldest sweeteners ever recorded. This plant can be consumed in liquid, granulated, and powdered dry leaf form.
In this report by Miquel Figueroa, farmer Josep Pàmies explains his experience with stevia, how we can grow it here, as well as the problems of its supposed legalization in Europe.
Properties of Stevia.
Among the therapeutic properties of stevia are:
- To have 0 calories, it is totally caloric.
- Benefits for people with hypertension, Stevia acts as a hypotensive and cardiotonic, that is, it regulates blood pressure and stimulates the heart rate.
- Stevia is vasodilator, which means that it increases the diameter of the blood vessels, therefore improves circulation and is of great help for people with vascular diseases.
- This plant is ideal for diabetics, because its composition allows it to be a fairly healthy substitute for sugar.
- Stevia has antibiotic properties, the leaves of this plant provide antibacterial protection against bacteria in the oral mucosa and fungi, such as vaginal candidiasis. Additionally, it is used in toothpastes and gums because its use helps prevent cavities.
- In addition, people who consume stevia are less prone to colds and flu.
- Understood, it is also used as a wound healing and antiseptic in wounds and burns.
- Recommended for losing weight as it reduces anxiety about food (take 10 to 15 drops 20 minutes before meals) and by regulating insulin, the body stores less fat.
- Stevia decreases the desire or craving for sweets and fats.
- Improve the scent infusions or foods to which it is added.
- It can help detox from tobacco and alcoholbecause stevia tea reduces cravings for these two toxins.
- Prevents and inhibits the reproduction of bacteria and infectious organisms.
- Stevia leaf is between 30 and 45 times sweeter than sugar.
- It is more recommended for food use or for cooking because at high temperature, it is more stable than other sweeteners.
Benefits of stevia.
Consuming stevia is well documented to counteract fatigue and because it tastes sweet and is calorie-free, it helps with weight loss and curb cravings for high-sugar foods. This is in addition to its favorable effects on fat absorption, and also the fact that it can serve as an antacid.
Stevia helps digestion, it is therefore recommended for people with gastrointestinal problems; It is a mild diuretic that helps reduce uric acid levels.
To attack the effects of age, Stevia also acts as a powerful antioxidant, about seven times more potent than green tea. In its liquid form, it is used for cosmetic skin treatments, as it helps firm skin, smooth wrinkles, and heal skin blemishes including acne.
In addition, its sweet flavor is very pleasant to the palate and is more durable than that of sugar. It is recommended to use small portions because it is 300 times sweeter than sugar. You can add it to your sweet dishes and use it daily in a moderate way, without any contraindication. It will give you a feeling of well-being and bring many benefits to your health.
The concentrate of stevia leaves in aqueous liquid base is very useful as a cosmetic. When applied as a face mask, it effectively tightens and smooths the skin, tightens wrinkles, and helps heal various skin problems including acne, seborrhea, dermatitis, and eczema.
Presentation of stevia.
You can find stevia in several formats:
- In sheets: they are used as tea or mixed with other herbs as a sweetener. In some countries, it is sold as a powder or in sachets like tea. Thus, it sweetens 30 times more than sugar.
- Concentrated aqueous solution of stevia: here we have a very practical way to take it because with 2 drops in the infusion, it softens there is more than enough. Sugar, at this concentration, 70 times more than sugar.
- Stevioside concentrate: here we will only take this active ingredient isolated from the plant which increases its ability to sweeten (200 times more than sugar) but deprives us of the rest of the medicinal properties of stevia. It usually comes in the form of a white powder.
Nutritional information for stevia.
Dried stevia leaves contain 42% water soluble substances, the most important active ingredient being stevioside. It also contains protein, fiber, iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, zinc, rutin, vitamins A and C.
How to grow Stevia.
Stevia is a plant of tropical origin so it behaves differently from that natural in Mediterranean climates.. Therefore, the perennial plant can regrow 4-5 years.
Every spring it starts again with force, pushing new and numerous shoots under the roots. From spring to mid-August, it can be reproduced by cuttings. With this system of a Stevia plant, you can make 200 to 500 plants, cutting them off for the duration of the vegetation. If you want to grow stevia I recommend this manual.
Stevia rebaudiana rose to prominence outside Paraguay when a Swiss botanist named Moisés Santiago Bertoni discovered it in 1887. He learned of its use as a sweetener and medicinal plant.
The wisdom about stevia belongs to the Guarani people.
Although today this high purity additive (E-960) extracted from stevia can be found anywhere on the planet and in thousands of processed foods, the truth is that the wild plant of stevia is practically off.
In the 1970s, two Japanese scientific expeditions reached stevia’s hometown and brought 500,000 wild plants to Japan. The case was in progress.
Today, it is a company that multinationals have taken over.
Remember to consult your doctor before starting any treatment with herbal remedies.