Paraguay is a home of the wonderful plant known as “Sweet herb”, or scientifically as Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni. This perennial plant has gained its popularity thanks to its natural sweeteners – diterpenic glycosides.
Naturally stevia grows in the area of semi humid subtropical climate of Paraguay. This plant was described for the first time by the Italian scientist Bertoni in 1897. The aborigines of Latin America have been using stevia as medical remedy and natural sweetener for more than 1500 years.
Stevia leaves are 10-15 times sweeter than sugar. The plant accumulates and contains the complex substance – stevioside. This substance includes glucose, saccharose, steviol and other compounds. Nowadays stevioside is the sweetest natural product. Pure stevioside is 300 times sweeter than sugar, but unlike sugar it is very low in calories, does not increase the glucose level in blood and has some antiseptic effect.
- mineral compounds Ca , Mg , K , P , Zn , Fe;
- organic substances, including Co, Mn;
- vitamins Ð, À, Å, Ñ and beta-carotene;
- nicotinic acid (flavonoids);
- unique essential oils;
- amino acids;
As known, stevia is rather unpretentious; nevertheless, it needs much sun and water to give good harvests. Now many countries try to cultivate this tropical plant with doubtful success. At home, in Paraguay, there are all necessary conditions for good and quality harvests. In spite of this, stevia is mainly cultivated by small farmers. It can be explained by the fact that the process of obtaining the high-quality dried leaf is very hard and laborious. Taking into account the climate and production characteristics, such small farmer can obtain 2 – 4 tons of dried leaves per year.
Uses of stevia
Stevia finds more and more modes of use in our daily life. It has been successfully used as:
- sugar substitute – stevioside in the form of dry or liquid extract can be added to the meals;
- food supplement – dried leaves can be mixed with other medicinal herbs, teas and drinks;
- ingredient for creams and masks – rehabilitation and purifying properties of the plant can be used for making various natural masks and compresses for face;
- herbal potion – fast dissolution of the curative components of the plant allows to make simple herbal potions for treatment and prevention at home.
Fresh leaves of stevia can be used as ingredient of the vegetable and fruit salads.
Dried leaves of stevia can be used as tea infusion or as tea mixture with other herbs, or as additive to classic tea, coffee, soy milk, cacao, stewed fruit and other drinks.
The use of extracts and dried leaves of stevia as food supplement improves considerably the digestive process and activates the functioning of all the systems of the human organism.
Stevia in your menu:
- Normalizes the function of the enzyme systems of your organism;
- Restores the carbohydrate, protein, lipid and hydro mineral metabolism;
- Reduces the level of cholesterol and sugar in blood;
- Restores the blood micro circulation;
- Provides the antiseptic, antiallergenic, anesthetic anti-sclerotic and healing effects;
- Strengthens the regeneration processes;
- Improves the myocardial function;
- Improves the neural and muscular conductivity;
- Provides absorption action;
- Neutralizes and expulses toxins (including radionuclide);
- Nourishes the endocrine system;
- Stabilizes the arterial tension;
- Provides anti-tumor and energy-saving actions;
- Stimulates the digestive and urinary functions of the organism.