Written by: annase
Definition of Stevia Rebaudiana
This is a species of plant in the genus of Stevia from the sunflower family of Asteraceae commonly known as the Candyleaf. Stevia is grown because of its associated sweet leaves, which are the source of the sweetener product which is generically referred to as the Stevia where it is sold under different trade names. It has compounds which produce a sweetness that is steviol glycosides which boast of 250 – 300 times sweeter than sugar.
Where is Stevia Rebaudiana Grown?
Stevia Rebaudiana is a perennial shrub which is mostly grown in different parts of South America. It is an herb that comes with small and moderately broad green leaves and can approximately reach up to 2 feet once it attains maturity. Although it has gained huge popularity in the United States of America, it has been used as a sweetener for several years by the natives of central and South America.
Planting and Growing of Stevia Rebaudiana
This plant is not an easy to grow herb just like other culinary herbs, although it has successfully done well in climates that range from Southern Canada to South America. The herb is hardy in plants of USDA. It performs well in semi-humid areas that have acidic and well-drained soil. The planting space should be 8 to 10 inches apart from one another to enable them to receive full sun. You can easily find Stevia in the herb section of nursery although most of the plants are sold as cuttings.
The herb does best in cool summer weather conditions and strong sunlight, but it generally thrives in high temperatures. Stevia can also grow nicely in containers. Just like basil and oregano, stevia rebaudiana does well in pots with one to two plants. When blooming, it displays crisp white flowers. Stevia will nicely flourish during the mid-autumn.
Importance of Stevia Rebaudiana
There are various health benefits associated with Stevia, they include the management of diabetes, skin care, weight loss, and many others. They include:
One known aspect associated with stevia plant is that it is capable of regulating the level of blood sugar in the body. This is the perfect replacement for normal sugar especially to individuals who are diabetic or those undergoing carbohydrates controlled diets. This is because they can consume sweet foods without having to worry about diabetic complications.
As opposed to sucrose that consists of normal sugar table stevia helps to sweeten food in a similar way with sugar, although it contains stevioside which is not a glycoside compound of carbohydrate.
Stevia is low on calories and it is several times sweeter than sugar depending on the availability of some aspects of some extracts in the varieties species. This, therefore, means that people can consume foods such as cookies, sugars, and candies that are made stevia without getting worried about gaining a lot of calories from sugars. This, therefore, means that they are not going to hurt the chances of losing weight. It can also be used to control the excess content of sugar in the diet of children.
– Helps in the regulation of Blood Sugar
Stevioside is a type of glycoside that can significantly help in relaxing blood vessels, enhances elimination of sodium in the body and increase urination. This, therefore, means reduced stress on the system of cardiovascular which most likely leads to reduced blood pressure, that protects the heart and prevents conditions such as atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks.
– Prevents cancer
Being rich in antioxidant compounds, Stevia makes it be an appropriate dietary supplement for the prevention of different types of cancer such as pancreatic cancer. Compounds such as stevia help in getting rid of free radicals in your body hence ensuring they don’t contribute to the mutation of healthy cells into cancer cells.
– Oral Health
Stevia Rebaudiana has been confirmed to help in the reduction of the formation of bacteria in the mouth. This has made it be a popular additive for mouthwashes and toothpaste. Also helps in the prevention of gingivitis and cavities.
Applications of Stevia Rebaudiana in the Society
Currently, Stevia has been adopted to play the role of sugar in our most favorite beverages and sugar. A pinch extracted from stevia powder can be equal to one teaspoonful of sugar. Stevia can be used in the following tasty methods:
-in coffee or tea
-Can put in a smoothie
-in homemade lemonade
-can be sprinkled on cold or hot cereal
-can be sprinkled on yogurt (unsweetened)
-Stevia can also be used in baking, as it gives cookies and cakes a licorine aftertaste.