Stevia: The Natural Sugar

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If you say stevia, not a lot of people are going to raise an eyebrow, maybe diabetics. Even if they do though, there is a bunch of people who don’t know about it yet.

Where does it grow?

Stevia is currently going through a renaissance, even though it was mostly used during the Second World War, and was of great use inEuropeduring the sugar-crisis. No wonder people inHungarytook to calling it sweet-grass or sweet-leaf. They both reflect the look of the plant, but also what its greatness lies in: it is a type of Michaelmas daisy indigenous to South-America. Two types of it have leaves that are sweet, which actually remained a secret until the early 1900’s.

What does it do?

The leaf of the plant is 300 times sweeter than the same amount of sugar-beet would be, which is no small feat. Recently in the U.S. Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola are both putting products featuring stevia on the market. It’s not surprising that this finally happened in theMeccaof diabetes. The sweetening material is vastly different than those found in sugar-beet or sugar-cane, and has no effect on blood sugar levels. According to some sources stevia couldn’t only be the antidote to obesity and diabetes, but also allergies, high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. It halts the reproduction of unwholesome bacteria, and some research suggests that stevia is the reason tooth-decay is almost unknown inAsia.

In my little garden…

You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money for products of often questionable origin. If you have a sunny terrace you have everything to need to grow it either from its seed or a small plant bought in stores. In fact if you have a large enough window, it has an even better place between two sheets of glass, because it doesn’t like cold weather. It isn’t difficult to dry out, you can do it yourself before it blooms, but you can use it in its raw form for salads and cooking just like any other spice.

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