Stevia Rebaudiana is an herb in the Chrysanthemum family which grows wild as a small shrub in parts of Paraguay and Brazil. The glycosides in its leaves, including up to 10% Stevioside, account for its incredible sweetness, making it unique among the nearly 300 species of Stevia plants.
Stevia leaves are incredibly sweet, tasting as much as 30x sweeter than sugar, yet it doesn’t contain any sucrose, calories or carbohydrates. It has been shown to help improve the pancreas and digestion as well as stabilize blood sugar.
Nutrition: Raw herbal Stevia contains nearly one hundred identified phytonutrients and volatile oils, including trace amounts of Rutin (from the Callus) and B-Sitosterol (from the leaves). However, in the small quantities typically consumed, the nutritive benefits are negligible.
Uses: Because stevia is so incredibly sweet, it is necessary to dilute it properly so as not to overdo it. In greater quantities, Stevia can have a slight bitter aftertaste, reminiscent of licorice. Some say that the aftertaste is similar to Aspartame so it makes a great sweetener for anyone who likes diet sodas. Try flavored stevia in soda water as a replacement. Stevia is 10 to 15 times sweeter than sugar so replace your sweeteners accordingly.