The "sugarleaf" is much different than the sweetness of sugar, other natural or artificial sweeteners, but it is delicious.
For some people the taste may require some "getting used to", but most people quickly develop a taste for it.
For centuries, the Guaraní tribes of Paraguay and Brazil used the "sweet herb" species, primarily S. rebaudiana as a sweetener in yerba mate and medicinal teas for treating heartburn and other ailments.
In 1931, two French chemists isolated the glycosides that give stevia its sweet taste.
These compounds were named stevioside and rebaudioside, and are 250–300 times sweeter than sucrose (ordinary table sugar), heat stable, pH stable, and non-fermentable.
This method remains the primary technique used today. Dr. Chen's company, Sunrider, processes, manufactures, and markets Stevia products.
In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) performed a thorough evaluation of recent experimental studies of stevioside and steviols conducted on animals and humans, and concluded that:
"stevioside and rebaudioside A are not genotoxic in vitro or in vivo and that the genotoxicity of steviol and some of its oxidative derivatives in vitro is not expressed in vivo."
The report also found no evidence of carcinogenic activity.
Furthermore, the report noted that "stevioside has shown some evidence of pharmacological effects in patients with hypertension or with type-2 diabetes" but concluded that further study was required to determine proper dosage.
Indeed, millions of Japanese people have been using the herb for over thirty years with no reported or known harmful effects.
Similarly, The "sweet leaves" have been used for centuries in South America spanning multiple generations in ethnomedical tradition as a treatment of type II diabetes.
Topically, the "sugarleaf" has excellent healing capabilities. If placed on a cut or scrape, it stings initially followed by a significant reduction in pain and accelerated healing with no scarring.
"Sugarleaf" is also beneficial for the hair and scalp; good results have been obtained by adding the sweetener concentrate to shampoo, and also applying concentrate to the hair after shampooing, allowing it to remain on the hair for a few minutes, then rinsing.
The herb is also able to perform a number of other beneficial tasks.
For example, it has been shown that may enhance moods and increase energy levels and mental alertness. What's more, it is also been shown to stop the growth of bacteria in the mouth is responsible for the production of acids that are responsible for gingivitis and cavities.
The products in which "Rebaudiana plant" extract has been used include soft drink, ice cream, cookies, pickles, chewing gum, tea and skin care products. In Japan about 40% of the sweetener market is stevia-based. The main producers of "sugarleaf" are Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, Brazil, Malaysia and Paraguay.
The cosmetic industry also employs the use of Stevia in many of the available skin care products. It has been shown to reduce skin blemishes when applied topically and also relieves stomach discomfort.
Diabetics, individuals with blood sugar problems, or the obese, may benefit from using it as sugar substitute due to its ability to regulate blood sugar.
Individuals suffering from hypertension may also benefit from the use of Stevia. It has been shown that in cases of high blood pressure Stevia has the ability to act as a vasodilator, thus Benefits
The sweetener of the future
If you purchase the sweetener in bulk, individual leaves and pieces of leaf can be added to beverages, sprinkled over salads or cooking vegetables and substituted for sugar in recipes without creating a problem due to the presence of the leaf itself.
A little bit goes a long way.
Stevia is, after all, nutrient-rich, containing substantial amounts of protein, calcium, phosphorous and other important nutrients.
It is available in several forms, including concentrated powders and liquid extracts. Can be use in its natural form, fresh, dried, or powdered.
Like other natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup, stevia has its own special flavor and does not taste exactly like sugar.
You may not like the way it tastes in coffee, but find it great with tea. Unlike artificial sweeteners, it doesn't break down with heat, so you can learn to cook with it too.
The dried leaves are about 30-45 times as sweet as sucrose. The leaves have not been widely consumed in Europe. Among those who do consume them, about 90 mg dry powders are used per cup of tea or coffee.
The dried powder can be added to chocolate (1.2 g in 120 g, i.e. 1%) and to jam (9 g to 1 kg fruit). Fresh leaves can be used to sweeten vinegar (6-9 g fresh weight to 1 L).
Fresh leaves can be added to salads. The claimed intake per person per day in Europe from these uses of the fresh and powdered leaves is 2.4 g dry powder equivalent to 400 mg stevioside.
Do not use in place of honey, or in carmelization, as it may alter the consistency of a recipe.
When removing all of the sugar from a recipe and replacing it with stevia, increase the liquid amount in the recipe ex: milk, water or eggs. Not too many eggs though as it may make your recipe tough. Applesauce is a great bulk substitution.
If you do not require diabetic safe recipes, but would like low calories, you may remove most of the sugar from your recipe and only add a small amount of sugar and some stevia.
Baked goods do not brown when using stevia as they do with sugar, so insert a toothpick into the center to test for doneness. Some breads will not rise without sugar to activate the yeast. Although there has been some reports of successful bread making with stevia.
Let your body reign, Enjoy!
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