Stevia (Candy Leaves)

What is Stevia?

Stevia is one of the most health restoring plants on earth. What whole leaf Stevia does both inside the body and on the skin is incredible. Native to Paraguay and now grown in Canada, is a small green plant bearing leaves which have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be up to 30 times sweeter than sugar. Besides the intensely sweet glycosides (Steviosides, Rebaudiosides and a Dulcoside), various studies have found the leaf to contain proteins, fiber, carbohydrates, iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, rutin (a flavonoid), true vitamin A, Vitamin C and an oil which contains 53 other constituents. Quality Stevia leaves and whole leaf concentrate are a nutritious and natural dietary supplement that offers numerous health benefits.

Stevia as a Sweetener
Stevia is the sweetener of the future. Because the human body does not metabolize the sweet glycosides, it passes right through the normal elimination channels. From the leaf or any of its processed forms, the body obtains no calories from Stevia! Processed forms of pure Stevia can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar and they do not adversely affect blood glucose levels and may be used freely by both diabetics and people that suffer from hypoglycemia. For people with blood sugar, blood pressure or weight problems Stevia is the most desirable sweetener known and may also help greatly with digestion.
In all of its current forms Stevia has a taste unique to itself with no bitter aftertaste. Unlike artificial sweeteners, the sweet glycosides do not break down in heat which makes Stevia an excellent sweetener for cooking and baking. For those of you who want to cut sugar from your diet, using an all-natural, no calories sweetener, stevia could well be for you. Stevia is a natural sweetener, 30-300 times sweeter than sugar. The part used is the leaf. There is no after-taste and it is both safe and non-toxic according to Japanese research.

Stevia, a medicinal herb
Scientific research has indicated that Stevia effectively regulates blood sugar and brings it toward a normal balance. It is sold in some South American countries as an aid to people with diabetes and hypoglycemia. Obviously each individual’s condition is different and such experimentation should be done under the supervision of a qualified physician. An important benefit for hypoglycemia is Stevia’s tonic action which enhances increased energy levels and mental acuity. It also has been observed that placing it in cuts and wounds brings more rapid healing without scarring. This will cause a severe stinging for several seconds, but is followed by a significant lowering of pain. Physicians have reported using stevia concentrate to heal psoriasis and burns, while others have reported that it is extremely helpful in healing various lip sores.
Studies have also indicated that Stevia tends to lower elevated blood pressure but does not seem to affect normal blood pressure. It also inhibits the growth and reproduction of some bacteria and other infectious organisms, including the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease. This may help explain why users of Stevia enhanced products report a lower incidence of colds and flu and why it has such exceptional qualities when used as a mouthwash or added to toothpaste. Many people report significant improvement in oral health after adding Stevia powder to their toothpaste and using it diluted in water as a daily mouthwash.
Stevia is an exceptional aid in weight loss and weight management because it contains no calories and reduces one’s craving for sweets and fatty foods. Hunger sensations are lessened when taken 20 minutes before meals. Preliminary research data indicates that Stevia may actually reset the hunger mechanism in people where the pathway between the hypothalamus and the stomach has become obstructed. Stevia would help people to feel satiated sooner by helping them to eat less.
Other benefits of adding Stevia to the daily diet include improved digestion and gastrointestinal function, soothing upset stomachs and quicker recovery from minor illness. Users have also reported that drinking Stevia tea or Stevia enhanced teas helped to reduce their desire for tobacco and alcoholic beverages.

The Stevia Leaf
Stevia leaves vary widely in quality due to many environmental factors including soil, irrigation methods, sunlight, air purity, cleanliness, farming practices, processing and storage. There are also numerous species of Stevia with differing Stevioside/Rebaudioside content. The sweet glycosides are released more rapidly in hot liquid than in cool liquid. Our Whole Leaf Stevia Tea™ offers excellent relief for an upset stomach. Wet stevia tea leaves used in a poultice can effectively tighten the skin and diminish fine lines and help with various skin blemishes including acne.
Ground Whole Leaf Stevia is excellent when sprinkled lightly over cooking vegetables and meats, cereals and salads. Besides adding its own sweet taste it significantly enhances the flavor and nutritional value of the food. Ground Stevia can be used in many cooking and baking applications.

Stevioside
Refined Steviosides & Rebaudiosides are the sweetest form of Stevia and may be purchased in a white powder form by adding the powder to water and a preservative. The powder may be added directly to food and beverage but in very tiny amounts.
Although Stevioside is a desirable sweetener it does not have the extraordinary health benefits of the Stevia leaf or products made from whole leaf Stevia concentrate.


Safety of Stevia
There has never been a complaint that Stevia, in any of its consumable forms, has caused any harmful side effects in the 1500 years of use in Paraguay and about 20 years in Japan. Scientists who have studied intensively regard Stevia as quite safe for human consumption.

Following extensive research Dr. Daniel Mowrey reported:
“More elaborate safety tests were performed by the Japanese during their evaluation of stevia as a possible sweetening agent. Few substances have ever yielded such consistently negative results in toxicity trials as have stevia. Almost every toxicity test imaginable has been performed on stevia extract [concentrate] or stevioside at one time or another. The results are always negative. No abnormalities in weight change, food intake, cell or membrane characteristics, enzyme and substrate utilization, or chromosome characteristics. No cancer, no birth defects, no acute and no chronic untoward effects. Nothing.”
This brief review of the Stevia plant and its worldwide uses in no way constitutes an endorsement of such uses. At this time the FDA permits Stevia to be imported, labeled and sold only for its approved use as a dietary supplement and in skin Care. The information contained is provided for educational purposes only. Medical advice is neither implied nor intended. Please consult your health care professional for medical advice.

Added Benefits
It has several other added advantages too. For those of you who read the article “Can candida cause cancer?” you will find it recommended by expert Gerald Green as it also is known to kill off yeasts and certain microbes.
Stevia is also high in chromium, (which helps to stabilise blood sugar levels), manganese, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium and vitamin A. It also contains iron, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin C, and zinc. A simple taste test demonstrates the difference why you will love the stevia products from HempUSA.org

A little legal history about stevia
In 1984, stevia importers were informed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that they could no longer import concentrated stevia liquid into the United States for sale as a sweetener. FDA officials did say that there was no problem with importing stevia in tea bags for sale as a tea.
The FDA imposed an import alert on stevia in May 1991, instructing importation agents to not allow stevia in any form into the United States.
The agency later relaxed that order, allowing stevia to be imported and sold only as a liquid concentrate for skin care.
The FDA issued a revised import alert on Sept. 18, 1995, informing its agents that stevia could be imported and sold if, and only if it was labelled as a dietary supplement.
It is far too sweet to be eaten by itself, but it is in high demand by consumers who want a non-calorie sweetener.
We think we will see great strides in the growth and more public use of stevia. It will be nice to have a no-calorie sweetener which has positive health benefits for a change! Stevia is naturally 30 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It is the finest alternative to artificial sweeteners with no added chemicals of any kind, calories, no side effects and no aftertaste.

Stevia is one of the most important genus of the tribe Eupatoriae of family Asteraceae. Out of 230 species of the genus, Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is one of them produce sweet steviol glycoside. Flowers are arranged in head with five tubular florets surrounded by five involucrate bract. Plant is major source of high potency sweetener which produces sweet taste but has no calorific value and at the same time aerial parts of S. rebaudiana were used to treat diabetes. It is used as antitumor, anticancerous, antihypertensive, antihyperglycemic, anti-diarrheal, anti-oxidant, prevents dental caries and having enzyme inhibitory activities. It also enhances flavor. Chemical and biological properties are studied by some scientists. Several countries including India have started its commercial cultivation. In 2006, the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) announced a temporary Accepted Daily Intake (ADI) of stevioside of up to 5.0 mg/kg body weight (BW).
Stevia rebaudiana is a plant species in the genus Stevia of the sunflower family (Asteraceae), commonly known as candyleaf, sweetleaf, sweet leaf, or sugarleaf.
Stevia is a tender perennial native to parts of Brazil and Paraguay that favors humid, wet environments, although the root does not tolerate standing water.
Stevia is widely grown for its sweet leaves, which are the source of sweetener products known generically as stevia and sold under various trade names. The chemical compounds that produce its sweetness are various steviol glycosides (mainly stevioside and rebaudioside), which have 250–300 times the sweetness of sugar.
The leaves can be eaten fresh or put in teas and foods.

INTRODUCTION

The genus Stevia belongs to the family Asteraceae, tribe Eupatoriae and comparises about 150-300 species of perennial herb and shrubs, growing mostly at altitudes of 500-3000 metres in semidry mountainous terrain (Robinson and King, 1977). The species can also grow in grassland, scrub forests and sub-alpine areas. Stevia rebaudiana is entirely a New World species, its distribution ranges from Southern United States and Northeastern Paraguay to Southeastern Brazil through Mexico, Central America, The Southern American Andes and the Brazilian highlands (Fig 1). The plant yields a sweet aqueous extract containing various glycosides and therefore has been used for centuries by the indigenous Guaraní natives as a traditional sweetener, added to herbal teas and other beverages. It is of immense value due to its adaptability to wide climatic range, the high-sweet content, and its significant agricultural impact in countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Mexico, USA, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and Russia (Brandle and Rosa, 1992; Chen & Chang, 1978; Sumida 1968) and efforts were initiated in India recently. Stevia is self-incompatible (Chalapathi et.al, 1997b, Miyagawa et.al. 1986) and probably insect pollinated plant (Oddone, 1997). The flowers are small and white (Dwivedi 1999) with purple throat. The pollen can be highly allergenic. The tiny white florets are perfect, borne in small corymbs of 2-6 florets. Corymbs are arranged in loose panicles (Goetternmoeller and Ching 1999). Seeds are contained in slender achenes cypsella about 4 mm in length. The sweetness in Stevia is attributed to the presence of glycosides which are water soluble (Duke and Decelie, 1993) and about 300 times as .
sweet as cane sugar (Metivier and Viana, 1979b). Stevioside is a white amorphous powder present in leaf and stem tissue (Kinghorn and Soejarto, 1985). Stevioside is used for treating hypertension and hyperglycemia. Stevioside and related compounds are also reported to possess anti-tumor activity. Versatile bioactive properties of stevioside provoked scientists to undertake synthesis of several stevioside analogues i.e. chemically modified structures (viz. sulphopropyl and sodio-sulphopropyl esters) to improve its bioactive properties such as organoleptic activity. The objectives of this paper are to study systematic literature and floral biology, nutritional, pharmacological and therapeutic applications of S. rebaudiana and its related compounds. Present study was carried out to study the floral biology and medicinal uses of sweet herb S. rebaudiana. The vernacular names of the species in various languages are: Hindi-Meethi patti, Madhu parni, Meethi Tulsi; Sanskrit- Madhu patra, Bhoomisarkara, Sarkara chada; English-Candy leaf, Sweet leaf, Sugar leaf, Sweet honey, Sweet herb of Paraguae;Tamil-Seeni tulsi; Marathi-Oil-kiryata.

CULTIVATION

Stevia is a natural herb native of Paraguay, cultivated as a cash crop in number of countries. In India cultivation of Stevia as a crop is still restricted to the research level. The climatic requirement for the plant is semihumid subtropical like other vegetable crops. The crop could be transplanted in February or March and seed collected in the late summer. Flowering under these conditions should occur between 54-104th days of plantation. Seed viability and yield are affected by growing condition during pollination. Vegetative propagation is possible. For raising crops, pot culture experiments are conduct in Botanical garden of Udai Pratap College, Varanasi located between 240 56' and 250 35'N latitude and 820 14' and 830 12' E of longitude. The experimental soil was alluvial in nature having pH 8.2, organic carbon 0.6%, available N, P and K; 256, 180 and 210 kg ha-1 respectively. The experiment consisted of 3 levels of Nitrogen (N1 = 150 kg ha-1 , N2 = 250 kg ha-1 , N3 = 350 kg ha-1 ) 3 levels of phosphorus (P1 = 100 kg ha-1 , P2 = 150 kg ha-1 , P3 = 200 kg ha-1 ) and 2 levels of potassium (K1 = 100 kg ha-1 , K2 = 150 kg ha-1 ). The nutrients N, P and K were applied through Urea, Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), and Muriate of Potash (MOP) respectively. Experiment was conducted by adopting completely randomized design with 4 replicates. The pots were placed in green house and plants were allowed to grow for a period of 60 days. The growth parameters were recorded periodically at 30, 45, and 60 Days after Planting (DAP). Full doses of P and K and 50% of N were applied two week after planting. Remaining 50% N was applied in three equal splits at 30, 45 and 60 days after planting (DAP). The Flowers was collected at appropriate time and floristic study was by using Olympus Stereo Zoom MSZ – TR microscope and measurement of floral parts was done by using Magnus Pro 4.2 MIPS Software.

CHEMICAL CONSTITUTION

Chemically Stevioside is the chemical a diterpene glycoside (C38H60O18) and as an active component in Stevia leaves. It is responsible for the edulcorant properties. Structurally, stevioside (13-[2-Oβ-Dglucopyranosyl-α-glucopyranosyl) oxy] kaur-16-en- 19-oic-acid β-D- glucopyranosyl ester) is a glycoside with a glucosyl and a sophorosyl residue attached to the aglycone steviol, which has a cyclopentanon–hydrophenanthrene skeleton. In addition to stevioside, several related sweet compounds such as steviobioside, rebaudioside A, B, C, D, E, F and ducoside A were isolated from S. rebaudiana leaf. All other isolated diterpenoid glycosides possess an ent-kaurene diterpene steviol skeleton (ent-13- hydroxy kaur- 16-en-19-oic acid) but differ in the residues of carbohydrate at position C-13 and C-19 Stevioside and its specification were shown in Fig 2.

FLORAL BIOLOGY

Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni Habit Perenial herb with filiform roots, 30-50 cm tall, erect, slender and weak-pubescent, lower stem woody. Stem produces secondary shoots (suckers) from its base, dies off and is renewed annually Leaves simple, opposite, subsessile, 22-25 long, blades subcoriaceous narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate to linear oblong, wide, apex obtuse to subacute, base cuneate, margine entire often toothed (crenate to serrate) on upper half, entire on the lower half, three primary veins arise from the leaf base, raised and prominent on the blades lower side somewhat immersed on the upper side, secondary venation reticulate, somewhat immersed. Inflorescence Capitulum or head with involucres arranged in loose corymbose panicles. Peduncle 1-4 mm, borne at terminal ends of branches. Flower as long as the pedicel, light green on the lower half, yellowish on the upper half in fresh state, phyllaries 5, finely hairy, green when fresh, linear to subulate, 3.5–7.0 mm long acute to rounded at apex, 5 disc florets in each capitulum about 10-16 mm long exerted above the involucres, corolla actinomorphic white, corolla tube slender equal in length 12-16 mm longer than the pappus awns 3-6 mm long, greenish below, dirty white to purplish above, covered with very fine hairs on the inside, almost glabrous outside, the lobes ovate-lanceolate, unequal, white with purplish throat, obtuse to subacute 0.5- 1.0 mm long, ciliate bifid style twice the length of the corolla lobes (21-23 mm long), divergent and usually recurved, densely covered by clear-brownish glands and very fine short hairs, achenes subglabrous, 2.5-3.0 mm long, but finely barbed along the rides, pappus awns straw colored of 9-17 subequal (4-6 mm long) somewhat rigid and finely barbed awns, base of awns at an acute angle and pointing upwords. Stamen syngenesius 10 -11mm long, pollen grain 389-514 micrometer in diameter. Fruit is a five ribbed spindle shaped achene with persistent pappus (cypsela). Seed 3.5-4.0 mm long. Flowering: The crop could be transplanted in February or March. Flowering occurs between 54-104th day of transplantation, depending upon the day length. Fruiting: Seed production in the Northern hemisphere is in Feb-March and seed collected in late summer. Distribution: Stevia rebaudiana is native to Paraguay and probably endemic to this country. Bertoni (1905) gave a distribution range from Amambay South to the Monday River approximately 220 30’ to 250 30’ South latitudes and from 550 to 570 West longitudes within 200-700 m altitudinal zones with an average annual temperature of 250C and average rainfall of about 1357 mm year-1 . Stevia has been introduced as a crop into a number of countries in the world. So far it is under cultivation in such American and Asian countries as Paraguay, Mexico, Central America, China and Malaysia. Several parts of India such as Himanchal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnatka and Tamilnadu also cultivate.

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