What is Stevia?
Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, also known as Sweet leaf, or Sugarleaf or
just Stevia, is a herb that belongs to the sunflower family
(Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical regions from western
North America to South America, although it is now grown in such remote
places as Japan, Korea, China or India.
The species has recently acquired worldwide popularity as a sweetener
and sugar substitute due to its beneficial properties since Stevia is
100% Natural, has Zero Calories, a Low Glycemic Index and is 200-400
times sweeter than sugar when refined. On the other hand, although
Stevia’s taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of
sugar, high purity Stevia has no lingering after taste and it remains
stable at high temperatures when cooked or baked.
At the risk of sounding cliché, it ought to be said that Stevia seems to
have been one of South America’s best kept secrets even though it has
been used for its sweetening qualities for over 1500 years used by the
Guarani Natives of North-eastern Paraguay and Brazil.