Stevia is a genus of about 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical regions from western North America to South America. The species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations.
Food features:The genus Stevia consists of 240 species of plants native to South America, Central America, and Mexico, with several species found as far north as Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.They were first researched by Spanish botanist and physician Pedro Jaime Esteve, from whose surname originates the Latinized word stevia.Human use of the sweet species S. rebaudiana originated in South America. The leaves of the stevia plant have 30–45 times the sweetness of sucrose (ordinary table sugar).The leaves can be eaten fresh, or put in teas and foods.
Place of origin:native to subtropical and tropical regions from western North America to South America
Dietotherapy function:For centuries, the Guaraní tribes of Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil used stevia, which they called ka'a he'ê ("sweet herb"), as a sweetener in yerba mate and medicinal teas for treating heartburn and other ailments. More recent medical research has shown promise in treating obesity and hypertension.Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, even enhancing glucose tolerance;therefore, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets.