Stevia (sweet leaf)

Stevia is an herb known commonly as "Sweet Leaf" and considered to be one of the sweetest substances found in nature. Botanically the plant is classified as Stevia rebaudiana and is a member of the chrysanthemum family. It may also be known under the classification Eupatorium rebaudiana. The naturally sweet herb has gained world-wide popularity as a sugar substitute, particularly with diabetics. The body does not metabolize Stevia the same as it does sugar. Stevia was called ‘ka'a he'e’ by the Guarani, the indigenous people of what is now Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil in South America. There, the herb has been used for centuries for both culinary and medicinal purposes. 

Stevia leaves can be chewed fresh to satisfy a sweet craving. The naturally sweet leaves of the Stevia plant can be used to sweeten tea, dressings, fruit, custards, and other creamy desserts. About 1/8 of a teaspoon of dried, crushed Stevia leaves is equivalent to one teaspoon of cane sugar. Stevia is not a one-for-one substitute for cane sugar. Though it can be used to sweeten baked goods, it does not have the same properties of cane sugar and will not caramelize or feed yeast for breads. Store fresh Stevia leaves for a few days in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic. Stevia leaves can be dried to reach their full flavor potential and preserve; leaves should be crushed only just when ready to use. Grinding the leaves into a powder is ideal for some applications, whereas others call for slightly crushed leaves. Make an extract by steeping leaves in water, or make a tincture using heated alcohol and Stevia leaves. With Stevia, a little goes a long way; too much of the extract can create a bitter or medicinal taste. 

Stevia leaves contain antioxidants and natural compounds called glycosides that are responsible for the plant’s natural sweetness. These compounds include steviocide, steviol, flavonoid glycosides, and four other glycoside compounds. Studies conducted show that Stevia has properties that may prevent the growth and reproduction of the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. In addition, Stevia contains no calories so it has gained popularity as a sugar substitute for diabetics and those who maintain a sugar-free or low sugar diet. The powdered Stevia available in stores is made from an extraction of compounds found in the Stevia plant, called stevioside and rebaudioside A. Raw Stevia used in the production of the extract is most likely grown in China, where the majority of cultivation for production exists. Processed Stevia powder does not contain the same health benefits and properties that the raw leaf provides. 

If you are interested in buying it from Indonesia, you can go to our online shop here

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