STEVIA Herb

Of the 240 species of plant found in the Stevia genus, only the specific herb Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni possesses sweet properties.

Now, the Stevia herb is cultivated in countries around the world.

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Stevia Herb

Long before the Stevia herb became known to Old World societies including Europe and Asia, the Guarani tribes of Paraguay and Brazil were aware of its sweetening and medicinal benefits. The tribes referred to the Stevia herb as ka'a h'e (meaning “sweet herb”), and used it to sweeten a beverage called mate. The Guarani also put the Stevia herb in medicinal teas to treat heartburn.

Now, the Stevia herb is cultivated in countries around the world including China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Saint Kitts, Nevis, and Israel. Much of the Asian production in particular goes to support the widespread use of the Stevia herb in Japan.

Of the 240 species of plant found in the Stevia genus, only the specific herb Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni possesses sweet properties. The other herbs in the Stevia genus are not sweet at all. The sweet Stevia herb is named after Antonio Bertoni who was the first scientist to record its usage in 1887.

The Stevia herb grows wild in semi-arid regions ranging from grasslands to mountain terrain. The Stevia herb grows as a small shrub, and comes back year after year as a perennial. Wild Stevia herb reproduces by seeds, but most of the seeds do not germinate. Cultivated Stevia herb is usually reproduced by way of cloned plants.

The genetic diversity of the native Stevia herb is considered the reason for its premier flavor over the cultivated Stevia herbs. Accordingly, the transplantation of the native Paraguay Stevia herb to other countries has lead to over-harvesting and a diminished native stock.


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