Eric and Melissa Smith

Helena, Alabama


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stevia

Stevia, a pleasant tasting herb that is native to Paraguay, has been used daily for centuries in the diet of the Guarani Indians who called it kaa he-he, or “sweet herb." It was “discovered” in the late 1800’s by an Italian botanist, after which it began to be cultivated on farms for use, rather than just growing wild.

Gradually, stevia’s popularity spread to other South American countries, and then to Europe. In 1970, an extract of stevia was introduced in Japan and in 1988, it began to be used in numerous food products there, from ice cream and candies to pastries, soft drinks, and even toothpaste.

Stevia has no known toxicity or side-effects and, when used in whole plant form, it has often been used as a digestive aid. The leaves have been used topically as a support in fighting acne, dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions both by the Guarani and others who are familiar with the stevia plant.

Stevia leaves are known to reduce scar tissue formation as well as to promote softer, smoother skin. Anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties have been found in both the whole plant as well as the extract and because of this, both have been used topically to promote wound healing and also in mouthwashes and toothpastes to inhibit bacterial growth that can lead to cavities.

Stevia Extract will bring some delightful sipping to your favorite teas or coffees, iced or hot. Just mix 2-3 drops Stevia Extract into your steaming mug or icy glass. Also add it, along with your favorite fruit, to your kefir smoothie for a nutritious snack. For a vanilla kefir smoothie, simply blend kefir, vanilla, and Stevia Extract to taste.

Also try Stevia Extract in homemade foods such as ice cream, jam, pickles, salad dressing, ketchup and mayo, and in a variety of cooked and baked dishes. The possibilities are endless!

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