What is Stevia : Stevia Benefits

Stevia is a natural sweetener having zero calories and is not metabolized by the body, unlike maple syrup, molasses and honey and a healthy option to aspartame and saccharin.

Stevia can be used as fresh leaves, dried leaves, dried powder, stevia tea, stevia extract and stevia tincture. It has health benefits as well as some side effects.

Health Benefits of Stevia

Because stevia has zero calories, substituting it with sugar can cut calories. This may keep your blood glucose level stable, good for diabetics. Stevia may also be good for those who are trying to lose weight. Stevia is also used to gtreat heartburn, high blood pressure and lowering uric acid levels.

Stevia leaves have been used to sweeten teas and beverages throughout South America for centuries. Stevia leaf powder is about 30 times sweeter than sugar.
Stevia Leaves, zero calorie natural sweetener.
Stevia Leaves,
zero calorie natural sweetener.

The sweetness of the stevia plant lies in its leaves. The fresh leaves are less sweet than dried leaves, but still they are much sweeter than sugar.

There are two glycosides – stevioside and rebaudioside which are responsible for the sweetness of stevia. . While stevioside is sweet but also has a bitter aftertaste, the rebaudioside is sweet and less bitter.

Most processed forms of stevia, like Truvia, only contain the rebaudioside.

You can use the stevia in many ways, namely as fresh leaves, dried leaves, dried powder, stevia tea, stevia extract and stevia tincture.

Stevia leaves or powder can be used to sweeten tea, drinks, yogurt, lassi, fruits, custard, fruit salads, salad dressings, sauces, desserts and baking. As too much stevia generally imparts a bitter or unusual taste, I use about 70% stevia powder and 30 % sugar, instead of 100% sugar in a recipe.

My wife uses stevia even in making Gajar halwa (carrot halwa), milk burfi, mango-milk smoothie, mango lassi and many more things.

Fresh Stevia Leaves

Use fresh stevia leaves (growing stevia) as a sweetener in tea and other beverages. I use a few chopped stevia leaves and a bag of green tea to steep in a cup of boiling water to make a refreshing tea.

Powdered Green Leaf  Stevia Sweetener

  1. The green leaf stevia that has been used for centuries as a natural sweetener and health remedy. In this sweetener, the leaves are dried and ground into powder form. This is sweet but slightly bitter and is about 30-40 times sweeter than sugar. 
  2. Chop the stevia stems from the plant and dry them in a warm place. They are generally dried in one day under full sun. 
  3. Remove the dried leaves from the stems. 
  4. Grind the leaves in a coffee grinder at high speed for a few seconds. 
  5. Store the stevia powder in an airtight container. 
  6. 1 tablespoons of stevia powder equals half a cup of sugar.

Stevia Tea

  1. Take 1 tablespoon of dried, lightly crushed stevia leaves and place in a pot and pour 2 cup boiling water. Cover with a lid and seep for 10 minutes, after that filter out the stevia leaves. Pour the tea in a bottle and close the cap. 
  2. One teaspoon of this stevia tea is equivalent to the sweetness of 1 teaspoon of sugar. 
  3. Can store in refrigerator for about 1 week.

Stevia Extract

  1. Take half a cup of dried, lightly crushed stevia leaves and place in a pot and pour 1 cup boiling water. Cover with a lid and seep for 40 minutes, after that filter out the stevia leaves. Pour the liquid in a bottle and close the cap. 
  2. One teaspoon of this stevia extract is equivalent to the sweetness of 1 tablespoon of sugar. 
  3. Can store in refrigerator for about 1-2 weeks.

Stevia Tincture

  1. Place half a cup of dried, lightly crushed stevia leaves in a clean glass bottle. 
  2. Add 3/4 cup 100-proof vodka or rum, close the lid and shake well. 
  3. Place in a cool dark place for 2-3 days, shaking the bottle twice a day. 
  4. Strain through a muslin cloth and place the liquid in a small pan. Heat on medium heat until steam rises for 30 minutes, do not boil.
  5. Let it cool and pour the cooled tincture into a dark-coloured bottle.
  6. 3 drops of this stevia tincture is equivalent to the sweetness of 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  7. Can store in refrigerator up to 3 months.
Stevia PreparationMeasureSugar Equivalent
Stevia powder1 tablespoon1/2 cup
Stevia tea1 teaspoon1 teaspoon
Stevia extract1 teaspoon1 tablespoon
Stevia tincture3 drops1 teaspoon
Stevia Side Effects

Reference

  1. Barbara Pleasant, Stevia-sugar equivalent, www.motherearthnews.com/biographies/organic-gardening-expert-barbara-pleasant.aspxAkbarzadeh S, et al. 
  2. The Effect of Stevia Rebaudiana on Serum Omentin and Visfatin Level in STZ-Induced Diabetic Rats. J Diet Suppl 2014.

Write your Comments on the Article here or ask any question:

1. Anonymous comments will not be posted. Write at least your name at Name/URL option.
2. Hyperlinks are not allowed in the comments.

Home and Garden Blogs