Are you looking for a natural, calorie-free way to sweeten your tea without the use of sugar and its empty calories? Give Stevia leaf a try. You can add a pinch of natural stevia leaf to all loose leaf teas and herbals as they steep to enhance their flavor. Stevia is especially effective in eliminating the astringency of some black and green teas. I also enjoy stevia brewed on its own as a sweet, zero-calorie tea.
The herb Stevia rebaudiana is a member of the sunflower family and has been used as a natural sweetener for hundreds of years in South America.
Stevia is sold in the United States as a dietary supplement and is available in two forms:
- Natural whole leaf, dried or powdered, is about 10-30 times sweeter than sugar.
- Pure stevioside extracts in white powder or clear liquid form that are 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.
I prefer to use the whole leaf stevia to sweeten my tea.
What you Need to Know About Stevia:
- Stevia has been tested extensively for safety with no known toxicity associated with stevia herb.
- Glycoside molecules in stevia produce a sweet taste that adds 0 calories and no carbohydrates, making it a great alternative to those who cannot tolerate sugar or other sweeteners.
- Stevia is stable when heated, making it suitable to use in recipes.
- Stevia sweetens and enhances the flavor of other foods.
- Stevia accounts for 40% of the commercial sweetener market in Japan, sweetening products such as chewing gum, candy, soft drinks and juices, baked goods and other low-calorie foods.
Health benefits of Stevia:
- Stevia is sold in some South American countries as an aid to diabetes and hypoglycemia.
- Stevia has been traditionally used to lower blood pressure, relieve nausea, aid in digestion and to reduce obesity.
- Stevia increases energy levels and mental focus.
- Stevia herb, used as a mouthrinse or added to toothpaste, has been shown to inhibit the growth and reproduction of bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay for better dental health.
- Stevia concentrate may be applied directly to blemishes, acne, or lip and mouth sores, and is also effective for dermatitis and eczema.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Sources: The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine by Brigitte Mars, A.H.G. Stevia, naturally sweet recipes for desserts, drinks and more! by Rita DePuydt