Stevia, the sweetening plant of a thousand properties

Stevia is the fashionable plant. Since this natural sweetener has landed in Europe, every day there are more products that incorporate Stevia as a sweetener, extracted from the plant. Its consumption does not affect the glycemic index or hypertension. It has no calories, no saturated fat, no sugars, and no carbohydrates. It does not produce cholesterol or ferment or react with other components of food.

But in addition to its extract, Stevia, this sweet leafy plant, is diuretic and digestive. Effects are attributed Antioxidants y anti-inflammatory and cardiotonic and bactericidal properties. With all these qualities, it deserves a special place in the list of medicinal plants that can be grown at home

Stevia includes about 200 recognized species, but it is the «Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni»The one that has been cultivated for centuries in South America and the one already used as a sweetener by the native Guarani in Paraguay. Its leaves are 30 times sweeter than common sugar and its dry extract, 200 to 300 times sweeter.

They are discovery It is attributed to the Spanish botanist and physician Pedro Jaime Esteve (1500-1556) who found it in the northeast of the territory that is now Paraguay. He gave her his name Stevia. The Swiss naturalist Moisés Bertoni was the first to describe the species scientifically in Upper Paraná, and completed its scientific name with his surname.

In 2011 : the European Union approved its use as a sweetener and food additive. It also has the positive scientific opinion of the EFSA, the highest European authority on Food Safety.

And this wonderful plant, we can grow it at home. It reproduces by cuttings, so if we do not have a nearby plant that can give us a bud (for cuttings always without flowers), we will acquire an already grown plant to reproduce it later.

Requires location In sunny areas, it must be taken into account that it is a tropical plant, it likes heat and humidity.

Regarding irrigationDuring the heat of summer, it is necessary to water every day, but in spring and autumn, we will water when, upon contact with the hand, we notice the soil without moisture. During the winter, the time when the plant stops its growth, it will be watered very little, practically nothing, to avoid rotting the roots that must re-sprout in spring.

When the end of autumn comes and the plant fills with flowers, it is time to trim itleaving it at 10 cm. high and taking advantage to dry the leaves that we have cut.
To ensure that it will sprout again in spring, we must protect it with a plastic. In this way, we will avoid that if it rains, the roots become flooded with water and when the good weather returns, we will concentrate the heat and it will sprout strongly. For, dry the leaves During the summer correctly, it is necessary to ensure that the sun does not shine on them, in order to preserve all the medicinal properties. To benefit from these properties, we can eat its tender leaves or make a infusionwith them, tender (10 leaves per liter of water) or dried (4 dessert tablespoons per liter of water) .More information – Five medicinal plants to grow at home

Stevia, the sweetening plant of a thousand properties

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