Information on Stevia Extract
Stevia extract is obtained from the plant of the same name. The stevia plant comes from the family of asteraceae and it originates from the tropical and subtropical regions of Central America and South America. It is most commonly grown in Brazil and Paraguay. It has been discovered in 1887 and it slowly gained popularity because it can be used as a substitute for certain artificial types of sweeteners such as cyclamate and saccharin. These artificial sweeteners are usually avoided because of certain claims that they may be carcinogenic, while stevia is a completely natural substitute. Stevia is up to 300 times sweeter than the ordinary, refined sugar, and the peculiar fact is that the sweetness does not have anything to do with the amount of carbohydrates contained. Stevia is actually very popular mainly due to the fact that it does not contain any carbohydrates at all. Stevia extract is a natural sweetener which does not contain any carbohydrates or calories and it is even safe for use by those who suffer from diabetes.
Health Benefits of Stevia Extracts
Stevia has been used for various medicinal purposes for many centuries. First it was used for the treatment of heartburn and several other similar medical conditions, but nowadays it is usually used for the prevention and treatment of obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension and hypoglycemia. Those who suffer from candidiasis and diabetes may use it without any precautions, since it does not affect the levels of sugar in the blood. Stevia may even be efficient in increasing the glucose tolerance. The glycoside compounds contained in stevia do not get metabolized in the human body. Stevia may also be of great help for all those who suffer from an upset stomach or indigestion. It is known for its potent antiviral and antibacterial properties so it can be used for the prevention of gum diseases and tooth decay and for the acceleration of wound healing processes. Stevia can be used for the treatment of eczema, dermatitis, acne and numerous other types of skin and hair related medical issues. It is commonly contained in various mouthwashes and toothpastes.
Controversies over Stevia Extract
Stevia extract is regarded as a dietary supplement by the FDA, not as a sweetener, due to certain controversies. Stevioside and rebaudioside get converted into steviol in the human body. Some studies claim that steviol may be associated with the occurrence of cancer or genetic mutations.