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 thetropical and subtropical regions of Central America and South America. It ismost commonly grown in Brazil and Paraguay. It has been discovered in 1887 andit slowly gained popularity because it can be used as a substitute for certainartificial types of sweeteners such as cyclamate and saccharin. These artificialsweeteners are usually avoided because of certain claims that they may be carcinogenic,while stevia is a completely natural substitute. Stevia is up to 300 timessweeter than the ordinary, refined sugar, and the peculiar fact is that thesweetness does not have anything to do with the amount of carbohydratescontained. Stevia is actually very popular mainly due to the fact that it doesnot contain any carbohydrates at all. Stevia extract is a natural sweetener whichdoes not contain any carbohydrates or calories and it is even safe for use bythose who suffer from diabetes.
Health Benefits of Stevia Extracts
Stevia has been used for various medicinal purposes for manycenturies. First it was used for the treatment of heartburn and several othersimilar medical conditions, but nowadays it is usually used for the preventionand treatment of obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension and hypoglycemia.Those who suffer from candidiasis and diabetes may use it without anyprecautions, since it does not affect the levels of sugar in the blood. Steviamay even be efficient in increasing the glucose tolerance. The glycosidecompounds contained in stevia do not get metabolized in the human body. Steviamay also be of great help for all those who suffer from an upset stomach orindigestion. It is known for its potent antiviral and antibacterial propertiesso it can be used for the prevention of gum diseases and tooth decay and forthe acceleration of wound healing processes. Stevia can be used for thetreatment of eczema, dermatitis, acne and numerous other types of skin and hairrelated medical issues. It is commonly contained in various mouthwashes andtoothpastes.
Controversies over Stevia Extract
Stevia extract is regarded as a dietary supplement by theFDA, not as a sweetener, due to certain controversies. Stevioside andrebaudioside get converted into steviol in the human body. Some studies claimthat steviol may be associated with the occurrence of cancer or geneticmutations.