Now, when people are concerned about proper nutrition, many are wondering how to reduce the amount of sugar consumed daily. What can replace sugar in tea or coffee, lemonade, or fruit drink? And in baking? And in other dishes? It is good if this interest has a purely theoretical value, but it happens that a person comes to life when he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, that is, diabetes developed from excessive consumption of carbohydrates. Such diabetes can be adjusted not only with drugs but also with diet. Usually, in such cases, sugar is replaced by sugar substitutes, but as it turns out, they have side effects and they are not very good for health. So what to do?
People began to look for natural sugar substitutes. After all, it is not always in the diet was just such a sugar, as we are now used to. And he was not everywhere. And now, not so long ago, by historical standards, scientists and not only they became interested in honey stevia, a plant from the Astrov family, which is ten times sweeter than sugar.
Stevia is also used in cosmetics, although not yet as active as in cooking.
Honey stevia, also known as honey grass, and in Latin Stevia rebaudiana, belongs to the Aster family, or Compositae.
This family is extremely diverse. After distributed on all continents of the Earth and in all-natural zones. For example, you can call asters, sunflowers, dandelions, gerberas, calendula, chamomile, chrysanthemums, dahlias, and many more.
Stevia belongs to the tribe, where there are more than 2000 species. It should be noted that most of them live in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate regions of North and South America. In Central America, to the north, they grow up in Mexico.
Stevia is no exception, it mainly grows in warm areas. It is now cultivated in East Asia, including China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Malaysia, in South America (Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and Israel.
Stevia originally grew in South America (northeast of Paraguay, border with Brazil). There is a moderately humid subtropical climate. And since ancient times, the Guarani Indians in the territory of modern Brazil and Paraguay have used stevia, calling it “sweet grass,” as sweetener formate and various beverages, for the treatment of heartburn and other diseases.
Europeans named the plant after the Spanish botanist Pedro Jacobs Stevus (1500–1556), who first studied representatives of this genus of plants. And it is this stevia that was described in detail in 1899 by the Swiss botanist M. S. Bertoni, who conducted research in Paraguay.
Why are scientists and ordinary people interested in stevia now? Stevia combines high sweetness and low-calorie content, which is very important nowadays. That is why dishes with stevia can be used for diabetics, to control body weight. Stevia also improves metabolism and is used to restore metabolism. Its leaves are 300 times sweeter than sugar and contain more than 50 substances useful for the human body: mineral salts (calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, cobalt, manganese, copper), vitamins P, A, E, C, beta. carotene, amino acids, essential oils, pectins, flavonoids, hydroxycinnamic acids.
In 1931, glycosides stevioside and rebaudioside, giving it a sweet taste, were isolated from Stevia by French scientists. By the way, besides sweetness, stevia has a grassy flavor that not everyone likes. The leaves contain 5–10% stevioside, which is 250–300 times sweeter than sucrose, and 2–4% rebaudioside, which is 400–500 times sweeter than sucrose. Stevioside does not increase blood glucose and promotes insulin production.
In the middle of the last century, the Japanese became interested in stevia, studied it in detail, and began to cultivate it, adding sugar, marinades, ice cream, fruit juices, desserts and even chewing gum instead sugar. And this continues today, sometimes it is written that in half of the food produced in Japan, sugar is replaced by stevia.
Our study of stevia engaged in the Research Institute of Food Hygiene in Ukraine in the 1980s. Own varieties were bred: “Bereginya” and “Slavutych”. Stevia loves a warm climate.
In the USA, EU countries, and Indonesia stevia is allowed as a food additive (BAA).
Nowadays, stevia is grown on an industrial scale in the countries of Southeast Asia, South America, and Israel.
Research is still ongoing, but it is already considered that:
– stevia leaves can be an excellent source of vitamins and minerals,
– Stevia normalizes pressure,
– drugs based on stevia cleanse the body of toxins,
– stevia can increase immunity,
– it can reduce the level of sugar due to the fact that people will not eat regular sugars,
– for the same reason, stevia helps to control and reduce weight.
Due to this, the use of stevia will be useful for hypertension, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol. It will help (not one, but in complex treatment!) In the treatment of viral infections, allergic dermatitis, acute and chronic gastritis, gastric ulcer, and other ulcers. Accordingly, it helps improve immunity, is used to relieve exacerbations of chronic diseases of the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.
Stevia helps to fight excess weight due to the fact that it is very sweet and dulls the feeling of hunger. There are practically no calories in it and its sweet components are not absorbed by the body. If you use stevia tablets, you can count the “dose”: 1 tablet is equal to a teaspoon of sugar.
Stevia lowers blood sugar levels in diabetes, whereas it does not change with normal sugar numbers. Stevia also has the ability to stimulate insulin secretion in the body. That is why in some countries, medicines, which include stevia and tea with stevia, are included in the mandatory treatment program for diabetes.
Stevioside has the property to lower blood pressure, so the grass will be useful for hypertensive patients. But hypotensive should be careful with her.
Since stevia has an antimicrobial effect, it can be used during epidemics of acute viral respiratory diseases, for example, drinking tea with stevia every day. And immunity at the same time will be fine.
With regular use of stevia, there is an improvement in pancreatic function and liver function. Also, tea with stevia is useful for flatulence, heartburn, and acidity of gastric juice.
Stevia extract acts as an anti-inflammatory in gastritis, colitis, enteritis. The pectins which are its part serve as a nutrient medium for intestinal microflora therefore they effectively cope with dysbacteriosis.
As a vitamin-mineral complex, stevia is effective in chronic fatigue syndrome, depletion of the body, and loss of strength. You can chew fresh leaves or drink tea with stevia.
Stevia is also used in cosmetology, as it helps to clean the skin from rashes, and stevia masks have a tightening effect, moisturize the skin, improve complexion and prevent skin inflammation and the formation of wrinkles.
An aqueous solution of leaves or stevia powder inhibits the growth of bacteria, so it can be used instead of balms for rinsing the mouth. Accordingly, it will help with various diseases of the teeth and gums, and how to prevent caries.
It should be borne in mind that the feeling of sweetness when using stevia does not occur immediately. And if you exceed the amount of sweetener, the dish will acquire a characteristic bitter taste.
Some people believe that the taste of stevia is similar to the taste of licorice (licorice).
Contraindications to the use of stevia:
– pressure surges, if stevia is applied irregularly and at the same time a lot,
– in large doses, stevia reduces pressure, so hypotensive should be careful with it,
– lowering the level of sugar below normal values. Therefore, people with diabetes should, by using stevia, first control their sugar level in order to find the right dose.
• Dried leaves can be crushed in a coffee grinder or mortar, then you get a green powder, which is about 10 times sweeter than sugar. 1.5–2 tbsp. replace 1 cup of regular sugar. It is possible to add such powder to all dishes and drinks where sugar is traditionally used.
• 1 tsp. powder of stevia dry leaves pour 1 cup of boiling water and keep in a water bath (or thermos) for 15–20 minutes, strain and drink for gastric diseases, for obesity. You can also apply lotions with this infusion to non-healing wounds, rinse the mouth with gingivitis and sore throats.
• Pour 20 g of stevia herb (2 tbsp.) With 200 ml of boiling water, bring to a boil, boil for 5–6 minutes. Insist 10-15 minutes, then pour into a thermos and insist another 8 – 10 hours. Then strain. Store the infusion in the refrigerator for a maximum of 5 days. Infusion rubbed into the scalp to strengthen hair or make a pair of masks on the face soaked in a hot infusion towel to smooth out wrinkles.
The leaves that remain after straining can be poured into a thermos of 100 ml of boiling water and infused for 6–8 hours, then mixed with the first infusion.
• Aqueous extract: chop 40 g of fresh or dried leaves, pour 1 cup of boiling water. Insist day. Strain the finished solution, then evaporate over medium heat until thick. Keep refrigerated. Take in diluted form (a quarter of a teaspoon for half a glass of water at room temperature) one hour before meals.
• Syrup: Pour the dried green leaves and shoots completely and boil for 40 minutes. Strain and continue to evaporate the liquid over low heat (possible in a boiling water bath). The syrup is ready if a drop of syrup on a glass or porcelain saucer does not spread. This syrup is added to various drinks and desserts.
• Sprinkle the abscesses on the body with dry stevia powder for half an hour and then rinse with warm water.
• Take 2 tbsp. flowers of hawthorn and 1 tsp. stevia powder. Mix the mixture with 1 cup of water and boil for 10 minutes. Drink 1 tbsp. 3-4 times a day before meals for spasms of cerebral vessels or insomnia.
• Mix 1 tsp. stevia powder, 2 tsp. dry sage herb, 1 tsp. dry peppermint put everything in the teapot, and pour 1 cup of boiling water. Insist 15 minutes. Drink warm, slow sips to warm the throat. During the day you can drink 3 cups of this tea. It has an antipyretic effect.
• Mix 3 tbsp. dry ground herb Hypericum and 2 tsp. stevia powder. Mix the mixture with 1 cup boiling water, leave for 2 hours, drain. Drink an infusion of 1/3 cup 3 times a day before meals for diabetes.
• Grate the onion, mix with 2 tsp. stevia powder, infuse day. Take 1 tbsp. one hour before meals or one hour after meals 3 times a day for atherosclerosis.
• Mix 2 tbsp. motherwort grass and 1 tsp. stevia powder, pour 1 cup of cool boiled water, leave under a lid for 12 hours. Drink 50 ml 3-4 times a day for 1 hour before meals for hypertension.
• Dilute 1 tsp. water extract of stevia in 1 glass of water and rinse your teeth 4 times a day to prevent caries and periodontal disease.
• Drink tea from stevia or dilute stevia water extract (to taste) in 1 glass of water and drink it 3 times a day when coughing as an additional expectorant.
• 2 tbsp. mint leaves mixed with 1 tsp. stevia powder, pour 2 cups boiling water, leave for 20 minutes, strain. Drink ½ – 1 glass 15–20 minutes before meals 2 times a day during gastritis.
• Every day, chew stevia leaves and rub their gums to prevent caries and periodontal disease.
• 1 tbsp. bilberry leaves mixed with 2 tsp. stevia powder, then pour 1 cup boiling water, insist 30 minutes, strain. Take before meals for 1 tbsp. 3-4 times a day with gastritis.
• 2 tbsp. Hypericum herb mixed with 1 tsp. stevia powder, pour 1 cup of hot water, boil for 30 minutes, cool, strain. Drink 1/3 cup 3 times a day 30 minutes before meals for stomach ulcers and 12 duodenal ulcers.
• Pour 20 g of rose hips with 1 cup boiling water, boil for 10 minutes, add 1 tsp to the infusion. stevia powder, infuse for 30 minutes, strain. Drink ½ cup 2 times a day with a stomach ulcer and 12 duodenal ulcers.
• Grind 2–3 slices of garlic of medium size, mix with 1 tsp. stevia powder, all pour 1 cup boiling water. Insist 8 – 10 hours, drain. Use for lotions for psoriasis.
• 5 tbsp. fresh blackberry leaves mixed with 1 tsp. stevia powder, pour 1 cup boiling water, after 2-3 minutes, strain. Impose hot lotions for eczema.