Stevia and Cancer

According to the 2002 issue of “Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin,” leaves pulled from the plant Stevia rebaudiana have been used for centuries in South America as a sweetener in mate tea. Presently, stevia is rising in popularity in the United States instead sweetening agent. Although the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA

Four steviol compounds, naturally going on molecules derived from stevia leaves, have been tested for attainable anti-cancer results

Dr. Ken Yasukawa

The plant commonly known as Stevia contains steviol glycosides, which are used as sweeteners. If food ingredients, such as sweeteners, are generally recognized as safe (“GRAS”), they do not require FDA approval as a food additive. Based on its review of information and data submitted by industry in GRAS notices submitted to FDA, FDA has not questioned the GRAS status of certain high-purity steviol glycosides for use in food. These high-purity steviol glycosides may be lawfully marketed and added to food products sold in the United States. However, stevia leaf and crude stevia extracts are not considered GRAS and do not have FDA approval for use in food.-

does not improve utilization of stevia as a meals additive, apart from in its purest shape, stevia can also be bought as an unregulated nutritional supplement.

Stevia Carcinogenesis

Four steviol compounds, naturally going on molecules derived from stevia leaves, have been tested for attainable anti-cancer results, in step with Dr. Ken Yasukawa within the 2002 factor of “Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. The steviol molecules effectively blocked the effects of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate or TPA in mice.

TPA is a potent carcinogen in a position to spurring most cancers expansion. By inhibiting the impact of TPA, extracted molecules from stevia may have an anti-cancer effect. More research is essential.

Genotoxic Effects

Genotoxic studies are essential experiments that focus on the toxicity of certain compounds on DNA integrity. If a compound is extremely genotoxic, or extremely harmful to DNA, that is steadily an indication of the cancer-causing skill of a compound.

According to the 2009 issue of “Food and Chemical Toxicology,” Dr. Lonnie Williams confirmed that rebaudioside A, one of the major compounds in stevia leaves, did not have any genotoxic results, indicating that stevia isn’t likely carcinogenic.

Mutagenicity Studies

According to the 2002 “Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin,” Dr. Tadamasa Terai explains that many of the compounds extracted from stevia leaves don’t showcase mutagenic or genotoxic results that can reason cancer. However, they did practice that one specific stevia compound, stevioside, used to be transformed into every other molecule shape by micro organism in lab rats’ stomachs.

This new compound exhibited mutatgenic results. However, these effects are a ways from conclusive. It is unclear how those findings extrapolate to humans.


The safety and most cancers knowledge on stevia is a ways from whole. Although it is largely considered secure, with some limited however possible anti-cancer effects, the information merely do not make stronger any ties to cancer. Furthermore, despite the fact that the present information may not support the presence of dangerous side effects in regard to stevia utilization, this would merely imply that the experiments have not but been performed. Caution is suggested.

Seed Germination in Stevia rebaudiana

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, Asteraceae) is a non-caloric natural-source alternative to artificially produced sugar substitutes. The sweet compounds pass through the digestive process without chemically break- ing down, making stevia safe for those who need to control their blood sugar level (Strauss 1995). There have been no reports to date of adverse effects from the use of stevia products by humans (Brandle and Rosa 1992). Shock (1982) reported that stevia contains eight glucoside compounds, each featuring a three-carbon-ring central structure. Stevioside is the most abundant glucoside produced. An extract of one or more of these com- pounds may be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar (Duke 1993). Preliminary trials at Davis, California indi- cate that stevia could produce a sweetener equivalent to 10 t/ha of sucrose (Shock 1982).
The Guarani Indians of Paraguay, where stevia originates, have used it for centuries as a sweetener for maté tea (Brandle and Rosa 1992). Since the 1970s, stevia extracts have been widely used in many countries as a sugar substitute. In Japan, for instance, stevia extracts account for about 5.6% of the sweetener market (Strauss 1995). Stevia usage in the United States is limited at this time because the Food and Drug Adminis- tration does not allow its use as a sweetener in manufactured and processed food products. In 1991, the FDA banned stevia, claiming it was an “unsafe food additive.” The FDA now allows the sale of stevia, but only as a nutritional supplement (Whitaker 1995).
Stevia is a perennial herb with an extensive root system and brittle stems producing small, elliptic leaves. Stevia will grow well on a wide range of soils given a consistent supply of moisture and adequate drainage; plants under cultivation can reach up to 1 m or more in height (Shock 1982). Stevia is grown as a perennial in subtropical regions including parts of the United States, but must be grown as an annual in mid to high lati- tude regions, where longer days favor leaf yield and stevioside contents.
The tiny white florets are perfect, borne in small corymbs of 2–6 florets. Corymbs are arranged in loose panicles. Oddone (1997) considers stevia to be self-incompatible and insect pollinated. Additionally, he con- siders “clear” seeds to be infertile. Seeds are contained in slender achenes, about 3 mm in length. Each achene has about 20 persistent pappus bristles.
Propagation of stevia is usually by stem cuttings which root easily, but require high labor inputs. Poor seed germination is one of the factors limiting large-scale cultivation. Shock (1982), Duke (1993), and Carneiro (1997), all mention poor production of viable seeds. Propagation is a special concern for northern growers who must grow stevia as an annual.
A study was undertaken to investigate the low seed germination of stevia seeds. The influence of polli- nation treatments as well as the effect of light and darkness during germination were evaluated. Rooted stem cuttings of a Chinese clone of stevia obtained from Dr. Ken Rohrback, University of Hawaii were transplanted into 24 cm diameter plastic pots containing silty clay as a soil medium. On Oct. 12, 1997, the plants were placed in two separate greenhouses where temperature, wind, and pollen access could be controlled. At this time, the plants were at the first stage of floral bud development. The plants were subjected to five pollination treatments: (1) cross-pollination by bumblebees in a cage; (2) cross-pollination by hand; (3) cross-pollination by wind from a fan; (4) self-pollination by hand; (5) a control group isolated from other genotypes.
Ten plants of the Chinese clone were utilized (two in each treatment group). Clone SR8 provided cross- pollination in all but the selfing by hand and control treatments (one plant in each treatment group). Pollina- tion treatments were initiated on Oct. 30, 1997 when blossoms were beginning to open and treatments continued for the duration of anthesis (30–40 days). For the bumble bee treatment, a cage (122 cm × 91.5 cm × 183 cm) covered with wire screen was placed over a greenhouse bench. Plants were placed in the cage along with a small hive of bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) obtained from Koppert Biological Systems of Ann Arbor, Michigan. A large circulation fan was used for wind pollination. Plants were placed 0.9–1.7 m from the intake side of the fan, providing enough breeze for gentle movement of the blossom 10–15 times daily, for 2–5 min periods.  Self polination by hand was accomplished by transferring pollen between blossoms every other day with a bumble bee thorax on the end of a toothpick. Seeds ripened during the period between Nov. 30, 1997 and Jan. 21, 1998. Seeds were judged to be ripe when
Each germination test utilized 100 seeds placed between paper towels in a nursery flat, covered by a
plastic dome. The temperature for all tests was 24°C. Fluorescent lights were placed above the domes for light treatment, 15 cm above the seeds. After 7 and 12 days, the number of seeds exhibiting normal germina- tion were counted. For viability tests, 20 seeds were submerged in a 10% tetrazolium chloride solution at
24°C for 1 h and the stained seed counted. Each germination experiment was carried out with three replica- tions.
There were two types of seed: black and tan. Black seed weighed more than tan seed, 0.300 vs. 0.178 mg, and viability of black seed based on tetrazolium chloride was much higher than tan seed, 76.7 vs. 8.3% (Table 1). Germination in the dark was higher for black as compared to tan seed (83.7% vs. 16.0%) while light increases the germination of black seed but not tan seed (Fig. 1). This suggests that tan seeds represent inviable seed that are produced without fertilization. There was no significant difference in black seed germi- nation among the four pollination treatments suggesting that incompatibility is not a factor in these clones (Table 2). However, all pollination treatments increase seed germination of black seed over the control sug- gesting that some active manipulation of the blossoms is necessary to achieve pollination. It would appear that many of the black seeds in the control were misclassified tan seed.
Brandle, J.E. and N. Rosa. 1992. Heritability for yield, leaf-stem ratio and stevioside content estimated from a landrace cultivar of Stevia rebaudiana. Can. J. Plant Sci. 72:1263–1266.
Carneiro, J.W.P., A.S. Muniz, and T.A. Guedes. 1997. Greenhouse bedding plant production of Stevia
rebaudiana (Bert) bertoni. Can. J. Plant Sci. 77:473–474.
Duke, J. 1993. Stevia rebaudiana. p. 422–424. In: J. Duke, CRC handbook of alternative cash crops. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
Oddone, B. 1997. How to grow stevia. Technical manual. Guarani Botanicals, Pawtucket, CT
Shock, C.C. 1982. Experimental cultivation of Rebaudi’s stevia in California. Univ. California, Davis Agron.
Progr. Rep. 122.
Strauss, S. 1995. The perfect sweetener? Technol. Rev. 98:18–20.
Whitaker, J. 1995. Sweet justice: FDA relents on stevia. Human Events 51:11.

Stevia Cultivation guide for farmers in Pakistan

Climatic requirements
A subtropical plant with optimum temperature requirement ranging from 18 to 30 C0 should be protected when night time temperature fall below the range. Very high and very low temperature may stress transplant in addition to affecting leaf stevioside contents. In colder areas, Stevia should be planted after the last frost or should be covered with plastic sheet. Stevia plant requires 12 hours sunlight to remain green and growing so longer summer days at higher latitudes favor leaf yield and Stevioside content.
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Soil type and land preparation
Stevia grows best in rich well drained soil preferably a sandy loam or loam soil. It requires fine field with pH ranging from 4 to 8 but does not tolerate salinity. Raised beds (60-90 cm wide and 10-15 cm high) are ideal for stevia cultivation as beds facilitate additional water drainage as standing water is harmful for the crop. Beds should be mulched with organic matter in extreme weathers to conserve moisture and save the plants from injury.
It is best to propagate stevia plants from cuttings or tissue culture from a plant that has proven to be successful.
Raising Nursery
Growing stevia from seed normally has a very low germination success; sometimes only 10%. Only black or dark brown seeds are viable. A tan or clear color suggests they are empty shells, lacking an embryo. Good seeds will be solid and white inside. Even firm black seeds tend to lose viability rapidly.
stevia seeds
Seedlings grow slowly, so allow 7 to 8 weeks from seed to transplanting. Seeds sown in December and January will be ready to transplant in February and March. For Rabi (winter) planting, nursery may be raised during May/June under controlled environment which will be ready for transplanting in September/October. A plastic flat covered by a clear plastic dome makes a good germination chamber when placed beneath a growing light. Place a thermometer inside and maintain a 21 to 23oC temperature by adjusting the level of the light. Use small containers (with drainage holes) or plastic cell packs filled with standard potting soil. Place 3 or 4 seeds on the soil surface in each container and cover with a thin layer (about 1/8 inch) of horticultural vermiculite. Water from below as needed by pouring water into the tray. Seedlings should emerge in 1 to 2 weeks. Thin to one plant per container and extra seedlings may be transplanted to empty containers.
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Cuttings should be planted in winter months, e.g. December, January and February. For Rabi planting, cuttings should be planted during May/June under controlled environment which will be ready for transplanting in September/October. For cuttings, use a sharp blade or pruning tool, make soft cuttings (terminal portion) 2 to 4 inches long. Each cutting should have 2 or 3 nodes. A node is where leaves attach to the stem. Cut between, rather than at the nodes. Plunge the proximal end (closest to the roots on the mother plant) of the cutting into the rooting medium far enough so that at least one node is buried and at least one node remains above the surface. Remove all leaves from buried nodes.
stevia planting
Above the surface, remove large leaves by cutting or pinching leaf stems, taking care not to damage the tiny axillary leaves emerging behind large leaves. These axillary leaves are the growing points of your new plant. Keep cuttings at 15 to 21oC. Stevia plants require high humidity to grow, therefore plant the cuttings in plastic cups and place the cups in plastic trays/bins. The height of these trays should be 20-30 cm. Cover the trays with plastic sheet after placing the cuttings in it and tighten it well. After about a week, growth should be evident if rooting was successful. After 3 to 4 weeks, transfer plants in low tunnel (2-4 feet high) and sprinkle water to maintain high humidity. Transplant these to the field in another 2 to 4 weeks or keep as a container plant.
Tissue Culture
Collect the twigs (about 5-6 cm) of shoots Stevia rebaudiana plants, wash the twig with node explants under tap water and then washed again thoroughly by adding a few drops of Tween-20 to remove the superficial dust particles as well as fungal and bacterial spores. Then surface sterilize with 0.1% mercuric chloride for 5 min followed by rinsing them five times with double distilled water inside the Laminar Air flow chamber. Prepare nodal segments (with a single axillary bud) about 0.5-0.8 cm aseptically and implant vertically on MS medium fortified with specific concentrations of growth regulators (BA, KIN and NAA) singly or in combination adding 30 g lG1 sugar (market sugar) and 0.7% Difco Bacto-agar.
stevia planting 1
Adjust the pH of the medium to 5.7 with 0.1 NaOH before autoclaving at 1.06 kg cmG2 and 121°C for 20 min. Then incubate the cultures at a constant temperature of 26±1°C with 16 h photoperiod (2000 lux). Subculture should be done every 21 days interval and nodal segments from the proliferated shoots should be sub-cultured again for further multiple shoot induction. Cut the regenerated multiple shoots and place individual shoots in MS medium containing 0.1 mg lG1 IAA. Then subject the rooted plantlets for hardening and establishment in soil.
Nursery acclimatization
Stevia nursery prepared from the either mentioned methods requires to be acclimatized under controlled environment. The plantlets then require to be transferred to plastic pots containing peat moss and sand (1:1) in the greenhouse (28 ± 2°C, RH 70-80%). The potted plants need to be irrigated and initially covered with plastic bags, which may gradually be eliminated within four weeks time for completing their acclimatization.
Care and maintenance
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When stems reach 7 to 10 inches in length, cut them back to promote branching and vigor. Over-wintered plants look devitalized by the end of the winter but regain vigor when transplanted outdoors. Do not use fertilizers with high nitrogen. Adding extra Boron will help keep the Stevioside level high. If soil could be mounded up into a raised bed, this would be even better. Apply a layer of mulch such as grass clippings, bark mulch, leaf manures, straws etc.
stevia leaf
This will help keep roots cool, preserve water, keeps the leave clean from soil (prevents dirty taste in green powder) and hold down weeds. Avoid weeding around mature stevia plants as their brittle branches are easily broken.
Micro sprinkler/drip irrigation is the best methods of irrigating the Stevia plants to avoid damage by excessive level of moisture. Irrigate once or twice a week for consistent moisture supply depending upon season and soil type. Frequent light watering is recommended during the summer months while during winter months as the beds starts loosing moisture. Heavy irrigation in summer months cause suffocation, high temperature and high humidity may cause fungal diseases. Avoid overwatering after transplanting and in winter as houseplant. Keep evenly moist during summer heat; drip or soaker hose are very effective for summer watering.
          Stevia plants respond well to fertilizers with lower nitrogen content. Low nitrogen is recommended as excess nitrogen promotes growth with poor flavor. Most organic fertilizers would work well since they release nitrogen slowly.  Feeder roots of stevia plant tend to be very near to the soil surface; therefore FYM and compost should be added to supply extra nutrients in sandy soils and to conserve moisture. Nitrogen application is must for the production of dry matter and good harvest of leaves. A low nitrogen formula is recommended in split application at planting and in midsummer.
Weed management
Removal of weeds can be done manually. Since the crop is grown on raised beds, intercultural operations are easier by manual labor.
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The fungal diseases such as Septoria steviae, Seclerotinia sclerotiorum and phytophthra may occur. Dark brown lesions form on stem near soil line followed by wilting and collapse of plant in sclerotine. Inphytophthra attack, plant wilts and dies. Wet weather and standing water favor development of disease. Fungicides should be sprayed to control the diseases. Aphids, thrips, whitefly, loopers and mealy bug can cause damage in heavily infested green house. The relevant insecticides are required to be sprayed to control the insects.
stevia plants
Harvest entire plant in the morning as flower buds appear for highest glycoside /sugar content. Plants transplanted in February and March should be harvested till mid-May or as flower buds appear. It does not produce a single normal leaf once flowering has begun. Removing flower heads is not effective. Failure to harvest plants before several flowers have opened, will allow these flowers to impart a bitter/dirty flavor to the leaves. Harvesting is done by cutting the entire plant at the base. With a rubber band, tie loose branches together and hang upside down to dry under warm, dark, drafty conditions for 2-4 days. Avoid using food dehydrators or open oven doors as this will also tend to cause a bitter flavor. Remove any small branches and grind leaves into powder using an electric grinder for 25-30 seconds. Dried green stevia powder will last almost indefinitely or at least until the next harvest. Expected yield would be 2500-3000 kgs of dried leaves/acre.
The dried leaves can be ground and used as a sweetener or soaked in water and the liquid used in making preserves. The powdered leaves are also added to herb teas. The leaves are sometimes chewed by those wishing to reduce their sugar intake. The leaves can also be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Many who hesitate to consume artificial food additives may prefer stevia because it is all natural. Production of Stevioside involves water extraction from the dried leaves, followed by clarification and crystallization processes. Most commercial processes consist of water extraction, de-coloration, and purification using ion-exchange resins, electrolytic techniques, or precipitating agents
Today, stevia is being used in more than 6,000 food, drinks and medicinal products all over the world. It is being used as sweetener in colas, ice cream and for value addition in soy sauce and pickling products. It is also used in chewing gum, rice wines, yogurts, soft drinks, fruit juices, candies and canned foods. The Coco Cola Company, Cargil and Coke and PepsiCo Inc are all competing on the market with their stevia products. Coke markets Sprite Green and Odwalla juice drinks that contain stevia.
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A study by Zenith International, a food and drink consultancy, estimates that worldwide stevia sales reached 3,500 metric tons in 2010 taking its overall market value to $285 million. Zenith forecasts that the global market for stevia will reach 11,000 metric tons by 2014, equivalent to $825 million.
In Pakistan, National Engineering Laboratories is manufacturing Glucose-H (it contains glycoside extract of stevia) which is natural sugar replacement, low in calories, anti-fatigue and energy booster. Qarshi Industries Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. is also using stevia in its many food products.
Seed and propagation material is available at Plant Physiology Section, Agronomic Research Institute, Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Jhang Road, Faisalabad.
For further information please contact
Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Akram
Plant Physiologist
Agronomic Research Institute
Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Faisalabad
Ph # +092 41-9200655
Fax: +092 41-9201677
Cell: +092 300 7662117
Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Akram, Dr. Muhammad Shoaib, Shahid Abbas

Stevia: The Best Sugar Substitutes for People with Diabetes

With a low to no calorie sugar count, artificial sweeteners may seem like a treat for people with diabetes. But recent research indicates that artificial sweeteners may actually be counterintuitive, especially if you’re looking to manage or prevent diabetes.

In fact, the increased consumption of these sugar substitutes may correlate to the increase of obesity and diabetes cases.
The good news is that there are sugar alternatives you can choose from, including:

  • stevia or stevia products
  • tagatose
  • monk fruit extract
  • coconut palm sugar
  • date sugar
  • sugar alcohols, such as erythritol or xylitol

You’ll still want to watch your intake for glucose management, but these options are far better than the products marketed as “sugar-free.”
What is stevia?
Stevia is a low-calorie sweetener that has antioxidant and antidiabetic properties. It’s been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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Unlike artificial sweeteners and sugar, stevia can suppress your plasma glucose levels and significantly increase glucose tolerance. It’s also not an artificial sweetener, technically speaking. That’s because it’s made from the leaves of the stevia plant.
Stevia also has the ability to:

  • increase insulin production
  • increase insulin’s effect on cell membranes
  • stabilize blood sugar levels
  • counter the mechanics of type 2 diabetes and its complications

You can find stevia under brand names such as:

  • Pure Via
  • Sun Crystals
  • SweetLeaf
  • Truvia

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While stevia is natural, these brands are usually highly processed and may contain other ingredients. For example, Truvia goes through 40 processing steps before it’s ready to be sold. It also contains the sugar alcohol erythritol.
Future research may shed more light on the impact of consuming these processed stevia sweeteners.
The best way to consume stevia is to grow the plant yourself and use the whole leaves to sweeten foods.
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Stevia plants in Pakistan proudly launched online COD delivery of Stevia plants in KARACHI.

Stevia is cultivated in many countries, but China is the leading exporter of stevia products currently. Stevia provides an important role in biodiversity due to how little land is required to grow it, allowing farmers to diversify their crops.

Unlike commodity crops, stevia is grown on smaller plots of land and provides supplemental income to more commonplace crops.

As stevia is intensely sweet, it typically requires only one-fifth of the land and much less water to provide the same amount of sweetness as other mainstream sweeteners.

There are 150 species of stevia, all native to South and North America.

The sweetness of the stevia leaves is caused by eight glycosides contained within them. These glycosides are stevioside, rebaudioside A, C, D, E, and F, steviolbioside, and dulcoside A. Stevioside is the most abundant of these components; the leaves of some cultures contain up to 18 percent stevioside.

Some of the common and trade names for stevia sweeteners are Enliten, PureVia, Rebaudioside A/Reb A, Rebaudioside B, Rebaudioside C, Rebaudioside D, Rebiana, Stevia, Steviacane, Steviol Glycosides, Stevioside, Stevia Extract In The Raw, and SweetLeaf.

Uses of Stevia


Stevia concentrate is believed to be beneficial for dandruff, dry scalp, and dull, dry and thin hair. People have noticed stronger, dandruff-free and rejuvenated hair after the regular use of Stevia. Simply mix 3-4 drops of Stevia concentrate into your regular shampoo and wash as normal. Also, after shampooing, using stevia tea as a conditioner and rinsing it out after 5 minutes can help retain natural hair colour and strength.


Studies show that Stevia may stabilize blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, may even promote insulin production by promoting the pancreas health, discourage glucose absorption in the blood, and inhibit candidiasis – a yeast infection that flourish with sugar. Stevia is a great low carb, low sugar and low calorie sugar alternative and the steviol glycosides are not metabolized by the body and are excreted in the urine without getting accumulated in the body. A Study also suggests that Stevia may inhibit the craving for sweet and oily or fatty foods.

Drinking tea made with crushed raw Stevia leaves, or with its extract or tea bags two to three times daily may help with hyperglycemia. To make Stevia tea, heat – not boil one cup of water and let a tea bag or 1teaspoon of its leaves steep in it for 5 -7 minutes. Drink it hot or cold. Or 3-4 drops of Stevia extract can be added to warm or cold cup of water. Also stevia can be used as a natural alternative to any other artificial sweetener being used


Study shows that antibacterial properties of Stevia may help with gingivitis, cavities, tooth decay and mouth sores. It may suppress the development and reproduction of infectious organisms in the gums and teeth, inhibit the growth of plaque and may improve overall oral health. People who have used Stevia as a mouthwash has reported significant decrease in gingivitis and other mouth infections. Simply gargling with Stevia mouthwash and brushing with Stevia added toothpaste may be beneficial. To make Stevia mouthwash, add 3-4 drops of Stevia extract in half a cup of lukewarm water or steep half a cup of tea with its leaves or teabag and gargle three to four times daily especially in the morning and at night. For toothpaste, mix 2 drops of Stevia extract to the regular toothpaste.


A few longer term studies done over a period of 1 and 2 years show that stevia may lower elevated blood pressure levels. Simply drinking Stevia tea twice daily may help stabilize the blood pressure levels.


A study performed on chickens shows that by adding Stevia leaf powder to chicken feed it significantly increased calcium metabolism in the chickens and had 75% decreased eggshell breakage. A patent application for possible Osteoporosis treatment with Stevia suggests that stevia may help promote absorption of calcium in the body and help improve bone density. Suggested remedy is to make Alfalfa and stevia tea by steeping Alfalfa herb and Stevia half teaspoon each for 5-7 minutes. Drink it two to three times daily. Adding vitamin D powder to the tea or taking its supplements can be beneficial too.


Recent medical research suggests that low at carbohydrates, calories and sugar Stevia may be beneficial in weight management. One preliminary research suggests that Stevia may interfere with the functions of hypothalamus and may aid weight loss by curbing the hunger sensation. Hypothalamus is a part of the brain which controls hunger, thirst and fatigue along with its other functions. Anti-glycemic activity of Stevia may also control blood glucose levels which is one of the major causes of weight gain. Stevia works as a tonic to increase energy levels in people battling for weight loss. Suggested remedy is to drink one cup of Stevia tea or mix 10-15 drops of Stevia concentrate in one cup of cold or warm water. Drink it 15 minutes before every meal.


Stevia is believed to be a remarkable healing agent for skin disorders. Its antioxidant, antibacterial and antiseptic activity may help with wrinkles, skin blemishes, dermatitis, eczema, acne outbreaks, scarring, rashes, itchiness and chapped lips. A small amount of Stevia concentrate applied directly onto the affected skin may promote the healing process. To smooth out the wrinkles, before going to bed, apply a paste made by crushed Stevia leaves or its liquid concentrate evenly all over the face and let it dry for fifteen to twenty minutes. Wash and pat dry your face and apply a few drops of extra virgin coconut oil on the face and leave it on over night to benefit from its antioxidant effects.

What are the Side Effects of Stevia?

There are not any reported side effects of Stevia when taken in moderation. Based on intensive global researches and scientific reports, The World Health Organisation (WHO) of the UN and Food and Drug Administration of the US had approved the use of Steviol glycosides as safe and has established an acceptable daily intake of 4mg per kg of body weight. However, if you are taking any medication for diabetes or hypertension, due to its anti-glycemic and anti-hypertensive activity supervised Stevia consumption is advised. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your physician before using Stevia therapeutically.

Where and How to Buy Stevia

Stevia is available at organic grocery and herbal food stores in the form of raw dried leaves, white or green powder, sugar tabs, granulated or crystalline sugar, concentrate, and flavoured and nonflavourd liquids. When buying Stevia look for Stevia rebaudiana because it is considered the best type and the FDA approved steviol glycosides are extracted from this genus in the whole Stevia family.


Stevia plant care

If growing your own calorie-free, natural sweetener sounds too good to be true, it’s time to get to know stevia. Native to Paraguay and other tropical areas of the Americas, the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana) produces leaves packed with super-sweet compounds that remain stable even after the leaves have been dried. Stevia leaves have been used to sweeten teas and beverages throughout South America for centuries. 

More recently, diabetics and dieters alike have turned to stevia to reduce their sugar intake because, unlike honey, maple syrup, agave or molasses, this natural sweetener has zero calories and is not metabolized by the body. Stevia is especially well-suited to sweetening drinks, fruits, salad dressings, yogurt and most creamy desserts. Stevia can substitute for some, but not all, of the sugar used when baking, because it does not provide all of the multiple functions that sugar does.

The Whole-Leaf Stevia Difference
Many commercial drink mixes and packaged sugar substitutes are sweetened with a derivative of stevia. This sweetening compound is called Rebaudioside A and is listed on labels as either Reb A or Rebiana. These are highly processed products developed by large food corporations. Most of the raw stevia used to produce these products is grown in China. These “natural sweeteners” have been stripped of many of the plant’s healthful properties. Teas, extracts and tinctures made from high-quality, whole-leaf stevia, on the other hand, contain up to seven sweet compounds (glycosides) and an array of antioxidants.

Growing Stevia Plants
Growing stevia is easy in well-drained beds or large containers, and the leaves can be dried for winter use like any other herb. Stevia grows best in warm conditions similar to those preferred by basil. Plants grown in warm climates will grow to 24 inches tall and wide. Where summers are cool, expect stevia plants to grow up to 16 inches. Grow three to five plants for a year’s supply of dried stevia leaves.

Mr. Stevia: The Sweet Success of a Kenyan Farmer

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Sowing the Stevia Seeds

When PureCircle, the leading supplier of stevia ingredients, first introduced stevia as a new source of income to farmers in Kericho, not all of them were initially sold on the idea. Kericho is Kenya’s tea capital, and most farmers prefer to use their land for tea planting, alongside growing the food and drink they need to feed themselves and their families.

But, Charles Langat, a hardworking farmer from Kericho, who was driven by the need to provide an improved economic lifeline for his family, did the unexpected and thought outside the box.

“One day I heard on a local radio show about this new crop named stevia. They said it could help small farmers like myself to make up for the declining income in recent years. So, I said to myself, why not give it a chance,” says the father of three.

That was just over a year ago. Now stevia is forming the backbone of his income.

“My first seeds I got from PureCircle, the company that introduced this complementary crop to us tea growers. Now I am able to pull my own seeds,” Charles explains.

Harvesting the Stevia Plant

Stevia grows best in upland areas with a sub-tropical climate so it’s well suited to the soil in Charles’ fields. Best of all, it only requires a small amount of fertiliser and water and the leaves are ready to harvest after just three months.

Despite facing challenges in the beginning, Charles’ sheer determination led him to work extra hard on his yields and he has reaped the benefits.

“The potential for stevia to help with some of our income gaps is unmatched by any other crop,” says Charles.


Stevia leaves are harvested after 3 months.

Charles has become the talk of the villages and is now popularly known by his nickname “Mr. Stevia”, with many farmers wanting to know the secret of his success.

For months, he jumped on his moped to get to other farmers to whom he explained the methods and benefits of growing stevia. But, as he explains, “With time, these five hour journeys became quite exhausting. Therefore, I decided to focus on my farming and afterwards I invited farmers over to see how I did it.”

Farmers from far and wide took him up on his offer. Charles trains them to take on stevia farming in a bid to establish stevia plants as an additional crop to their yield; a move that has helped them take advantage of the huge interest in stevia from businesses around the world.

This is not his only speciality: “I go the extra mile,” says Charles, “I educate the farmers on how to manage and care for their farm animals too, as their droppings can be used as manure.” This little tip saves farmers from buying fertiliser and helps to increase the amount of stevia they grow.

The sweet-tasting parts of the leaves may be a kind of natural defence mechanism against aphids and other bugs. “Perhaps that’s why crop-devouring grasshoppers avoid stevia,” says Charles.

Stevia is now becoming a popular choice with farmers in Kericho who want a crop that can withstand pest infestation, and some of the other adverse impacts in agriculture, including climate change. Charles hopes investors will choose the stevia market to help add value to the crop that will not only continue to help farmers, but the Kenyan economy as well.

AVOID! The Toxic Truth About Stevia

Stevia is marketed as a healthy sweetener. But surprising new evidence indicates all stevia sold in grocery stores is highly processed with methyl alcohol or other toxic chemicals. Healthy Solution: Look for natural zero-sugar sweeteners. Is your stevia pure? Or is it mixed with other sweeteners and chemicals? Do you wonder how your stevia is refined? What does “natural” mean, if anything? You deserve to know what’s hidden in your stevia. It is essential for your health to learn how stevia is processed, and decide for yourself. This article strips away the marketing hype, with clear evidence that’s very surprising.

Executive Summary:

Yes, Stevia’s green leaves are naturally sweet. However those white powders and clear drops we find in groceries have very little to do with stevia leaves. They aren’t really stevia at all. They’re an extract that’s been super-refined using toxic chemicals, bleach, and marketed as “healthy”. When you look at the chemical refinement process, stevia is no more natural than Aspartame, Splenda, NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet N Low, etc. Everybody is looking for a non-addictive, healthy sweetener. But beware of any sugar-free sweetener that gives you the illusion of a “free ride”, because you may just be deepening your addiction.

Grow Your Own Stevia!

The best stevia is the kind you can grow yourself. When it’s alive you know it’s REAL! Stevia plants grow beautifully in a pot, a garden, a window box, or on your kitchen window sill. Just pull off a leaf when you need to sweeten something. This way you can be sure it’s organic, and the soil is healthy.

What is Stevia Really? How can I Know if it is Pure?

Stevia, or “stevia rebaudiana” is a plant that originates in Brazil with naturally sweet leaves. The leaves can be dried and powdered into a pure sweetener about 40 times sweeter than sugar. These raw, unprocessed stevia leaves have a strong aftertaste akin to licorice, and taste artificial. Pure unprocessed stevia leaves and green powder are not widely available due to their strong aftertaste. If you live in Santa Fe like I do, buy them bulk at the Coop on Alameda near the almond butter grinder.

In grocery stores, we find an entire shelf of “stevia” in the form of processed liquid drops and white powders – all highly refined chemical extractions from the leaves, in the hopes of reducing the aftertaste. The resulting processed sweeteners are called myriad confusing names such as stevia, stevia extract, pure stevia, Rebaudioside A, Reb A, steviol glycosides, etc, and are anywhere from 2X to 350X sweeter than sugar, depending on the blend with other fillers. As a high-intensity sweetener, a little goes a long way, therefore it is often pre-measured in packets or mixed with other fillers such as GMO Maltodextrin, GMO corn Erythritol, inulin fiber, or even cane sugar. Processing is done with a variety of chemicals, such as, methanol, arsenic, ethanol, acetone, and others.

The resulting artificial sweetener called “Stevia” is toxic and unhealthy.

Don’t be fooled by the name, that seemingly innocent stevia we find in grocery stores is a chemical concoction just like Splenda and Aspartame. In fact, it’s highly probable that you’re buying a blend that’s 99.8% Erythritol, a fermented sweetener made from genetically modified corn, with a pinch of refined stevioside powder. Your “Stevia” can be processed, mixed with chemicals, blended in a hundred ways, and still legally be called simply “stevia”. Refined stevioside is sold under countless brand names such as Sun Crystals, SweetLeaf, Truvia, PureVia, Stevia in the Raw, Pyure, and NuStevia to name a few.

Commercial Stevia is bad news.

Stay away from it. That includes Stevioside and Rebaudioside and all the names. All “stevia” in grocery stores is processed with toxic chemicals. If you’re still going for the story that stevia is natural and comes from Peru, know that 85% of all stevia comes from China. Even the world’s top stevia marketer, international sugar giant Cargill, top food manufacturer in the world with over $102.7 billion in 2016 sales, manufacturer of Truvia and PureVia with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, has all of its stevia produced in China. It’s a small world when you control the sweeteners every body is addicted to.

Take-Home Message:

If you truly want to be free of sugar addiction, then processed stevia and other artificial sweeteners won’t help you. It’s better to skip all forms of Stevia, Truvia, and the blends listed below. The best solution is to use small doses of sugar-free sweeteners, to slowly detox your system from regular sugars.

(Most people don’t want too much information. However if YOU are one of those folks that desire the whole truth, read on. To learn how Stevia leaves are processed into a toxic sweetener, it required a bit of digging. As usual, the devil is in the details. To learn the whole Stevia story, continue reading…)

How is Stevia Processed?

Processed stevia is made with a dangerous chemical refining process hidden from the public and deceptively marketed as “natural”. Manufacturers run into the problem that stevia leaves are extraordinarily resilient. The stevia cell walls are so tough that they resist the usual methods of boiling or centrifuging. Producers aim to to extract the active sweet compound, stevioside, and remove the funny aftertaste. In order to concentrate stevia to 300X concentration, toxic chemicals and artificial chemical enzymes are used, such as methanol, kerosene, alcohol, chlorine, ash, acids, titanium dioxide, arsenic, preservatives, chemical stabilizers, and emulsifiers.

The world’s largest producers of stevia hold patents for undisclosed, proprietary extraction methods. These patents belong to industry giants such as Coca Cola, PureCircle in Malaysia and USA, Cargill – maker of Truvia and PureVia, JustBio – A Canadian Biotech firm, McNeil Nuritionals LLC- maker of Splenda, and Chengdu Waggott Pharmaceutical Company in Sichuan China. That’s quite a line-up! Here are 5 common stevia extraction methods I located in public patent records. They all indicate the use of toxic chemicals, which are difficult or impossible to remove.

  1. One of the more popular methods of producing stevia extract was developed by D. Payzant, U.S. Pat. No. 5,962,678. In summary, sweet stevia glycosides are extracted using methanol, a toxic, colorless, volatile flammable liquid alcohol. This method has been used for decades. The major drawback is that a toxic solvent like methanol is difficult to remove. Trace amounts are harmful to health and not ideal for human consumption.
  2. Another common production method comes from Uenishi Hideaki, Japan Patent 54030199. To extract the sweetness and discard a bitter aftertaste, this method also requires the use of various toxic solvents. The removal of solvents requires energy and time, which are not considered cost-effective.
  3. A third production method developed by R. H. Dobberstein, U.S. Pat. No. 4,361,697, uses several toxic solvents including methanol in a complex multi-step process. The major drawback is still the presence of toxic solvents, and their complete removal is not possible and not considered commercially viable.
  4. Sato Toru, Japan Patent JP57005663 uses a new and improved process to extract sweetness from stevia hydrated in water containing alcohol, with the addition of calcium, iron, or aluminum. These compounds are then removed, passed through an acid-ication exchange resin using toxic solvents such as ethanol, acetone, etc. The major drawbacks here are the removal of water from aqueous extract, and removal of toxic solvents, which is not economical.
  5. US. Pat. No. 4,599,403 by Sampath Kumar uses an improved method that is said to be less dependent on toxic chemicals. The major drawbacks are that the aqueous extract is treated first with an acid and then with base and then treated with toxic solvents like n-butanol, which lower the final yield and must ultimately be removed. Again, removal of solvents is not commercially viable, therefore most stevioside products generally contain these toxins.

What’s Really in Your Stevia Bottle?

Well, you can start with the knowledge that there’s almost NO pure stevia out there, except for that rare green powder with a funny aftertaste. (I don’t mind the aftertaste, but many people don’t care for it.) If you want to know what’s really in your stevia, you can try reading the label. However that’s a problem since labels don’t have to disclose all ingredients. Your next hint is serving size. A low serving size of one gram or less is a good indication that the manufacturer is taking full advantage of the legal loophole, and omitting certain chemicals or ingredients. Here’s the loophole: By law, any item under 0.5 grams per serving is not required to be disclosed. So there’s no way you can know for sure what’s really in there. If your Stevia is any of the popular products below, I’ve done some of your homework for you, by reading the labels. However what’s undisclosed we’ll never know.

Popular Stevia Products and their Surprising Ingredients!

1 Better Stevia liquid This is a NOW Foods blend of refined Stevioside with Vegetable Glycerin, a non-glycemic fermented sweetener. 1 tsp liquid = 1 cup sugar sweetness. See Stevia Glycerite.
2 Better Stevia packets NOW Foods makes this product of powdered refined stevioside blended with Non-GMO Rice Maltodextrin.
3 Generic Stevioside Drops See Stevioside Liquid Extract. Generic refined stevioside drops are sold in every grocery chain under their private label, such as Trader Joe’s, Kroger’s, Safeway, Albertson’s, and many other store labels.
3 Generic Stevioside Powder See Stevioside Powder, refined. Refined stevioside powders are sold in grocery chains under their private label, such as Trader Joe’s, Kroger’s, Safeway, Albertson’s, and many other store labels.
4 Generic Stevioside, Industrial See Stevioside Powder, refined. This is a generic powder made of refined stevioside, that is sold on the industrial level as a food additive for the food industry. It is used in a wide variety of food products, such as Good Earth Teas, Celestial Seasonings Tea, Energy Drinks, Sodas, Chocolates, Ice Creams, and Energy Bars. It often contains toxic chemicals, however the amounts are usually under the 0.5 grams per serving, therefore disclosure is not required.
5 Green Leaf Stevia This is a proprietary blend by Swanson made of refined Stevioside powder and high-glycemic non-GMO rice Maltodextrin.
6 Green Stevia Powder This is the pure stuff, and the only healthy stevia. Pure dried stevia leaf is available in a fine green powder that is 30 – 40 times sweeter than sugar. It is raw, and has a peculiar aftertaste. 
7 NuNaturals MoreFiber Stevia Baking Blend This is a sugar substitute blend of high glycemic GMO Corn Maltodextrin with refined stevioside. Prepare for a spike in your blood sugar.
8 NuStevia This sugar substitute blends high glycemic GMO Corn Maltodextrin with refined stevioside. Another blood-sugar spike here.
9 PureVia™ Made by Cargill, this sweetener blends genetically modified corn Erythritol with refined Stevioside or Rebaudioside. The Stevia is extracted by proprietary methods we can’t know. There’s nothing natural here.
10 Pyure Organic Stevia A sweetener made from refined stevioside sold in sachets or liquid. It contains agave inulin, refined Stevioside extract, and other unknown ingredients.
11 Rebiana Rebiana is a zero-calorie sweetener produced by proprietary methods by extracting sweetness from the stevia leaf with chemicals and heat, and refining into a high intensity powder that is 200 – 300 times as sweet as sugar. See Stevioside.
12 Rebaudioside Refined Rebaudioside is made from the stevia leaf, where its sweetness is isolated and concentrated using heat and chemicals into a powder about 300X sweeter than table sugar, with somewhat reduced aftertaste. It can be purchased as a white powder or liquid drops. China is the world’s primary producer of rebaudioside. Nothing natural here.
13 Slimstevia A Chinese sweetener similar to Truvia made from genetically modified corn Erythritol with refined Stevioside and/or Rebaudioside. Not natural.
14 Slimtevia This high-intensity sweetener is 3 times sweeter than sugar. It is said to contain high-sugar Fructose, Inulin fiber, FOS (Fructo-oligosaccharides), stevia, and Magnesium Carbonate. This won’t help anyone end the sugar habit.
15 Stevia by Xymogen A sweeter blend of high-glycemic Maltodextrin and refined Stevioside Extract (Rebiana). Prepare for a blood sugar jolt.
16 Stevia dried leaf This is the pure stuff. Unrefined, dried leaves of the South American plant Stevia Rebaudiana are 30–45 times as sweet as table sugar. You can keep this as a potted plant, in bulk dried leaves, or as a green powder. This is a 100% safe sweetener, truly natural (and Paleo). However many people find it has a strong aftertaste. Find it as leaf particles or green powder in food coops and online.
17 Stevia in the raw™ This is a high-glycemic combination of GMO corn Maltodextrin or Dextrose plus refined stevioside. It’s an attractive name, but neither natural nor healthy. Prepare for blood sugar blues.
18 Stevia FOS Blend This is a brand of refined stevioside powder blended with Inulin Fructo-oligosaccharides. It is a zero-calorie, zero carb, sweetener.
19 Stevia Glycerate Proprietary liquid drops produced by NOW Foods, made from refined stevioside and non-glycemic Vegetable Glycerin, a fermented liquid sweetener from oils. 1 tsp Stevia Glycerate = 1 cup sugar sweetness.
20 Steviacane™ This is a blend of refined stevioside with high-glycemic cane sugar by Imperial Sugar Company. Expect a blood sugar jolt here.
21 SteviaClear Drops This is refined stevioside powder in a liquid alcohol solution. The drops are 250 – 300 times as sweet as sugar. Nothing natural here. I suggest first having it tested for methanol and other toxins.
22 Stevioside Liquid Extract These stevioside drops are made from stevia leaves that are refined using methanol and then dissolved in a liquid alcohol solution. There are many sources for stevioside drops, and countless private labels. Most refined Stevioside drops are mixed with other ingredients. The pure stevioside drops are 250 – 300 times as sweet as sugar.
23 Stevioside Powder, refined Refined Stevioside and Rebaudioside are made from the stevia leaf. Its sweetness is isolated and concentrated using heat and chemicals into a powder c. 300 times sweeter than sugar, with reduced aftertaste. China is the world’s primary producer of stevioside. Refined Stevioside and Rebaudioside are often sold in proprietary blends with cane sugar, artificial sweeteners, or other chemicals and rebranded under the generic name of ”Stevia”.
24 Stevita Spoonables A blend of Erythritol and refined Stevioside. Don’t know if it is GMO or NON-GMO corn Erythritol.
25 Steviva Blend A blend of high quality Non-GMO Erythritol with refined Stevioside powder. Steviva Blend is twice as sweet as sugar. There’s nothing natural here.
26 Sun Crystals® A blend of cane sugar mixed with refined stevioside. Prepare for sugar shock.
27 Sweet Serum A low-carb, low-glycemic liquid sweetener that contains organic raw agave inulin, Yacon root and Stevioside. Sweet Serum has a concentrated sweet honey taste. 1 teaspoon Sweet Serum is equal in sweetness to about 5 teaspoons sugar. Nothing natural here.
28 Sweet Simplicity® A Sugar Substitute made from genetically modified corn Erythritol, Fructose sugars and Natural Flavors by Whole Earth Sweetener Company, the makers of PureVia. Prepare for insulin shock.
29 Sweet’nVit stevia A high intensity sweetener developed by the European firm Vitiva containing refined Stevioside, genetically modified Corn Erythritol and Maltitol, a fermented sweetener.
30 SweetLeaf Stevia Shaker A blend of refined stevioside powder and inulin. Nothing natural here.
31 Truvia™ A blend of GMO corn Erythritol, refined Rebaudioside, and other ingredients by Cargill.
32 ZSweet® A sweetener that can be used cup for cup like sugar, made from Non-GMO Erythritol and highly refined Stevioside or Rebaudioside.


Stevia was once a simple plant used by the Guarani Indians in South America for healing. But our world-wide craving for sweetness, along with modern food processing methods have changed all that. Now stevia is refined with toxic chemicals in private proprietary procedures deeply linked to the largest international corporations and the sugar industry. Most of our stevia is produced in China, and then marketed as our most beloved natural sweetener. If you still believe your stevia to be healthy, check out the links below for a journey of deception and international intrigue that will make your hair stand up on end.