Stevia is a small perennial plant native to Central and South America with a long and storied history. The spanish conquistadors are credited with Stevia's initial discovery during their sixteenth century exploration of Central America. They reported that the natives used the leaves of this herb to counteract the bitter taste of a popular community drink, mate, and also used it as an herbal remedy for various ailments.
Antonio Bertoni, a South American scientist, is credited with the modern discovery of Stevia in 1887, when he first observed Indians of the Guarani tribe of Paraguay use it to flavor bitter tribal beverages. Bertoni erroneously classified Stevia as a member of the daisy family, but it was later re-assigned to the chrysanthemum family in 1905. Twenty-five years later, two French chemists conducting research on Stevia isolated the chemical constituent responsible for Stevia's flavorful properties and named it stevioside.
Today, Stevia is cultivated in over a dozen countries worldwide. It is a major export product and is widely used in countries such as China, Brazil, Northa nd South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Paraguay and Malaysia. Stevia has also been grown successfully in California, southern Ontario, Canada and even southern England. Although there are several different species of Stevia, the most potent and effective seems to be Stevia rebaudiana, and this species is used in most dietary supplements on the market today.
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Stevia packets are:
Suggested Use: As a dietary supplement, add one packet to your coffee, tea, or sprinkle on foods.
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