What is stevia plant?
Table of Contents
Stevia plant is a natural sweetener produced from the sweet leaves of stevia. Peoples had used Stevia in the past as a natural sweetener in South America. They used it in many dishes, tea, and other things. Later, it used in other parts of the world from the 17th century. Stevia plant’s extracts or powder or leaves are highly useful for diabetes patients. This high potency sweetener is over 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar according to SK Goyal and RK Goyal research. It is known as the different name in different regions. In India, it is said to be mithipatti or mithi tulsi. Many well-known companies use it as a food additive. It is a zero calorie food additive.
Value to world sweetener industries
With over 400 million diabetic people in the world, shifting to Stevia plant as a natural replacement for sugar makes the world free from diabetes. Diabetes is the origin of many other health issues. The person who has diabetes has a weaker immune system which results in our body infected by other diseases. So, Stevia may make world diabetes free.
Multinational companies approach:
Many multinational companies are investing in Stevia plant as it will be a future of the sweetener industry because many of consumer in future will migrate from other sugar variants to stevia and its derivatives. One of the most significant advantages of stevia is that consumer need not change its taste and its sweeter than sugars available in the market. Due to its no sugar content, many multinational companies and other stakeholders will significantly be benefitted from it because now more peoples (diabetes peoples) consume it. For several diabetes’ patients, it acts as a Vardhan. By using it, India (something calls which diabetes capital of the world) get rid of this problem. It positively impacts your central nervous system. Stevia has no side effects as other sugar forms may increase weight.
Boost to country export:
It requires the governmental agencies of a different world; they can make any policy or invest in research on stevia. So we can better understand its benefits and knows more about it how it can cure various health issues. It can be only possible if the government shows a proper commitment to eradicate diabetes. We need to study for stevia use in many local dishes of different countries. After extensive research, it may open a new field for farmers in the world where they can get livelihood because we can grow it anywhere by applying some suitable measure. Today, China is the biggest exporter of various derivatives of stevia. But China image has been going onto worse due to multiple issues in world politics like the south china sea.
What is way ahead??
Hence, many countries should not prefer to trade with China which gives an opportunity for other countries to produce it and export it.
Stevia plant growth:
pH value of soil should be Between 6.5 to 7.5, well the drained red soil and sandy loam soil needed for its proper growth. There are some Indian states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerela, MP, and Odisha which cultivates Stevia plant. Many of the world agriculture lands support the production of stevia. Hence, its output will give new hope to farmers who are already suffering from adverse climate condition and water scarcity problem. (as it consumes less water than many of other sugar alternatives).
History of stevia plant use:
South American peoples have used the plant for 1500 years as a sweet herb. Stevia name derived from Spanish botanist Peter Jacobs stars who first find its medicinal value. Today, Every country in the world has different law for stevia administration. Some states banned it, some counties recognized it entirely, or some countries identified only some of its derivatives. Stevia has a property which makes it different from other alternative is that it is heat stable and pH stable. It means on boiling its property remains as it is. The USA banned the use of stevia in the early 1980s (1). But in 2008, the USA approved specific glycoside extract derivatives for use as a food additive. In India, the government has fully supported it in any food items.
High-purity steviol glycosides preparation:
Its leaves contain 95% or more steviol glycoside. Major regulatory agencies including WHO approve only high quantity stevia extracts meeting above specification. Someone can make its extract either in water or alcohol. Sometimes we add preservatives in its extract prepared with water. From dry stevia leaves its water extract is ready which concentrates for making concentrated glycosides. After all the above process, its liquid is converted into solid extract by spray drying process by using extraction machines. But in this extract, some small leafy particles remain as it is, filtration removes which. Still, some dissolved residual minerals stay in it. Ion exchange treatment which concentrates for making concentrated glycosides. After all the above process, we convert its liquid into solid extract by the spray drying process.
Anti hyperglycemia effect of stevia plant:
It’s scientifically proved on rats that stevia plant improves the insulin production in the body. Studies show it increases not only insulin secretion but also helps utilize insulin deficit rats. Several trials show that stevia consumption increases sugar tolerance in human. By increasing insulin production. Ultimately, it cures diabetes.
It has high antibacterial property. Its ethanolic extract shows the highest antibacterial activity in all the organism. According to scientific study, it has a significant impact on bacteria like E. Coli and other bacteria. Many of the other medicinal plants have antibacterial properties like wheatgrass, Abroma Augusta, yarrow, etc.
We can use it as an antioxidant agent. Hence it could be beneficial in a variety of diseases like cancer, reproductive problems, and developmental defects.
Stevia for weight loss:
A study conducted on rats for seeing its benefits for weight loss by continuously giving stevia plant’s liquid extracts. It successfully reduced the weight of testis, gluteal, intramuscular seminal vesicle, and cauda epididymides. By consulting with various doctors of traditional medicines, they say they are also using stevia for weight loss because it has zero calories sugar which makes it perfect for that person who wants to take less calorie food. It is safe in pregnancy and may help the mother avoid unnecessary weight gain at the time of pregnancy.
Reduce blood pressure and hypertension:
There is also evidence that stevia helps in lowering blood pressure and hypertension (2) Hence, many traditional doctors prescribe to use it. But we need to use it under medical expert guidance because it may lower blood pressure more than what healthier body needs.
ANTI -CANCER EFFECT:
There are various isolates available in it which cures cancer cells. Also, it is said to have antioxidant properties. One of the significant studies made by Raskovic et al., 2004 and Yaskawa, 2002. In his research, he could prove that stevia has anti-cancer elements. Hence, it has an anticancer effect along with Wheatgrass I discussed in my previous article.
Other medicinal benefits of Stevia plant:
Stevia plant or Eupatorium rebaudianum is also rich in beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and many other phytochemicals. Hence the herbal derivative apart from its sweetening property also has nutritive value.
Stevia is zero calorie sweetener making it useful for obesity as other sugar has very fat content which makes stevia a useful sugar alternative. If we take wheatgrass, it helps in the pancreas produce more insulin content according to UK German pharmaceuticals study on several patients of diabetes.
From the above discussion, there is a significant hope that stevia will give the new life to a person who has diabetes. But we need further research on it to know more about its benefits and how it works on various problems. At present, it also gives our farmers a new crop for agriculture whose demands will increase shortly. We governments and many world health organizations need to implement diabetes policies especially focusing on the herbal method to cure it like stevia.