Overview

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a bushy shrub that is native to northeast Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. It is now grown in other parts of the world, including Canada and part of Asia and Europe. It is probably best known as a source of natural sweeteners.

Some people take stevia by mouth for conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heartburn, and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Extracts from the stevia leaves are available as sweeteners in many countries. In the US, stevia leaves and extracts are not approved for use as sweeteners, but they can be used as a "dietary supplement" or in skin care products. In December 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status to rebaudioside A, one of the chemicals in stevia, to be used as a food additive sweetener.

How does it work ?

Stevia is a plant that contains natural sweeteners that are used in foods. Researchers have also evaluated the effect of chemicals in stevia on blood pressure and blood sugar levels. However, research results have been mixed.

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