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Stevia the Sweetener Herb
by Monica Resinger
While shopping for vegetable garden plants at our local home store last
night, I was elated to find the sweetener herb Stevia! After we got home, I
a leaf, took a nibble and was shocked at how sweet it really was. In an effort
to learn a little more about this plant, I did a web search and will share
with you what I learned.
Stevia Rebaudiana is a small perennial shrub which belongs to the
Chrysanthemum family. This plant is the only known species that has the ability
Stevia in its natural herb form is 10 to 15 times sweeter than granulated
sugar. Here are some wonderful benefits of using Stevia:
~It's diabetic safe
~It's calorie free
~It does not adversely affect blood sugar
~It is non toxic
~Inhibits the formation of cavities and plaque
~It can be used for cooking
It's best to start with plants because it is difficult to grow from seed.
Young Stevia plants are sensitive to low temperatures, so don't plant it out
until danger of frost is gone and soil temperature is in the 50's or 60's. They
should be planted 18 inches apart. They grow to about 30 inches tall and 18
inches wide. It likes a rich soil and its feeder roots are near the soil
so adding a mulch of compost is a good idea. Stevia roots are sensitive to
excessive moisture, so be sure the soil drains easily. It is a perennial, but
plant is sensitive to frost, so don't leave it outside through the fall and
winter months if your area gets frosts.
©, 2000, Monica Resinger
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