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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 picked 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 to sweeten.
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

Growing it:
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 in20the 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 
surface, 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 the 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

Monica is the founder Homemaker's Journal E-publications, the growing home of 
many fun and informative home and garden e-books, tip sheets, articles and 
Get a FREE Slowcooker Recipe E-book when you subscribe to Monica's FREE e-zine 
for homemakers!  To subscribe and receive instructions for picking up your FREE 
e-book, just send a blank e-mail to:  [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Feel free to publish this article as long as the above bylines & this note are 
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