Friday, April 23, 2010
A Sweet Story...!
The other day I was in Home Depot, looking at the plants. You know how it goes this time of the year, right?
While checking out the herbs and such, I was surprised to find some Stevia bedding plants. Now, it's not normal to find this at the local nursery, as it is primarily considered a "health additive" plant.
If you know anything about this plant, you know just how it can be used as a healthy alternative sweetener, as it is nearly 400 times sweeter than sugar!
The story of this marvelous plant is the same as many other plants "discovered" by modern researchers in the rain forest...even though the plant has been in use by the native people for centuries!
Here is a brief history for you.
Modern scientific interest in the Stevia plant dates to the early 1900’s. It was "discovered" by Spanish Conquistadors in South America in the sixteenth century. They learned about it from the local Guarani and Mato Grosso Indians who used its leaves to sweeten their medicines and teas. They called the plant CAA-HEE (Honey Leaf).
The early European settlers the used leaves to sweeten their teas, foods and drinks. They called it Yerba Dulce (Sweet Herb). Later the Gauchos of the region used Stevia leaves to sweeten their Mate tea.
In 1899 Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni was first botanically described by the botanist M.S. Bertoni. In 1908 Rasenack reported the presence of various sweeteners in Stevia and in 1931 Briedel and Lavieille began to crystallize Stevioside.
Around 1970 Japan began to prohibit the use of artificial sweeteners, a move that intensified the already ongoing Japanese studies of Stevioside for commercial production and use. By 1977 the Maruzen Kasei Co., Ltd. started extracting Stevioside on a commercial basis in Japan.
Stevioside has been approved and widely used in Japan for over 20 years. It is also approved and used in Brazil, Paraguay, Brazil, Korea, Israel, Thailand, and China among others. It is used in modern industrial countries as a table top sweetener, in soft drinks, baked goods, pickles, fruit juices, tobacco products, confectionery uses, jams and jellies, candies, yogurts, pastries, chewing gum, sherbets, etc.
Here in the USA in 1990 Purdue University's Dental Science Research Group had done three studies on Stevioside. The first regarding Stevioside’s compatibility with fluoride, the second with respect to Stevioside properties to inhibit plaque growth, and a third concerning Stevioside relating to reduction in cavities.
Stevioside has gained special interest to diabetics, persons with hyperglycemia and the diet conscious. Stevia had been safely used in this country for decades years, but in the 1980’s, after artificial sweeteners were approved for use the trouble began. In the late 1980’s the FDA banned it finally allowing it to be sold as a Dietary supplement in the 1991.
Well,here ya go! Another case of a natural plant that can serve us both as a food supplement and health aid being kept from us by the FDA and other agencies in order to "protect" us! I am so tired of the folks in charge completely ignoring the positive uses of natural medicines...simply because they are either being pressured by the companies that feel threatened by competition, or just plain bought off!
Another intrusion into the lives and affairs of the average folks...in order to "protect" them! Kinda gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, doesn't it?
I seriously think that the PTB are more and more are managing to push all the right buttons, in spite of themselves! Nearly everyone I talk to lately has just about had enough. EVERYONE...!!
If you are interested in learning more about this plant, check out this site right here that has way more about it than I could put here in this post!
Now, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit! And before you ask, YES, I do use it in my coffee!