Stevia, also known as sweetleaf or sugarleaf for its sweet flavor, is a member of the sunflower family and native to South and Central America.
Stevia is one of a family of plants that are native to South America and have been used for centuries to sweeten drinks and foods. Stevia leaves are said to be from 30 to 300 times sweeter than sugar * though the amount of sweetness varies from leaf to leaf and plant to plant. It is touted as a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners. To date, chemical analysis and studies show that the leaf adds no calories, has no harmful side effects and is more palatable with less aftertaste than any artificial, chemical sweetener to date. Stevia has been in wide use in South America for centuries, and in Japan since the government banned the use of artificial sweeteners. To date, no harmful side effects have come to light, making stevia one of the most promising sugar alternatives available. Stevoside, made from stevia, is approved as a food additive in Korea, and is widely available throughout China, Taiwan and Malaysia.
Stevia leaves are one of the sweetest substances known in nature, with a sweetness rating of up to 300 times the sweetening power of sugar. They have been called a "super-sweetener", and are the source of stevioside, a widely available tabletop sweetener in many Asian countries. With no calories and very little bitter aftertaste, stevia is an excellent alternative sweetener to sugar for teas and other recipes that call for sugar.
Please Note: Most commercial Stevia which is a white crystalline color is actually the dried powdered extract of Stevia and is not the whole leaf. The material offered by Smile Herb is whole leaf material.