What is Stevia ?
Stevia is an herb indigenous to Paraguay and Brazil that grows 2--3 feet tall and resembles mint in appearance . The South American native Guarani Indians used this green "sweet herb" they called "kaa he-he" for centuries before a European botanist named M.S. Bertoni first learned of this unique plant from the native guides while exploring Paraguay in 1887. Bertoni gave it its Latin name – Stevia Rebaudiana. Though prior to the early 1900s Stevia was a plant harvested in the wild it soon thereafter was being grown in abundance on plantations in many locations all over the world. Much of the Stevia grown today is cultivated in China. NOW’s Stevia is grown in organic certified fields in the plains of central eastern China. The cultivation fields are certified organic by a German agency.
Sometime between 1918 and 1921 the USDA was introduced to this wonderfully sweet herb but because of political and other interests Stevia was not accepted as a natural sweetener. The compounds in Stevia that give the herb its sweet taste, called Steviosides, were isolated by French scientists in 1931.
Stevia has been used in the U.S. as a dietary supplement since 1994, but in December 2008 the FDA granted GRAS status to certain types of Stevia extracts (specifically Reb.A) to be used as a sweetener. NOW Stevia gained Self Affirmed GRAS status in 2010 and is now sold as a sweetener (BetterStevia®).
How is NOW's Stevia produced?
NOW's Stevia extract is produced utilizing a patented process which involves extraction from the natural plant Stevia leaves using only water and alcohol. The resulting extract is then prepared with a vegetarian-source enzyme (glucosyl transferase) to reduce the licorice-like and metallic aftertaste of regular stevia extracts. NOW’s Stevia is USDA Certified Organic. The following are not used and not allowed: pesticides, fumigants, irradiation, other solvents, and sulfur dioxide.
Is NOW’s Stevia natural?
NOW’s Stevia is derived directly from the natural Stevia plant. It is processed by extraction and then enzymatically prepared. See what natural means to us and why we consider our BetterStevia® to be natural.
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