More About Stevia FAQs

April 4, 2016
Stevia Rebaudiana

What is Stevia rebaudiana?

Stevia is an herb indigenous to Paraguay and Brazil that grows 2 to 3 feet tall and resembles mint in appearance. The South American native Guarani Indians used this sweet green herb they call ka‘a he’ê 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.

Though prior to the early 1900s Stevia was a plant harvested in the wild, it was thereafter being grown in abundance on Southern plantations. Sometime between 1918 and 1921 the USDA was introduced to this wonderfully sweet herb, but because of politics and special 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. Since the 1970s Japan has approved and used Stevia extracts as a sweetener in everything from ice cream to soft drinks.

Stevia had been available for sale as a dietary supplement since 1994, but in December 2008 the FDA granted GRAS status to certain types of stevia extracts (specifically a purified extract of a single component found in stevia known as rebaudiana A, or Reb. A) to be used as a sweetener. NOW® Stevia gained self-affirmed GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status in 2010 and is now commercially sold as a sweetener.

How is NOW Stevia produced?

NOW's Stevia Extract is produced utilizing a unique process that involves extraction from stevia leaves using only water and alcohol. The resulting extract is treated with a vegetarian-source enzyme (glucosyl transferase) to reduce the licorice-like aftertaste of regular stevia extracts. Our stevia products are tested to ensure the absence of pesticides, fumigants, irradiation, other solvents, and sulfur dioxide. The resulting extract contains no less than 80% glucosylsteviosides as measured by HPLC testing.

Should I be concerned if my stevia liquid has become cloudy?

Stevia liquid should not be cloudy and it is very rare for this to occur. This usually will occur due to some kind of contamination. Please discard the product, even if it has not expired.