Stevia FAQs

March 29, 2016

What is Stevia ?

Stevia is an herb indigenous to Paraguay and Brazil that grows 2 to 3 feet tall and resembles mint in appearance. The Guarani Indians of South America used this green "sweet herb" they called kaa he-he for centuries before a European botanist named M.S. Bertoni first learned of it from native guides while exploring Paraguay in 1887. Bertoni gave it its Latin binomial – Stevia rebaudiana.

As far as herbs go, stevia is exceptionally sweet, and pure extracts of the plant can be up to 300 times sweeter than table sugar. Even eaten raw, stevia leaves have a noticeable, refreshing sweetness.

Stevia has been used in the United States as a dietary supplement since 1994, but in December 2008 the FDA approved certain types of stevia for use as a sweetener, granting it GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status. NOW® stevia gained self-affirmed GRAS status in 2010 and is now sold as a zero-calorie, non-bitter, natural sweetener under the brand name BetterStevia®.

How is NOW's stevia produced?

NOW's stevia extract is produced utilizing a proprietary extraction process that uses only water and organic alcohol. The resulting extract is then prepared with a vegetarian-source enzyme (glucosyl transferase) to reduce the licorice-like and metallic aftertaste common in regular stevia extracts. NOW’s stevia is USDA certified organic.

We test our stevia extract to ensure the absence of contaminants, including:

  • GMOs
  • Pesticides
  • Fumigants
  • Irradiated ingredients
  • Solvents
  • Sulfur dioxide

Is NOW’s stevia natural?

NOW’s stevia is derived directly from the natural stevia plant and is organically grown and sustainably harvested and processed. The resulting product is USDA certified organic and non-GMO.