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 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. Though prior to the early 1900s Stevia was a plant harvested in the wild it soon thereafter was being grown in abundance on plantations. 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. 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 Reb. A) to be used as a sweetener. NOW Foods Stevia gained Self Affirmed GRAS status in 2010 and is now sold as a sweetener.
How is NOW's Stevia produced?
NOW's stevia extract is produced utilizing a unique process which involves extracting 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. The following are not used and not allowed: pesticides, fumigants, irradiation, other solvents, sulfur dioxide. There are no carriers or flow agents added to the extract other than what we claim on the label. The resulting extract contains no less than 80% Glucosylsteviosides as measured by HPLC testing.
The Stevia Glycerite liquid is now much thicker than it was. Why?
We have increased the percentage of Glycerine to help maintain the freshness of the product. Glycerine acts as a natural preservative, as well as having a nice sweet taste, but is low on the glycemic index listing (which shows how much certain foods affect blood sugar).
Should I be concerned that my Stevia Liquid Extract has become cloudy?
Stevia should not be cloudy and it is very rare for this to occur. This usually will occur due to some kind contamination:
1. Introduction of another interacting substance
2. Bacterial growth due to alcohol evaporation.
Please discard the product.