Stevia is a small herbaceous shrub that usually does not exceed 80 cm high, evergreen, and the family of chrysanthemums. Her name is Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni, in honor of the two scientists (Rebaudí and Bertoni) who studied and ranked first.
It originates from the Amambay mountain range, between Paraguay and Brazil, where it grows spontaneously, and has been consumed by the Guaraní Indians for centuries, long before the arrival of the Spaniards to America. Stevia comes from the same area as yerba mate, which is South American tea, so it is not strange that it has been used since time immemorial to sweeten mate, and therefore it can be said that stevia is the oldest natural sweetener that Is known.
The stevia leaf is the sweetest part of the plant and where its therapeutic properties reside. The stevia flowers are small and white, and not too showy. The seeds of this plant are very light achenes that are scattered by the wind and have a rather limited germination capacity.
Below is a flowchart of the process of obtaining the primary extracts of Stevia called Steviol Glycosides.
From the steviol glycosides stevia of different qualities is obtained. The two grades of stevia that are used as a sweetener in the food industry are: rebaudioside A and steviosides.
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Steviosides are the compounds of Stevia that have greater residual bitter taste and metal. Its sweetening power is up to 200 times more than sugar.