Stevia is a special kind of plant. It belongs to the sunflower family. In includes lots of other plants and shrubs that have become very popular in various biological researches. The plant consists of up to 240 species. It is found mostly in the subtropical and the tropical regions of the world. It grows naturally in various countries of the world; especially in the south and western part of the North America.
The plant is known by different names. Some decide to call it sugar leaf, while some other groups of people deem it fit to refer to is as sweet leaf or sweetleaf. You can also simply call it stevia. The leaves derived from the plant can be used perfectly in place of sugar. They are especially grown to be used for this purpose. If you do not have sugarcane source for making sugar and sweetener, you can always opt for the alternative provided by the stevia plant. It will help to sweeten any product for which you need a sweetener.
When the stevia plant is used as sweetener, you need to watch out for a bitter aftertaste in the product in which it is added. This is because there is one of the extracts in the plant that has a bitter taste. Aside this, the sweetening effect produced by the plant is somewhat better than what you get in the normal sugar. The sweetening duration is longer than what can ever be obtained in sugar. It is also important to mention that the sweetening effect is somewhat slower. The bitter aftertaste mentioned above is only detected if the stevia plant sweetener is used in excess.
Stevia contains a particular extract called steviol glycoside. This chemical has a stringer sweetening effect than what is obtainable in sugar. In actual fact, its sweetening effect is 300 times more than what you can ever obtain in sugar. It has attracted lots of attention in the health industry because the sweetener does not have any significant effect on the blood sugar level. This means someone with diabetes or someone who wants to prevent diabetes can use stevia as sweetener without any fear.
Anyone who needs to take carbohydrate-controlled diets can always trust in stevia. Even though stevia grows more naturally in place like south and western part of North America, the plant had found greater measure of use in Japan more than any other part of the world.