Importance And Benefits Of Stevia

Importance and Benefits of Stevia; is a natural plant which discovered by Paraguay people in South America. They used the stevia leaves to sweeten the food and drinking water. In 1800, stevia plant broadly used in South America. In 1900, the innovation of plant credited to Dr. Bertoni, so named as stevia rebaudiana Bertoni.

 

Importance and Benefits of Stevia; is a natural plant which discovered by Paraguay people in South America. They used the stevia leaves to sweeten the food and drinking water. In 1800, stevia plant broadly used in South America. In 1900, the innovation of plant credited to Dr. Bertoni, so named as stevia rebaudiana Bertoni.

The stevia crop  harvested for the first time in 1908. In 1970, the usage of stevia plant initiated for sweetener to food and beverages in Japan. During 1990, the importance and Benefits of Stevia spread all over the world. In 2006, the safe benefits assessed of the stevia plant by World Health Organization.

Stevia plant is also known to be honey herb, meethi tulsi candy plant, sweet herb which is related to family Asteraceae. The genus of stevia is composed of 110 species, while 18 species verified for sweetness and suitable desired character.The most beneficial part of the sweet herb is leaves which contain sweet components include stevioside and rebaudioside. The leaves of this plant are the best source of sugar, whereas 30 times sweeter than sugar.

Worldwide status of stevia:

Natural stevia is very important worldwide due to zero calories. China holds the 1st position as a producer of sweet herb. In Japan, this plant has the 47% of the sweetener market. Now, this plant is commercially cultivated in many countries include: China, Japan, India, Korea, Australia, Canada, Mexico, United States of America, UK, Belgium, Germany and Spain for the purpose of flavor enhancer, beverages and medicines.

Stevia in Pakistan

According to the report in 2011, Pakistan is the 7th diabetic population. Therefore, there is requirement of alternate of sugar; stevia is the sweet plant that has no side effect. It is also developing and marketing with the name of zero Cal tea in Pakistan.

Importance of Stevia:

The stevia has many benefits against human diseases that control the blood sugar, cholesterol level in the body and blood pressure. Furthermore, particular compounds found in stevia leaves which prevent the mouth against bacteria.

  • Due to absence of calories, it is very helpful to control the sugar level and for diabetic and obese people.
  • Improves digestion and gastrointestinal functions.
  • It is effective against skin infections like acne, dermatitis, eczema, etc.
  • Inhibits bacterial development in the mouth.
  • Used in chewing gums; tooth paste and mouths wash.
  • It has the ability of anti-inflammatory, antitumor, anti-diarrheal and anti-oxidants.
  • Stevia plant also used in herbal tea for taste; drinking tea for two times a day may help to stabilize the blood pressure level.

Recommended dose:

Suggested doze is 4mg/kg of body weight. The over doze can create problems of normal body functioning include anaphylaxis, vomiting, bloating, emotionlessness, muscle pain, and decreased hunger.

Production technology:

Pakistan has blessed with different climate conditions from 0-50⁰C, which is the appropriate for the development of stevia. The most suitable temperature is from 15-37⁰C throughout active growth. Sandy loam soil with PH of 5.5-7.5 is the best for the growth of plant.

Production through Nursery:

Suitable time from February to March is good for nursery rising through seed. Development of seed takes place within 10-15 days.

Fertilizers:

For the fruitful growth of the stevia crop FYM 10- 15 ton/acre is enough at the time of field preparation. N: P: K with a ratio of 28: 14: 18 kg/acre must be use. A well-rotten FYM 10-15 ton/acre at the time of field preparation is sufficient to grow a fruitful crop.

Recommended varieties:

The high yielding varieties are SBR-123, SBR512 and SBR-128. These can be harvest 3-4 times in a year.

Production of Stevia:

The average yield from stevia crop is 12-15 tone/acre per year. The whole plant is dried after harvesting while leaves are separated. The dried leaves are in powdered form and stored in plastic bags. This powder can be used for extract.

Stevia must be grown in Pakistani areas like Swat, Hunza, Chilas, Malakand, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Agrarian specialists have successfully cultivated stevia plant for sugar in 12 districts of Punjab, but still problem is

  • Lack of awareness about importance and benefits of Stevia
  • Less trust on its production
Authors: Hafiz Amir Tauqeer Baig1, Umair Shoukat1 
1Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad
Hafiz Amir Tauqeer Baig

Hafiz Amir Tauqeer Baig

I have outstanding planing and creative thinking ability. Aiming to utilize my knowledge and experience for the betterment of humanity.

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