A Naturally Sweet Alternative
With so much of the world reliant on sugar, or cane syrup, many have turned to artificial chemical sweeteners as an alternative to this. However, these have been shown to have potentially negative effects on health, leading to cancer in some laboratory animals. One natural alternative that has been found is the stevia plant. Stevia tea is made with this natural sweetener, which grows abundantly in Paraguay and other regions in South America. The leaves contain a special compound that is estimated to be about 30 times sweeter than cane sugar, meaning that you need far less of it to achieve the same results.
Some other names for stevia include the "sweet herb" or "honeyleaf." To make stevia tea, you can crush the leaves, and then steep them in hot water. This can then be added to other beverages, to sweeten them naturally without the need to add any sugar or artificial sweeteners. However, stevia has other nutritional benefits besides just being tasty. The leaves are rich in a variety of different minerals, including zinc, potassium, calcium, and carbohydrates. They also contain certain vitamins, such as A and C, for a complete nutritional package.
Stevia tea is only one way to enjoy the nutritional benefits of stevia in an easy to use format. It is also possible to purchase the fresh leaves, dried leaves, powdered extracts, or liquid concentrates. Powdered extracts are usually found in small sugar packets, so that you can use these as you would any other sweetener. However, if you have never tried stevia before, you might want to look for tea bags that contain this potent herb, so that you become more familiar with the unique flavor that is contained inside. It can be added to hot or iced teas, coffee, and other beverages for the best results.
Some other health benefits that have been associated with stevia tea include the ability to lower blood sugar in diabetics, improve oral hygiene and health, and aiding digestion. This may cut down on bloating and fatigue or headaches that are associated with the use of sugar and other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. Thus far, no side effects have been associated with stevia, but it is still in the process of being researched by scientists. Although no indications have been found that it is unsafe for pregnant women, it's best to ask your doctor before you use it as a sugar substitute, as you would with any herbal supplement.