GROW: The Book
@silvertipgrizz - just because a person assumes something to be easy, does Not by any stretch mean it even is that, or that you know how to get out of that plant anything that is healthy (as opposed to rotting more teeth from other sweets already eaten too much of), or that it even is Safe for you to eat it. -
The stevia plant is part of the Asteraceae family, related to the daisy and ragweed. Several stevia species called candyleaf are native to New Mexico, Arizona Texas, & even in Paraguay and Brazil. But for starters, how would you even know what seeds you have?
Just because Stevia has no calories, it is 200 x sweeter than sugar in the same concentration. Study published in an issue of the International Journal of Obesity, Dec. 13, 2016, found that after eating no-calorie sweeteners, such as stevia, test subject’s blood sugar spiked much more than when they ate real sugar. iow people Overeat, possibly because of a mismatch between the perceived sweetness and the expected calories from sugar,. People who use artificial sweeteners may suffer health problems associated with excess sugar, including metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes.
the FDA stated that stevia leaf and crude stevia extracts are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and do not have FDA approval for use in food. The question of whether stevia is safe to consume largely depends on what someone means by "stevia." The FDA has not approved stevia leaves or "crude stevia extracts" for use as food additives.
Studies on stevia in those forms raise concerns about the control of blood sugar and effects on the reproductive, cardiovascular, and renal systems, the warning goes. AND just because the FDA then allowed companies to use Rebaudioside A (an isolated chemical from stevia), as a food additive, does not mean you have the machinery to get that highly purified isolate out of the plant, like how do you know what's what?
Rebaudioside A differs from stevia in that it is a highly purified product. Products marketed as 'stevia' are whole leaf Stevia or Stevia extracts of which Rebaudioside A is a component. And further Stevia may cause low blood pressure, which would be of concern to some taking blood pressure medications. There is also continuing research going into certain chemicals naturally occurring in stevia that may cause genetic mutations and cancer.
So what does all that leave you with? -> Eat whole fruit(s)... they & veggies give you all the sugar you need for Good health.
I grow it and use it. I dry and powder it. One either loves the taste or hates it I was told by the only instructor on this herb I have ever attended a class on.
I love the taste.
Before I took her class I had read that stevia does not hit the pancreas there for does not effect blood sugar. When I use stevia, usually in tea, I feel no effects of a sugar high. None what so ever.
It is easy to grow, very easy to propagate. I do not ever use the store bought stuff because even if it was real stevia every product I have ever seen on a grocery store shelf always lists additives. And becuase I did try it before I started growing it, and to me the taste is aweful and synthetic, I grow it. That is why I use the stuff I grow.
You notice the so called establishments don't say much about what's on the shelf but focus on the natural plant. Typical.
I still have dried stevia from a few years ago and the dry leaves still taste very sweet and very good. Although I am going to have to re start from seed as I let my last plant freeze as apparently I missed the weather notice and left it out... waaa
Good night dear friend, I am beat and behind the curve as usual...tomorrow planting peppers and maters and awaiting one last order of seeds that should be here tomorrow, squash, pumpkins and the yellow citrus jalo pepper can't wait to try that one.
Hi @silvertipgrizz = Would you please post the source of "I had read that stevia does not hit the pancreas therefor does not effect blood sugar." - And also where do you get your Seeds from?
@rainbow Hi rainbow, it's been a very long time since I read about stevia and it's not hitting the pancreas but I will diligently look for all the sources I can find and post them as I find them, keeping in mind I am in the middle of seed starting and upgrades to the garden.
Please remind me to tell you how to propagate the plant.
There seems to be some mis-information regarding stevia. Some of it may have come from Wikipedia, which in many cases regarding herbal or any kind of original medicine, is just an extension of Quack Watch. Products containing stevia extract have been labelled GRAS. They are still saying that there is not enough evidence for the safety of the raw leaves. That sounds like big Pharma's influence cause they can't patent the plant itself. As to the hypotensive effects of stevia, they are considered very minimal. If you have been diagnosed with low blood pressure you should always investigate anything you are ingesting. For most people the problem is the reverse so stevia would be beneficial for them.
There are many, many clinical trials and studies listed on Google Scholar with links to highly respected publications, stating the safety and benefits of stevia.
The following is from: International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, February 2010; 61(1): 1–10 Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a biosweetener: A review
"The Japanese have performed over 40,000 clinical studies and found Stevia to be safe."
The following is from: The Third International Congress on Interdisciplinary Research and Development, 30 - 31 May 2013, Thailand
"Stevia is an excellent natural alternative for sugar replacer since it has many benefits regarding its composition. Also, it has health benefits compared to those many artificial sweeteners that now has been widely used. Furthermore, it has been stated as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) for use as a general purpose sweetener by FDA and can be applied in various foods and beverages products. With the shift of food consuming lifestyle from taste to health, using stevia in food products will give many benefits for both industry and consumers to develop the food brand."
The following is from: Sains Malaysiana 43(5)(2014): 649–654 Effect of Acute Stevia Consumption on Blood Glucose Response in Healthy Malay Young Adults
"Stevia does not raise the blood glucose when consumed in short period and is effective to be used by healthy people to control the blood glucose level even when consumed in a short length of time."
I guess it depends on who you consider an informed source as to what to believe regarding herbs. I prefer to get my information from a trained, knowledgeable herbalist rather than Wikipedia.
I a trying to grow stevia this year too. We can buy stevia seeds over here.
I am just curios how the sweetening effect is when used in homemade tea.
@Jens it sweetens the tea but I prefer the aweful table sugar in my raspberry tea as the rasps are so tart.
I procured seeds from migardener this year and am going to grow to use in whole leaf teas. I have type 2 diabetes (could be from using artificial sweetener for many years for no reason??) and i have not had any issue with my blood sugar after switching the Stevia in the store.
@silvertipgrizz I’d be interested also in how to propagate my stevia. Here in zone 7 it generally comes back after winter but sometimes it’s too cold and it doesn’t come back. So I’d like to have a back up plant or 2. I’ve noticed some asking where to get seeds, I found my plant at Home Depot and bought it on a whim. It’s a good plant for pollinators, it blooms late summer - early fall ish and the bees love the little white flowers.
I have a couple of reports coming but I do not believe the neg reports, number one because I suck on the leaves all the time in the garden as the taste to me is quite pleasant and I never feel my blood sugar spike, and I know when it spikes.
I have not used it in cooking yet, and in regular tea it sweetens enough for me to use in it but my rasp tea is tart enough for me to prefer table sugar. I'm considering combining the rasps and stevia and letting it set for awhile before adding it to my tea to see if that helps as I do not want table sugar for any purpose. I'll see this summer for my new plants.
Regarding my new plants and starting from seed. Save yourself the agony of dealing with the difficult seeds and try growing them as tranplants from where ever you choose to buy them.
After planting in the garden here is my process:
I wait til there is enough length of the stems (usually about a month after transplanting), I set a rock just heavy enough to hold the stem in place making good contact with the soil, ie, I pull some soil to the side and make sure the stem part I want to root is in contact with the soil above and below, and that part I pulled to the side put atop of the stem, this is usually about a 3 inch length. I water it well, and the parent plant and watch it. After a time, usually a month give or take, I check to see how the rooting is progressing and if it looks good I will separate from the parent and pot it up. I do check them by just tugging a very slight bit starting a week or so after I start the process to make sure I am going to have the amount of young/new plants I want to be able to transplant into pots to over winter in the house or if is still enough summer left to just plant them with the rest of the stevia or where ever I have room in the garden for them.
They will not tolerate very cool temps so I watch them close and bring them in before risking loosing them, as I did the last time I grew them.
The ones I have always bought, after trying seeds a couple of seasons without luck, are from walmart. They have always been very sweet and the label lists that they are '300 times sweeter than sugar' which is how I know it is the plant I want as that is the one touted to be the sweetest.
My seeds came from Baker Creek Seed but I haven't tried again to start from seed as the plants have been great and both easier and quicker freeing up my time for the things I start from seed to get the specific plants I want not offered in stores..
@silvertipgrizz I would also like to know how to propagate stevia, if you don't mind sharing. We are in Alaska so although I currently have seeds to start with (If spring ever gets here) I anticipate it will not be unusual to lose plants when winter decides to come early or when we get a warming spell in January for a few day before it suddenly drops to -30 or something.
Thank you for sharing.
@rainbow a couple of research results:
This is a comment from one of the links I found:
Rick Mroz, Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Answered Apr 3, 2019
Stevia is a non-carbohydrate that is structurally different form carbohydrates, It is poorly absorbed into blood and cannot bind to receptors on beta pancreatic cells (the source of insulin) so no insulin would be released. Most of the stevia ends up in urine.
This man is on lindkin if you want to look at his credentials.
This two diff chemical structures, with questions you can click on for potential answers, and many responses depending on the questions.
I'll try to find more later but I agree with torey regarding why some would be nay sayers, ie the big rx and their bottom line. Before we know it we'll prolly see them trying to patent stevia as well as the other good natural cures...
check out my post to rainbow on propagation, and why I don't mess with seeds anymore.
I posted it at 1:08 about 20 min ago. Hope it helps in some way..
@vickeym hi, I just posted it to rainbow at 1:08 around 20 min ago now at 1:25
@silvertipgrizz I hope for it to sweeten the tea. Normally I use my own honey for the tea.
@Jens If we all started searching for the 'how to's' of stevia and our preferred ways to use it, we could write a community cook book and know how to use it for our own tastes/preferences 🤩
re your assumption "regarding stevia. Some of it may have come from Wikipedia, which in many cases regarding herbal or any kind of original medicine, is just an extension of Quack Watch." = No, I don't go to either QuackWatch, or whackypedia.
I am one who has never liked Stevia, but I have never had the actual plant, just commercial preparations. It is an interesting plant I may consider for this upcoming season.
Stevia is a plant I’d love to add to my home. I’d have to bring it in when it gets cold because I’m in zone 6. I’m going to see if anyone around me sells the plant this spring. Any additional growing tips are appreciated.
@VickiP Visit your local walmart as the one's in my area always carry it. If you decide to get one, when you get it home, rinse off one good sized leaf, rinse off well,, blot dry with paper towel and then taste it. You will either love it or hate it. I love it's taste. It does not taste like green plant, but rather is quite sweet. If you like the taste of the green leaf fresh off the plant then you will prolly love it dried as it is not much diff at all dried. when you bring it in for the winter BEFORE the first frost, any frost because they will not tolerate very cool weather and until you get to know the plant don't take any chances. If you're like most people there will be mistakes and you will at some point leran the hard way how much cool weather they can tolerate, not much. I know by my own mistakes having grown it now for about 5 years off and on.
When it's dried and then powdered you can mix it with anything your imagination tells you you might want a bit sweet. Experiment and have fun. IT is a very pretty plant and very easy to grow and maintain.
@burekcrew86 When warm enough to plant out side, water well, let drain well and when well drained but still a little damp, damp enough to easily remove it from the pot without loosing excess potting soil it's planted in, place in the hole where you will plant it at pot level, cover with soil, lightly tamp down soil, place straw mulch, or other mulch of choice and always water it from below the plant so the mulch can protect the plant from the soil borne junk that plants can get.
Don't let it get too dry before watering. IT is easy to grow, and quite pretty.
When you are ready to 'add to your stevia plant population', and the branches/stems are long enough, prep spots on the soil by just pulling back enough so that you can place the number of stems you want as new plants, plus a few just in case, atop where you removed the small amount of soil, and replace the soil you moved for the stem by pacing it on top of the stem so it has it's own 'bed'. Place something only heavy enough to hold the stem in place, water and watch it take off. I check mine from time to time with a very gently pull to see if there are roots yet and if they have started to take hold. At that point, when they have, I just care for them like I do for the parent plant it is attached to. At the end of the season, or a little earlier if your young/new plants are far enough along to pot up, you can do it then. Just make sure to get them in a green house or your home or some place where the cool will not kill them, they are not very cool tolerant and they are absolutely not cold tolerant. Doing it this way you should not have to ever buy another plant again, and you could have plenty for your home/family, and more to sell or/and give as gifts.
Let us know how your plant/s do.
The best to you.
Oh, I mostly only fetrtilize pre season with manure, some sand, humus, and rarely fish emulsion as they usually grow pretty good without. I suppose I should try and see 🙄
@silvertipgrizz Thank you so much for this information. It’s definitely on my list to do this year.
@burekcrew86 I hope it made sense. If clarification needed on any part just tag me back here. You're very welcome. I think you will be very pleased with all things stevia plant/s.
Stevia grows well for me here (San Diego) and I love using it dried in my herbal blends. Just a pinch is all they need usually and it doesn’t cause a spike in my blood sugar
@Jaylene I also live in San Diego and have had no luck in growing it, it may be where I have it, do you grow it in full sun or partial shade?
I grow it in partial shade in a pot and I bought the plant from Pearson’s garden I believe. I didn’t grow it from seed.
I grow my own stevia every year. I get the stevia plant from a local farm, Well Sweep Herb Farm in Port Murray, NJ. I think this year I am growing CandyLeaf. I stick it in a pot and put it outside on the patio. Key to growing your own is putting good quality dirt into the pot. Another thing, stevia will tell you when it is time to water it. When it needs water, the leaves will start to droop. So give it some water.
When I go out each day to work in my garden, I go to my stevia plant and take off a leaf and eat it. It's usually a very pleasant experience, though one time it made me choke. I don't know why.
In the past I have harvested and dried the leaves, put them in a jar, and then forgot about them. Oops.
To sweeten my coffee, I use stevia rebaudiana, the purest one I have found anywhere, made by Purisure. There is no aftertaste.
I like the side effects of lowering blood sugar and lowering blood pressure.
I have found over the years if I take too much stevia rebaudiana, the extract, that there is a bad effect on my muscles. So I am careful not to overdo it.
I really dislike the adulterated products you can find in stores like Truvia and i think SweetLeaf and the stuff NOWFoods makes. Don't add anything to the product and call it Stevia.
Read the label.
Another thing, this year when autumn comes along, I am thinking of bringing my stevia plant inside and overwintering it indoors.
Same for my ginger plant.
And I am considering growing some beets and radishes indoors this year.
I volunteer in a community demo garden and when working & planning the herb garden I always include several stevia plants. Stevia is a favorite of our tour guides & our visitors, as well as lemon balm, rosemary, mints & chives, the guides like to demonstrate the wonderful flavors of the herbs we grow.
I got some seeds from baker creek and I will be trying them out shortly. For propagation would taking a cutting and putting it in a glass of water work like for mints after I have them started?