, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 17-24

Stevia: The herbal sugar of 21st century

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Abstract

Stevia is the new emerging alternative source of calorie free sweetener having no carbohydrate and fat. It is 20 to 30 times sweet than cane and beet sugar, highly nutritious, delicious, non-toxic and non-additive sugar. It also enhances the flavour, helpful in digestion, weight reduction, anti oxidant, prevent dental caries and having antimicrobial and anti-plaque properties, increases mental alertness, increase energy levels but does not affect the blood sugar level, therefore key-source sweetener for diabetic world. Besides,Stevia can be used in hypertension, hypoglycemic, helpful in skin toning and healing, tobacco and alcohol cravings and a tonic for pancreas. It can also be used as alternative source of sugar for food confectioneries, bakeries, fruit juices, jams, biscuits, chocolates, vegetables and other food stuffs. The recent researches alongwith future prospective of this new emerging medicinal plant has been discussed in this chapter.