Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)

Also known as sweet stevia. The US FDA once banned the sale of stevia products in 1991, but 3 years later approved their sale as dietary supplements. Stevia cannot be sold for use as a tabletop sweetener, which is considered a conventional food.

Stevia is an herb from a semitropical perennial shrub of the daisy family, native to the mountains of Brazil and Paraguay. This plant packs so much sweetness into its leaves that they can be used in place of sugar.
One dried leaf, ground, is 10 to 15 times sweeter than an equal amount of sugar, and powdered extracts made from the leaves are up to 300 times as sweet, without the calories (make that no calories!). Plus it is a very attractive plant that pots well.
Nonetheless, people can buy stevia powder and use it as a sugar replacement at home. One fresh stevia leaf is enough to sweeten a cup of tea, coffee or a glass of lemonade. The leaves can be added to barbecue sauce, salad dressings, soups, and stews.
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