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Stevia: sweet plant from Paraguay

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by Barbara Simonsohn

Translated by Frédéric Patenaude

Sugar, the “white poison”

Sugar is totally out for the health-minded person. The consumption of sugar not only leads to the development of cavities, but is also responsible for the decalcification of the teeth and bones. Blood sugar problems, diabetes, ulcers, vitamin B deficiencies, hyperactivity in children, weakening of the immune system, liver congestion, weight problems, cancer, acne, depression, heart attacks, colitis, and children paralysis — all these problems can be caused by the consumption of sugar.

Otto Becker demonstrates in his anti-sugar book, “Sugar, Sugar!”, with the help of disease cases from his own practice, that, with a sugar-free diet, all of these diseases can be overcome, as long as no organ has been considerably damaged. In his “Klinik Lahnstein” in Germany, sugar addicts come to be freed from their sugar addiction.

The word “sweet” has always been for humans filled with desire, and tied with pleasurable representations. The desire for sweets is born inside of us. Baby humans come to the world being fond of sweet things. Professor Paul Rozin, USA: “This shows an ancient experience of humans, because across the world there are no poisonous fruits that taste sweet.” The sweet taste of the water in fruit leaves a desire for sweet. Apart from that, human milk is extremely sweet, tasting like diluted, sugared, condensed milk. Did you know that human milk is seven percent sweeter in milk sugars as the milk of any other animals?

People make that problem worse when they give to their whining kids candies. Artificial sugar is an isolated carbohydrate that needs for its metabolism B-vitamins, thus stealing these vitamins from the body. B-vitamins are indispensable for a harmonious mood and a stable nervous system. Children addicted to sugar become more whining and hyperactive in the long run, even aggressive. Knowing this effect of this “sweet poison,” it is a scandal that so many ice-creams and soft drinks machines are to be found in our schools.

Artificial sweeteners, an alternative?

Many people are aware of the negative health consequences of sugar consumption, and instead go for the artificial sweeteners, as if they were a healthy alternative. The industry praise them as being “modern, tasty, and attractive products.” The Germans, in 1995 alone, spent over 85 million dollars for artificial sweeteners, and the worldwide market is of over 2 billion dollars.

The cancer suspicion surrounding Saccharin and Cyclamat has not yet been cleared out. Research has showed that these products might be toxic. Cyclamate has been banned from the United States, UK, and other countries. Since a new European law passed in 1994, artificial sweeteners are absolutely banned as added sweeteners in food for babies and young children.

Many nutritionists have warned us urgently about Aspartame, the best-selling sweetener that is sold under the name “NutraSweet,” and can be found in many products such as diet coke, vitamin candies, toothpaste, ice-cream, etc. Professor Richard Wurtman, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says: “Aspartame increases the concentration of Tyrosine in the brain up to 300%. Too much Tyrosine can lead to headaches, depression, nausea, epileptic attacks, memory problems, and menstruation problems. The breakdown materials from aspartame are Formaldehyde and Methanol, which are both poisonous to humans.”

Stevia — a new alternative to artificial sweeteners.

Stevia Rebaudiana, the “sweet leave” from Paraguay, is now a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners. For hundreds of years, even before the discovery of South America by the Spaniards during the 16th century, the Guarani and Mato Grosso native American Indians of Paraguay have been sweetening their mate-tea with stevia, and use the leaves of this plant, similar to the peppermint, as a healing herb for diabetes, high blood pressure, and skin problems. They name stevia “the sweet bliss,” because it also harmonizes the emotional bodies, and is great for the mood. Even as a raw vegan we can take advantage of it: we can grow stevia plants on windowsills, balconies, in gardens, and always have a few leaves to chew on when a sugar craving overcomes us. Stevia powders can also be bought and used in place of sugar, honey, or maple syrup in herbal teas, recipes, etc.

The stevia leave is already 10 to 20 times as sweet as sugar, and the dried leave is even sweeter, all that with “zero” calories. Stevia is at last a healthy alternative to sugar and sweeteners for people who are watching their weight, for diabetics or those with candida. In Japan “Kaja-he” (from the native American name, which means “sweet leave”) has already taken over about 50% of the sugar market. There you can find stevia in chocolate bars, ice-creams, diet drinks, cakes, pickles, etc., where it is substituted to sugar. Stevia, this “sweet treat,” can be found in health food stores and bought through mail order companies. Raw vegans can also grow the plant themselves, as it is quite easy to propagate.

The Swiss botanist Mosés Bertoni had already written in 1901 about the discovery of stevia: “A few small leaves are enough to sweeten a cup of strong coffee or tea. There are also no toxic substances that could limit its use.” In 1918, after his extensive studies, he was even convinced: “Stevia is non only non-toxic, but even healthy.”

There was never any negative or health-related problematic effect that was observed with stevia on the human body. On the contrary, stevia has many health advantages and even healing effects! Stevia is still used today in South America, not only in teas and recipes, but also prescribed and administered as a tonic, to improve digestion, harmonize blood pressure, overcome fatigue and tiredness, loose weight, get rid of fungus, and normalize the blood sugar levels of diabetics. Stevia is also used to keep the skin and hair young and beautiful. It is traditionally used in South America to heal wounds, treat eczema, acne, dandruff, and other skin conditions. Apparently, the enzymes and chlorophyll are responsible for this healing effect on the skin.

A mix of stevia leaves, chrysanthemum leaves, and healing clay, diluted with water, can help with sunspots, liver spots, insect bites, and wrinkles.

Stevia is also recommended in candida cases, because it does not feed the fungus like other sweeteners do, and has instead an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effect, which helps control the growth of the fungus. Grapefruit seeds extract, papaya seeds, Lapacho and pineapple teas mixed with stevia, can be found in some preparations on the market, or made at home for a powerful anti-fungal formula.

Stevia is a great help for all those who are overweight. There is less than half a calorie in a 100 mg. portion. It tempers the appetite and the addictive tendency to go for the fatty and unhealthy foods. Stevia also represents a healthy and side-effect free sweetener for diabetics, and is known in Brazil as a healing food for this disease. Clinical studies have shown that stevia is able to improve the glucose tolerance and lower blood sugar levels. Diabetics already notice more energy and enthusiasm with half a teaspoon of stevia per day.

Stevia helps teeth problems, and is traditionally used in South America against bleeding gum, cavities, and inflamed gums. Modern scientists have acknowledged the anti-bacterial properties of stevia, which are probably related to its high vitamin C and chlorophyll content, and its ability to slow down the growth of undesired bacteria in the mouth. Someone suffering from cavities or other teeth problems could snack on stevia leaves, chewing them between the meals. In the USA and Japan we can find a whole series of cosmetics and skin care products using stevia as one of the main active ingredients. Whole leaves, run through the Champion juicer, and mixed green stevia powder, are great to make the skin moist and smooth, eliminate impurities, improve your tonus, and even smoothen wrinkles.

Stevia is also used effectively against hair problems such as dandruff, falling hair, gray hair, and dull hair. During the last part of hair washing, add some green stevia powder to the shampoo and let it soak in a little.

Here is a hair cure for dry, dull, or falling hair: two tablespoons of olive oil mixed with two tablespoons of green stevia powder. Let it sit in your moist hair for one hour, cover your head with a towel, and thereafter wash thoroughly with a mild shampoo.

Stevia can help all types of problems, from alcohol addiction to teeth challenges. Or you can simply use stevia as a healthy sweetener. Those with a green thumb can grow stevia plants at home, and create delicious concoctions for their children with fresh or dried stevia leaves. You can find many recipes using stevia in a few books that have been published on the subject, including my own (in German and French only at the moment). Look for books on stevia on the internet.

It is time that we take responsibility for our health. With stevia, sweetening can be possible witho ut any negative consequences. Have fun and bon appétit!

Barbara Simonsohn
Holbein Str. 26, 22607 Hamburg
Tel.: 040-895338

Notes by Frédéric

Due to a huge hoax involving the artificial sweeteners companies, stevia products have been banned from most European countries. In Canada and America, stevia powder and extracts can be bought at the health food stores, although you won’t find them in the food section or in any food product. They are sold as “nutritional supplements.”

There are basically four types of stevia products:

  1. Whole, dried leaves. I have not been able to find them at the health food store, but I have seen some online business who sell them. The alternative would be to grow stevia plants yourself.
  2. Green powder. A powder made out of the dried leaves of stevia. Not too refined and can be used in recipes, nut milks, salad dressings, etc. Has a strong sweet taste and a licorice after taste. Great.
  3. White powder. Quite refined product, containing only the compound that makes stevia sweet: steviosid. Since it has little after taste, it can be used in herbal teas, raw lemonades, or any hot drinks. Since I started using it I have not noticed any negative effects.
  4. Liquid stevia extract. A few drops are enough to sweeten a cup of tea. Can be carried along. You must get the brand without alcohol.

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