Stevia plant

Stevia plant

Are you a diabetic? Cutting down sugar to maintain your insulin levels? Don't worry.... here is a best alternative made for you.

That is Stevia. Botanically called as Stevia rebaudiana, native of South America which is 200-350 times more sweeter than sugar and being a calorie-free sweetener is an added advantage. It is stevia rebaudiana commonly known as Candyleaf having glycoside molecule called steviol for its sweetness. These are usually extracted from leaves and used as substitute for regular sugar.

Recently, CSIR-IHBT has developed a new cultivar called HIM STEVIA and also developed processing technology to make it available as sweetening tablets and other formulations. This cultivar is developed through selective breeding of improved varieties, later quality improvement is done by mass multiplication under in vitro conditions and by hardening huge number of plantlets under nursery conditions, therefore taken for field and chemical evaluation of genotypes for 3 years. This particular cultivar HI-STEVIA has improved levels of Rebaudioside A and total steviolglycosidal content.

Stevia properties infogarphics

Anyone who is not short of plenty of sunshine can take up this crop. This can be easily grown in small space even in pots having enriched potting mix. It can be even grown in your backyards for small requirement. Stevia is a potential crop to yield lucrative returns. It produces an annual yield of 30-35 q/ha and has market value of 100-120 kg of leaves. If production cost incurrs around 1-1.5 lakh/ha/yr. One can expect gross return of 3-4.2 lakhs/ha/yr and net return of 2-2.7 lakhs/ha/yr.

However, Stevie is easily available in grocery shops (Stevie in the raw, Trivia natural products) in many brands in different formulations (powder, tablet or liquid).

It has potential application in dairy products, yogurt, chocolate, jam, snakes, beverage, fruit juice, conservatives, sauces, ketchup, ice-cream, deserts, baked goods and pastries and many others.

It has great potential in therapeutics as anti-cancer, anti bacterial, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, pH and heat stable upto  200°C, non fermentative and non toxic medicinal herb is stevia.



©Meghana D P, MSc (Agri), Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab