Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Whispering Hill's Stevia Information Sheet

History: Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is a naturally sweet, herbal plant. Native to South America, it has been used for centuries by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay as a sweetener for herbal teas and other beverages. Today it is cultivated in Mexico, Paraguay, Central America, Japan, China, Malaysia, South Korea and very recently, Canada. No doubt, Canadians are going to spend years reinventing the wheel - rediscovering the intuitive knowledge that the Guarani had of the many uses of stevia.

How sweet is Stevia? The measurement of sweetness is a technical matter which is defined precisely. Dried stevia leaves are 30 to 40 times as sweet as sucrose. When the steviosides (a certain class of compounds) are extracted from stevia leaves and then isolated and purified, the result can be 250 to 300 times as sweet as sucrose. One should not jump to the conclusion that stevia is "equal" to a certain amount of sugar. Its want to design recipes using stevia, you may need to run a few experiments to get the right quantities. Also, stevia contains of many phytonutrients not found in sugar: chromium, manganese, selenium, silicon, iron, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, thiamine, Vitamin C, bioflavonoids and zinc. The body may be able to assimilate these trace nutrients more easily in their stevia form that from other sources.

What are the concerns of Health Canada? Along with about 20 other regulatory agencies, Health Canada is taking a very cautious stance, In order to properly test stevia, pure sources are needed and reproducible experiments must be done. When a product is the result of extraction from a natural plant, the risk of co-extraction of contaminants, variability of plant species, and weed infestation can result in irreproducible toxicity studies. If something is extracted from a weed and then highly concentrated, the result could be very dangerous.

What are some of the current research? The anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties of stevia are being explored, for use in shampoos and oral surgery. Blood sugar control using stevia may help in diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperactivity, and attention deficit disorder. Stevia has been used in South America to treat hypoglycemia, gingivitis (bleeding gums) and candida.

Why buy organic? Whispering Hills Vineyard Corporation is the only producer of certified organic stevia in Canada. Growing plants in the protected environment of a greenhouse is costly but it makes Whispering Hills the darling of Health Canada.

William Hayward and Whispering Hills Vineyard Corporation.

William Hayward has been called the Johnny Appleseed of stevia. In 1967, he heard a lecture at Davis University in California by professor Clinton Shock. The topic was a plant, Stevia rebaudiana Passer, which grew the in Rio Munday valley in Paraguay. William started growing plants from cutting and gave away about 100 plants a month, primarily to diabetics. When William was in Brazil in 1981, the Guarani Indians introduced him to Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni (named after its discoverer Bertoni). It was sweeter, less bitter, more gentle than the Passer Plant. William's family had a history of diabetes. Soon William had everybody in his family growing and using Stevia. In 1986, William began selling the plants and by 1994 he had connections around the world in the research community. He was given many versions of stevia and developed a superior tasting variety. In 1996, William received a special plant which a healer and herbalist had been growing from cuttings for several years. This new plant was the key which William used to develop his own stevia plant, Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni R42. William is researcher 42. His plant is not a genetically modified and is certified by him as to specie. It has an especially large leaf and is sweet without the common licorice aftertaste.

William's dedication to quality is lifelong. No artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, alcohols or sugars are used in any of the products. They contain no animal or dairy products. They are free from hormones, pesticides and fungicides.

The name Whispering Hills Vineyard Corporation comes from William's involvement with the Association of BC Grape Growers, the BC Wine Institute, the Vintners Quality Assurance Program, BC Tree Fruit Association, BC Herb Growers Association. The greenhouses in which the stevia is grown are located in Lavington, just east of Vernon, BC. William keeps busy wearing many hats. He has forged good relations with all the regulatory agencies, although sometimes it seems lake an uphill battle (rather than Whispering Hills one). He has also found time to mount a sales effort to get certified organic stevia recognized for its unique value to those who want to live a healthy life in harmony with nature. Throughout the summer mont hs, he can be seen standing all day long in the hot sun in farmer's markets chatting to everyone who will listen about his first love, the amazing plant Stevia and how she changed his life from a borderline diabetic to a tireless crusader - all the while sipping on a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon and a shot of stevia.

Monday, July 20, 2009

FDA Approves Stevia

Update note: This breaking news article has been updated from its original version to clarify the nature of the FDA's GRAS "approval" for stevia. In the original breaking news, we reported that the FDA had granted GRAS approval to stevia. Technically, the FDA has only issued letters of "no objection" regarding companies' self-affirmation of GRAS approval for stevia. In other words, the FDA hasn't technically granted approval to stevia but has affirmed it will not object to companies using it in foods and beverages. This puts stevia in a "grey zone" where the FDA could potentially target selected companies (small stevia producers) while ignoring other companies (Coca-Cola and Cargill, for example), even while they use essentially the same sweeteners. Sourced from here

My Note: It is about time. Now that the big boys are now interested in the product there most likely be more interest in Stevia.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Acceptance of Stevia

I am finding that the use of Stevia in increasing. What now is needed are more sources/growers of Stevia.

Stevia FAQ

There are many facts about Stevia on the web. You can start searching from by Stevia FAQ blog. This link is located on the side.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Article: Stevia Madness

Here is a extract of an interesting fact

Only one loophole permits stevia into the country at all: Under our absurd food additive laws, stevia can be sold as a “dietary supplement,” provided no one ever markets it for any specific purpose. Thus the plant and extract are both available in health-food stores, most of whom take great pains to hide the fact that stevia is, in fact, sweet. You can usually find it on the shelf next to the ephedra… oh, wait. Given how the dietary supplements market is looking lately, you never know.

Read more here

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sinfully Sweet?

The herb stevia is natural, sweeter than sugar -- and has no calories. People enjoy it around the world. Why won't the FDA let you?

New Age Journal, Jan/Feb 1996 by Linda and Bill Bonvie

While classified as a civil action, "the United States of America vs. forty cardboard boxes" had all the trappings of a big-time drug bust. It took place on a summer day in 1991, when a bevy of armed federal marshals raided the Arlington, Texas, warehouse of businessman Oscar Rodes, served him with a warrant, and proceeded to seize his most recent shipment. Read more ...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

An interesting tidbit about the FDA

Interesting little piece from a Stevia article:

"I had one guy from
the FDA tell me 'if we
wanted to make carrots
(be) against the law,
we could do it.' "

Complete article click here

STEVIA: The green stuff

Remember that commercial that actress/songstress Cher did a few years ago pouting and touting her preference for "The Blue Stuff", aspartame (NutraSweet) artificial sweetener in the little blue packets, over "The Pink Stuff", saccharin artificial sweetener in the little pink packets and "The White Stuff", good old table sugar in the little white packets? Now there's a new (old) kid on the sweetener block to add to the little colored-packet collection: The Green Stuff, the one in the little green packets. Its name is Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni. A big name with a big claim: 300-400 times sweeter than sugar and not artificial anything. Stevia is 100% Mother Nature in the form of a green herb plant of the Aster/Chrysanthemum family, the leaves of which yield its naturally-occurring sweet substance, glycoside, or stevioside. Best of all, it has been shown in numerous research studies to have no ill effects on the human body. In fact, in China, Stevia is also used to aid digestion, lose weight and even stimulate the appetite. It is also reported that Stevia powder heals external skin sores while drinking Stevia tea reduces mouth sores and improve oral health. And if that wasn't enough, Stevia cooks, bakes, sprinkles, and tastes, amazingly like real sugar, maybe even better.
extracted from moonbowmedia

Some more FDA History on Stevia

extracted from every thing
Commercial resistance to stevia is known as far back as 1913 when a German agency described it as a well known plant "which alarmed sugar producers years ago" The US FDA labeled stevia as an "unsafe food additive" despite also acknowleding it as a well known and historically well used plant. The FDA has been accused of caving in to established commercial interests in excluding stevia from the US market. Although calling stevia "unsafe" the FDA provides little evidence to back up the claim and has stonewalled attempts to prove otherwise. The FDA has also resisted attempts to get full information through the FOIA requests about complaints lodged against companies using stevia.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Stevia plant chemicals

An extract from


Western interest in stevia began around the turn of the nineteenth century, when researchers in Brazil started hearing about a plant with leaves so sweet that just one leaf would sweeten a whole gourd full of bitter yerba mate tea. It was first studied in 1899 by Paraguayan botanist Moises S. Bertoni, who wrote some of the earliest articles on stevia (in the early 1900s).

Over 100 phytochemicals have been discovered in stevia since. It is rich in terpenes and flavonoids. The constituents responsible for stevia's sweetness were documented in 1931, when eight novel plant chemicals called glycosides were discovered and named. Of these eight glycosides, one called stevioside is considered the sweetest - and has been tested to be approximately 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevioside, comprising 6-18% of the stevia leaf, is also the most prevalent glycoside in the leaf. Other sweet constituents include steviolbioside, rebausiosides A-E, and dulcoside A.

The main plant chemicals in stevia include: apigenin, austroinulin, avicularin, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, campesterol, caryophyllene, centaureidin, chlorogenic acid, chlorophyll, cosmosiin, cynaroside, daucosterol, diterpene glycosides, dulcosides A-B, foeniculin, formic acid, gibberellic acid, gibberellin, indole-3-acetonitrile, isoquercitrin, isosteviol, jhanol, kaempferol, kaurene, lupeol, luteolin, polystachoside, quercetin, quercitrin, rebaudioside A-F, scopoletin, sterebin A-H, steviol, steviolbioside, steviolmonoside, stevioside, stevioside a-3, stigmasterol, umbelliferone, and xanthophylls.

For further reading click here for the complete article.

Stevia, why isn't it popular?

This is from my personal experience. It is like anything new or different. Stevia is not sugar, this must be stressed. Like all other sweet substitutes, yes they have a sweet taste, but there are a combination of after-tastes that turns many off.

Case in point. I know of some people that are so addicted to the taste, yes the taste is addictive, and have gained so much weight that they are using sugar substitutes to control their weight and diabetes. This one person that I know was spooning the substitute into their coffee. Well the coffee became bitter because of the interaction of the substitute and the coffee.

When it comes to substitutes there is a limit. There is even a limit to sugar itself before the body reacts to it i.e. weight gain, ADD, ADHD, diabetes.

Stevia like all things is an acquired taste. I personally do not taste sweet so therefore items that are heavily ladened with sugar and honey can be eaten with out me saying 'Ohh that is too sweet'. I personally use stevia to have that sweet taste in my mouth, yes I can taste this sweet. I like it because the variety that I use has very little after-taste and the taste is lasting. Among other benefits the taste significantly moderates my intake of sugar.

As with all things another example. When it comes to milk, I can not stand to drink cow's milk, but I like soya and goat or sheeps milk in that order. After drinking soya milk I have developed a preference. The same is true for stevia, it is an acquired taste.

Wikipedia Stevia Entry

Stevia (also called sweetleaf or sweet leaf) is a genus of about 150 species of herbs and shrubs belonging to the Asteraceae (sunflower) family, native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America (north to Mexico). The species continue reading ...