J B wrote:

Dear Herbal Advantage,

I have read that the quality of Stevia various much. Specifically, at the Wisdom of the Ancients webpage, there were articles that talked about a lot of poor quality (low steviside content and mold) that come from China and so forth. They endorse plant materials coming from Paraguay. So, what is your input on this matter? I have not tried Stevia yet. I see that the leaf and liquid still offer some nutrional benefits versus the crystal derivatives. Although, I must confess, I am drawn to this product for its quality as a sweetner. As a consumer, I want to balance safety, quality, quantity, and of course money. Why should I buy your Stevia based products as opposed to shopping elsewhere?

P.S. I am following the Atkin diet regimen with success. I am supplementing as he advises too.

Thank You.

Hi J,

All good questions, often asked. I have tried not to get into a Stevia war with other suppliers, but I guess I must.

I have been selling Stevia since long before it was legal to import. I first started selling Stevia from South America until I got Stevia from China and found it to be far superior. But then China is a big country and we have received samples from other companies in China that were as bad as that from South America.

Stevioside is one of the sweet factors in the plant. The leaves might contain 12 to 14% Stevioside, the stems about 3%, and the roots nil. In South America, they harvest the whole plant, dry it and grind it into the Stevia powder.

In China, they harvest the plant, strip the leaves off, throw the stems away, dry the leaves, then grind them into our Stevia powder. A much more dense, greener, sweeter powder. Our Stevia comes from a very large farm, in China, where all the inputs, growing and harvesting are controlled. In South America, Stevia is grown by everybody in their backyard, collected by a middleman, and exported. In Stevia I bought from South America I found: dirt, rocks, weeds, cigarette butts, etc, etc.

To my knowledge, no one uses pesticides on Stevia. The plants are so sweet, no insects bother them.

Like the Stevia leaf, all white Stevia extracts are not the same. Our white Stevia extract is extracted with water only (no solvents), de-colored with high pressure filtration, vacuume spray dried, then ground into a fine powder. If you add a little water to our Stevia extract to make a liquid concentrate, you will get a slight greenesh/brown color to the liquid. This is because our Stevia extract is not bleached. All liquid Stevia on the market is made from Stevia extract powder that has been bleached and has a preservative added to it.

Our Stevia is low in price, not because of quality, but because we sell so much of it. We sell Stevia to many large corporations, some of there products are listed on our web site.

We suggest people buy a little of each. Use the Stevia leaf powder whenever you can and the white Stevia extract when necessary. If you are going out to eat and you want to sweeten a glass of ice tea, take the Stevia extract. If you make a large container of tea at home, add the Stevia leaf. You will need to filter the leaf out before you drink it. Herbal teas like Echinacea and Pau d’Arco work much better if you add a little Stevia leaf while steeping. I use Stevia leaf in all my cooking as I would any other spice. I use it in place of salt, to enhance the flavor. If I want to sweeten, I just add a little more.

You might also be interested in our Stevia cook book “Stevia Sweet Recipes”, it shows how to use both Stevia leaf and extract.

Steve Marsden

Comments from another customer:
I just got the stevia today. The North Amercian tastes best. I took my mother some to try and she made tea using about 3 leaves per cup. We ended up taking the leaves out of cup and holding them in our mouth. My mother said the flavor reminded her of the old originial coca-cola, and I agree. The taste lingers in your mouth, you drink your tea slow and don’t gulp like you do with sugary drinks. I checked into it and Stevia wasn’t actually banned until 1991, coke changed their formula in 85, and I think the difference in Classic Coke is bigger than cornsyrup. So it’s possible, stevia sure made us smile like Coca-cola use to!

I gave my two year old a leaf, she loved it, but I had to really stress not chewing. The second one she begged for and tried to suck like a lollie pop until it fell apart and then she ate it. I was having some trouble convincing her to go bed as usual, so I offered her a sweet leaf if she’d go to bed. She ran to her bed saying, “Sweet Leaf, Sweet leaf!” A sweet before bedtime that won’t rot her teeth or make a sticky mess! The North American Grown tastes good enough to eat like candy.

My mother said she’d keep a leaf in her mouth to reduce her cravings for sweets and instead of sweets. We both felt wonderful after having our first glass of tea. We tend to have problems with our bloodsugar, and we did feel better after drinking the tea and eating the leaves. We normally have two cups of coffee when we chat. One cup of hot tea with Stevia totally satisfied us, and we didn’t eat a snack with it either! Please tell your grower how much we liked their Stevia. Oh did I forget to say Thankyou, thankyou, Thankyou! Rita