Today in Gardenprue we are going to talk about stevia or Stevia rebaudiana . Tropical plant of Guaraní origin from the area of Paraguay whose properties are, if not infinite, numerous. Its cultivation is prohibited in Europe due to alleged contraindications of doubtful veracity, it has generated a reaction in society in recent years that seeks to promote its cultivation. If you want to discover it, keep reading.
STEVIA REBAUDIANA . PROPERTIES AND KEYS FOR ITS CULTIVATION AND MAINTENANCE
There will be many who already know it but I imagine that it will be unknown to many others, although lately it has begun to gain strength since there is a large controversy on the part of governments, large food and pharmaceutical companies about its properties. In 2011 the EU allowed the use of the extract as a sweetener. In fact, it can already be found in supermarkets as such. But that is not where the true properties are. Although it is true that the sweetening power is very powerful, (its glucoside has up to 300 times the sweetening power of sugar), what is truly amazing is not this compound but the proven properties that its consumption in fresh or dried in infusion presents.
The Stevia rebaudiana is native to the area Guarani Paraguay. Let us remember that the Guaraní culture is the one that possesses the most phytotherapeutic knowledge. They take it as a natural sweetener. Its name is due to Pedro Jaime Esteve who found it in Paraguay and Ovidio Rebaudi who was the one who discovered the glycoside responsible for its sweetening power.
PROPERTIES OF STEVIA REBAUDIANA
The main one is its sweetening power without caloric intake. This is the only property that large industries are exploiting. But consumed fresh or in infusion also …
Regulates blood sugar in the vast majority of type II diabetics and in a large number of type I. It stimulates the activity of the pancreas, regulates blood pressure, regulates the digestive system, is beneficial for people with anxiety, suitable for lose weight, reduce fat, have antioxidant and diuretic properties, it is capable of resetting the feeling of unbalanced hunger in many people with anxiety to eat, achieving a feeling of fullness much earlier. Fresh, recommended for cavities due to its antibacterial and antifungal action.
PLANT CUTTINGS OF STEVIA REBAUDIANA
We fill a pot with fertilized peat and water until soaked
Plant a 10cm shoot of Stevia (removing 2 or 3 leaves from the bottom) in the peat and press the peat to ensure firm contact with the substrate. It is recommended to plant directly. If you can’t, keep it in a glass of water.
For it to begin to root we have to flee from the sun so leave it in a shady place and water it 3 times a day.
Approximately a month, the Stevia will begin to become erect, and when new leaves begin to come out then we move it to a place with more sun. At this point is when we leave the abundant watering going only to a watering in the morning. The frequency of irrigation in summer should be practically daily. In autumn and spring the frequency of watering will be every time we notice that the soil is not wet. In the winter season, water very little to prevent the roots from rotting. These will sprout again in the spring.
Two months after the transplant of the outbreak, we transplanted the definitive site. If it is going to be a large pot to promote its maximum development.
Come autumn, when it starts to have flowers and the growth decreases, we cut it to 10cm in height and the leaves that we remove can be dried for infusion. Without much direct contact with the sun. They can be dried little by little at home.
SUBSCRIBING AND TREATMENTS OF STEVIA REBAUDIANA
You can make both organic and mineral fertilizer. Be careful with the latter, excess can negatively affect the plant. It is applied once a month from the second month after transplantation. It should have a higher proportion of potassium than phosphorus and nitrogen. If it is organic, one application a year in early spring will suffice. If it is potted, add more peat.
As treatments against whitefly or aphids, use garlic extracts or other products allowed in organic farming for this purpose. With the presence of caterpillars, it is not necessary to apply anything unless it is very abundant, in which case it will be treated with Bacillus thuringiensis preparations .