Stevia rebaudiana from Madeira Island

Stevia rebaudiana

Stevia rebaudiana plants grow very well on Madeira Island. It is called sweetleaf for a reason: if you chew a fresh leave: it first tastes sweet, then a bit bitter. This is NOT a bad thing, it is actually good for diabetics. The leaves are around 30 – 45 times more sweet than ordinary sugar, therefore less is needed to sweeten a dish.

Stevia sweetener lowers the glucose levels in the blood, The leaves and the leaf extract of Stevia rebaudianna can be used to produce a low-calorie artificial sweetener. It is therefore used as a sugar alternative to replace cyclamates and saccharines. It is


Stevia rebaudiana (Photo credit: hebam3000)

popular in Japan and  used for purified stevosides.

Some people, however, experience side effects or even an anaphylactic shock, especially when they are already allergic to plants such as daisies  and marigolds. The plant produces stevosides which may irritate the stomach. As Stevia rebaudiana lowers the blood sugar, diabetics need to speak to their doctor before they include it in their diet.  In any case, the constant use of Stevia should be discussed with a physician. The FDA approved it as a safe product, and in some South American cultures, it has been used as sweetener for centuries. The golden rule: Too much of anything is not good for you!

A good list of Stevia side effects is at

Stevia rebaudiana can be dried and shipped quickly.  As far as we know, Madeira Island, due to its sub-tropical climate, is the only region in Europe to grow it. For further information on the production on the island, contact


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