Stevia rebaudiana is a nutrient rich natural sweetest plant of Asteraceae family. The leaves naturally contain diterpene glycosides stevioside, rebaudiosides A-F, steviolbioside and dulcoside, which are responsible for its sweet taste and have commercial value all over the world as sugar substitute in foods, beverages or medicines. It is a plant which offers sweetness with fewer calories and do not show any side effects after consumption on human health. Stevia has many pharmacological and therapeutic applications as suggested by many preclinical and some clinical studies; these are nontoxic and possess antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticarcinogenic activity. In future Stevia is likely to become a major source of high potency low calorie sweetener for growing natural food market. This review article presents beneficial role of Stevia and its metabolites on health promoting properties.
Key words: Stevia rebaudiana, steviosides, sweetner.
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