Herbal Products - Stevia, Safed Musli, Chlorophytum
Borivillianum, Chlorophytum Arundinaceum, Chlorophytum Tuberocum
Stevia is an incredibly sweet herb, obtained by a
natural selective breeding process of the sweetest Stevia parent plants. The
sweetener, stevioside, extracted from the plants, is 300 times sweeter than
sugar. The fresh leaves have a nice liquorice taste. What makes the Stevia
plant so special is that it can be used to replace sugar (sucrose). Many
different uses of Stevia are already well-known: as table sugar, in soft
drinks, pastry, pickles, tobacco products, candy, jam, yoghurt, chewing gum,
sorbets... The dried leaves of Stevia are about 40 times sweeter than sugar.
The documented properties of Stevia are antibacterial, anti fungal,
anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-yeast, cardiotonic,
diuretic, hypoglycemic and hence a boon to diabetic people, hypotensive,
tonic, and vasodilator. Indeed, the leaves contain diterpene glucosides with
a sweet taste but which are not metabolised and contain no calories. The
biggest part of the sweet glucosides consists of the stevioside molecule.
Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni (Bertoni) is a perennial herbaceous plant and is
part of the Asteraceae family. This family includes well-known plants such
as dandelion, sunflower and chicory. The history of the culture of Stevia
mainly stems from Paraguay and Brazil. Originally Stevia only grew in the
northern regions of South America but its cultivation has become popular
worldwide. . The plant has been known for centuries by the native
Guaranay-Indians for the sweet taste of its leaves. They use it, amongst
other things, to make "mate" herbal tea. Stevia is often referred
to as the "sweetest plant of the world".
Jeevan Herbs & Agro Farm is one of the pioneer cultivators of Stevia in
the country and is dedicated to high quality, organic cultivation of Stevia
along with other medicinal plants.
Its leaves are about 5 cm long and 2 cm wide and are planted crosswise,
facing each other. In the wild, the height of the plant varies from 40 to 80
cm but when cultivated, the Stevia can become 1 metre high. Stevia can be
grown on relatively poor soil. The plants can be used for commercial
production for 6 years, during which five times a year a harvest takes place
of the part of the plant that is above the ground. The roots remain in place
and so the plant regenerates again. Plants, which are 1 metre high, have a
dry weight of 70 g on average. The dry weight of the leaves can vary from 15
to 35 g per plant.
A healthy Stevia Plant at Jeevan
Herbs at flowering stage
Ready Stevia Plants in Jhaf
The principal advantages of Stevia are the
- It is a completely natural non-synthetic product; o Stevioside
(the sweetener) contains absolutely no calories;
- The leaves can be used in their natural state;
- Thanks to its enormous sweetening power, only small quantities
need to be used;
- The plant is non-toxic;
- The leaves as well as the pure stevioside extract can be cooked;
- No aftertaste or bitterness;
- Stable when heated up to 200 degrees;
- Non fermentative;
- Flavour enhancing;
- Clinically tested and frequently used by humans without negative
- Ideal, non-addictive sweetener for children.
Process of Stevia
The land sites are plowed and or cultivated twice to prepare a fairly
smooth, firm-planting surface.
Transplants from cuttings would be superior, however cost makes it
prohibitive. Stevia must be propagated from seed in plug trays placed in a
greenhouse for a period of 7 to 8 weeks.
Depending on different climatic conditions Stevia is cultivable throughout
the year except for times when it is extremely hot or cold. Stevia plug
plants are planted into the field on either 53 cm or 61 cm row spacing with
a total plant density in the order of 100,000 plants per hectare.
The plant appears to have low nutrient requirements, however a soil test
should be conducted. Jeevan Herbs and Agro Farms is committed to and
encourages total organic cultivation.
Normally, the Stevia plant requires frequent, shallow irrigation.
Generally, one applies irrigation if the stem tips are drooping at least one
time per week.
This crop also requires hand hoeing and weeding.
Insect pest pressures other than cutworm are minimal. Septoria disease can
cause considerable damage to the Stevia crop. Animals seem to like the sweet
taste of Stevia, too.
Time of harvesting depends on land variety and growing season. Generally it
can be scheduled when plants are 40-60 centimeters in height. Shorter days
induce flowering. Optimum yield (biomass) and stevioside quality and
quantity is best just prior to flowering. The plant will tolerate very low
Drying of the woody stems plus the soft green leaf material is completed
immediately after harvesting utilizing a drying wagon or a kiln. Depending
on weather conditions and density of loading, it generally takes 24 to 48
hours to dry Stevia at 40°C to 50°C. An estimated 21,500 kg/ha of
green weight is dried down to 6,000 kg/ha of dry weight.
Immediately following drying, a specially designed thresher/separator is
necessary to separate dry Stevia leaves from its stem. Stem and leaf
portions tend to be equally represented at 3,000 kg/ha each.
|Provisional Cost to Cultivate
Stevia in One Acre of Land
|Compost - 5 Trolleys @ Rs. 500 each
|Vermicompost 1000 kgs @ Rs. 3.5 per kg
|Land Preparation + Bed Raising
|Planting material 30,000 plants @ Rs. 4.00
|Irrigation & Supervision
|Harvesting & Drying
|Packing, Transportation & Miscellaneous
|Total Output - 2250 Kg. of Dry Leaves
@ Rs. 90.00 per Kg.
Note: Prices as per the prevailing market rates. Multiplication of
plants depends on proper implementation of package of practices, proper land
preparation, weed & pest management, moisture in the soil, careful
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