Tag Archives: Glucose tolerance test

Stevia rebaudiana

Botanical Name : Stevia rebaudiana
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Stevia
Species:S. rebaudiana
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms : Eupatorium rebaudianum.

Common Names:Stevia, Candyleaf, Sweetleaf, Sweet leaf, or Sugarleaf

Habitat:Stevia rebaudiana is native to South AmericaBrazil, Paraguay. It grows on infertile, sandy acid soils with shallow water tables. This is normally in areas like the edge of mashes and grassland communities.

Description:
Stevia Rebaudiana is a sub-tropical plant and prefers a climate where the mean temperature is 75° F. and is always semi-humid. It thrives where it rains approximately 55″ each year. S. Rebaudiana is a herbaceous perennial shrub native to the highlands of Paraguay and sections of Argentina and Brazil that are situated along the 25th Degree Line, South Latitude.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

In the wild, Stevia grows to 2 feet in height while cultivated varieties grow to three feet. A spindly, many-branched plant with an interesting root system. Fine roots spread out on the surface of the soil, while a thicker part of the root grows deep into the soil. The stems are hairy, wand-like and covered with leaves. Leaves are opposite and toothed, fibrous and dark green. Flowers are white, tubular and bisexual. While the plant itself is not aromatic, the leaves are sweet to the taste and dry leaves are sweeter.

It is frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Stevia was discovered in 1887 by the South American Natural Scientist, Antonio Bertoni. There are approximately 80 wild species in North America and another 200 species are native to South America. However, only Stevia Rebaudiana (and another species, now extinct) possesses the natural sweetness we look for. Some of the other species, while still very sweet, have a taste reminiscent of a well-known artificial sweetener.
Cultivation:
Prefers a sandy soil, requiring a warm sunny position. It is a short day plant, growing up to 0.6 meters in the wild and flowering from January to March in the southern hemisphere. Flowering under short day conditions should occur 54-104 days following transplanting, depending on the daylength sensitivity of the cultivar. The natural climate is semi-humid subtropical with temperature extremes from 21 to 43 C, averaging 24 C. Stevia grows in areas with up to 1375mm of rain a year. Plants are not very frost resistant, but can be grown as half-hardy annuals in Britain, starting them off in a greenhouse and planting them out after the last expected frosts.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a warm greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Make sure the compost does not dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots and grow them on fast, planting them out after the last expected frosts. It could be worthwhile giving them some protection such as a cloche or cold frame for a few weeks after planting them out until they are growing away well.
Edible Uses:
Used primarily as a sweetener in teas and coffee and contains little, if any, calories. In maney countries, it is used commercially to sweeten sodas and other beverages for the calorie conscious public. Stevia does not break down when heated, so it can be used in baking or cooking without problems. However, it does not crystallize or caramelize like sugar; so meringues and flans are not in the Stevia cooking list. Stevia products currently on the market include: Stevia leaves – whole leaves. Stevia, Cut and Sifted – the leaves are cut into smaller pieces and sifted to ensure that twigs and extraneous matter are not included.

Leaves are eaten -raw or cooked. A very sweet liquorice-like flavour. The leaves contain ‘stevioside’, a substance that is 300 times sweeter than sucrose. Other reports say that they contain ‘estevin’ a substance that, weight for weight, is 150 times sweeter than sugar. The dried leaves can be ground and used as a sweetener or soaked in water and the liquid used in making preserves. The powdered leaves are also added to herb teas. The leaves are sometimes chewed by those wishing to reduce their sugar intake. The leaves can also be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

Medicinal Uses:
Stevia has been used by the native South Americans to treat diabetes, because of its ability to lower the blood sugar level. They also use it to treat high blood pressure.  Paraguayan Matto Grosso Indian tribes use stevia as an oral contraceptive.  The women drink a daily decoction in water of powdered leaves and stems to achieve this purpose.  This activity of the plant remains a controversial issue.  The suggestion is that the antifertility effect is due to certain flavonoids and their monoglycosides, and not to stevioside.

The Guarani Tribe of Paraguay, the Mestizos and other natives refer to Stevia as Caa-he-e and they have used the herb to sweeten their bitter beverages (mate´ for example) since pre-Columbian times.

Known Hazards : May cause dizziness, headache, flatulence, nausea & muscle pain. Caution with diabetic patients. May increase blood pressure lowering effects of allopathic medicine.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia_rebaudiana

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Stevia+rebaudiana

http://www.n8ture.com/herbs-stevia.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

 

 

 

So Sweet (Stevia Rebaudiana)

Sugar leaf is not just a great sweetener , it is full of antioxidants too, reports T.V. Jayan

Calcutta researchers have turned a sweet plant even sweeter. Stevia rebaudiana or sugar leaf   as it is locally known in India   has of late become a craze among farmers in different parts of the country. That’s  because powder made from its leaves is a natural sweetener that’s up to 300 times sweeter than table sugar. It is a boon for diabetic patients as it does not spike blood sugar levels. Moreover, being a natural product, it is considered safer than artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame.
CLICK & SEE THE PLANT PICTURES

.Stevia can now graduate from being called a mere sweetener to being known as a nutraceutical or an externally supplied dietary supplement, thanks to a team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Calcutta. The IICB team   led by Sharmila Chattopadhyay   has discovered that stevia leaves also contain considerable quantities of antioxidants, compounds that help the body fight ageing-related cell damage and the formation of free radicals implicated in several diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetes.

Our study shows that an extract of stevia contains as many as six or seven flavanoids, in trace to significant quantities,  Chattopadhyay told KnowHow. The study appeared online recently in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published by the American Chemical Society.

Flavanoids are a class of plant polyphenols that exhibit antioxidant properties. What is most significant about the flavanoid composition of stevia is that it packs in a little of all the major flavanoids that would otherwise be available from eating a broad spectrum of cereals, vegetables and fruits. For instance, antioxidant compounds such as apigenin and luteolin are predominantly found in cereals and aromatic herbs. Similarly, two others such as quercetin and kaempferol    also found in the stevia extract   are more common in vegetables and fruits. However, their percentage could be lower than in the individual vegetables, fruits or cereals, says Chattopadhyay.  Nonetheless, we have been able to establish the health-promoting potential of the plant,    she says.

CLICK TO LEARN ABOUT THE PLANT

Products extracted from stevia are yet to gain popularity in India.   This is because India hasn’t approved its use as a food additive yet,   says Bhupinder Sheth of Herboveda India, a Noida-based firm that supplies stevia powder to pharmaceutical companies in the country.

Click to learn more..………..(1).………..(2)

Sources:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

In order to determine whether or not a patient has pre-diabetes or diabetes, health care providers conduct a Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG) or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). Either test can be used to diagnose pre-diabetes or diabetes.
With the FPG test, a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dl signals pre-diabetes. A person with a fasting blood glucose level of 126 mg/dl or higher has diabetes....click & see

In the OGTT test, a person’s blood glucose level is measured after a fast and two hours after drinking a glucose-rich beverage. If the two-hour blood glucose level is between 140 and 199 mg/dl, the person tested has pre-diabetes. If the two-hour blood glucose level is at 200 mg/dl or higher, the person tested has diabetes.

Major Types of Diabetes


Type 1 diabetes

Results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, the hormone that “unlocks” the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are often dramatic and come on very suddenly.
* Type 1 diabetes is usually recognized in childhood or early adolescence, often in association with an illness (such as a virus) or injury.
* The extra stress can cause diabetic ketoacidosis.
* Symptoms of ketoacidosis include nausea and vomiting. Dehydration and often-serious disturbances in blood levels of potassium follow.
* Without treatment, ketoacidosis can lead to coma and death.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are often subtle and may be attributed to aging or obesity.
* A person may have type 2 diabetes for many years without knowing it.
# Type 2 diabetes can be precipitated by steroids and stress.
# If not properly treated, type 2 diabetes can lead to complications like blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and nerve damage

Type 2 diabetes
Results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women – about 135,000 cases in the United States each year.

Pre-diabetes

Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. There are 41 million Americans who have pre-diabetes, in addition to the 20.8 million with diabetes.

CAUSES OF DIABETES:
Diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas doesn’t make enough or any of the hormone insulin, or when the insulin produced doesn’t work effectively. In diabetes, this causes the level of glucose in the blood to be too high.

In Type 1 diabetes the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed, causing a severe lack of insulin. This is thought to be the result of the body attacking and destroying its own cells in the pancreas – known as an autoimmune reaction.

* infection with a specific virus or bacteria;
* exposure to food-borne chemical toxins; and
* exposure as a very young infant to cow’s milk, where an as yet unidentified component of this triggers the autoimmune reaction in the body.

However, these are only hypotheses and are by no means proven causes.

Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is believed to have a strong genetic link, meaning that it tends to run in families. Several genes are being studied that may be related to the cause of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is believed to develop when:
* the receptors on cells in the body that normally respond to the action of insulin fail to be stimulated by it – this is known as insulin resistance. In response to this more insulin may be produced, and this over-production exhausts the insulin-manufacturing cells in the pancreas;
* there is simply insufficient insulin available; and
* the insulin that is available may be abnormal and therefore doesn’t work properly..

The following risk factors increase the chances of someone developing Type 2 diabetes:
* High blood triglyceride (fat) levels
* Gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
* High-fat diet
* High alcohol intake
* Sedentary lifestyle
* Obesity or being overweight

* Ethnicity: Certain groups, such as African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Japanese Americans, have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.

* Aging: Increasing age is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Risk begins to rise significantly at about age 45 years, and rises considerably after age 65 years.
Rarer causes of diabetes include:
* Certain medicines;
* pregnancy (gestational diabetes); and
* any illness or disease that damages the pancreas and affects its ability to produce insulin e.g. pancreatitis.

It’s important to also be aware of the different myths that over the years have arisen about the causes of diabetes.
Eating sweets or the wrong kind of food does not cause diabetes. However, it may cause obesity and this is associated with people developing Type 2 diabetes.
Stress does not cause diabetes, although it may be a trigger for the body turning on itself as in the case of Type 1 diabetes. It does, however, make the symptoms worse for those who already have diabetes.
Diabetes is not contagious. Someone with diabetes cannot pass it on to anyone else.

TAKE CARE AND CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH ONE STEP AT A TIME:
If you have diabetes, you would be wise to make healthful lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, and other health habits. These will help to improve glycemic (blood sugar) control and prevent or minimize complications of diabetes.

Diet: A healthy diet is key to controlling blood sugar levels and preventing diabetes complications.

Managing type 2 diabetes means making some changes to how you live. Your doctor will ask you to eat healthy, be more active, lose weight if you need to, and quit smoking. He or she may prescribe one or more medicines, too.
It may seem like a lot to do. But keeping your blood sugar under control now can help reduce the risk of health problems from diabetes later.
.
Regular Yoga exercise, meditation and proper Ayurvedic treatment can keep a diabetec patient well all his or her life through.

(Help taken from:http://www.emedicinehealth.com/diabetes/article_em.htm and http://www.diabetes.org/about-diabetes.jsp)