The stevia plant is native to South America. It was first consumed over 200 years ago in South America where the indigenous people used leaves of the plant to sweeten beverages or chewed them for their sweet taste. Traditionally, the plant leaves, often called ‘sweet herb’and were dried and used to sweeten maté, teas and medicines.
The stevia plant was first scientifically recorded in 1899 as Eupatorium rebaudianum by Moises Santiago de Bertoni, in Paraguay. In 1905, it was later defined as Stevia Rebaudiana, a member of the sunflower (Asteraceae) family and related to the Chrysanthemum.
Stevia leaf extract was first commercially adopted as a sweetener by Japan in the 1970s, where it is still a popular ingredient today. Stevia is cultivated mostly in Paraguay, Kenya, China and the United States, and within many other parts of the world, including Vietnam, Brazil, India, Argentina and Colombia.