A medicinal plant called Stevia, whose dried leaves could have an application in the treatment of diabetes, is being successfully grown in the Debang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh, India. The crop is now ready for harvesting, after 300 local farmers were encouraged to cultivate the plant.
Stevia is an extremely interesting herb. A native of the Amambay mountain region of Paraguay, the leaves of the plant are sweet and non-caloric. It has been used throughout the centuries as a sweetener by natives, and more recently en masse by the Japanese sweetener market.
As a diabetic, it is extremely likely that you use some form of artificial sweetener. After all, it is easy to believe that these are the only alternatives to sugar. However, artificial sweeteners have traditionally raised concerns about long-term side effects. Some organisations believe that Stevia offers a perfect and natural alternative, with no chance of negative side effects, and even the possibility of improving blood sugar levels.
The regional research laboratory of Jorhat has adopted several villages, given technical assistance to the farmers, and helped to market their product. Stevia, as well as being exceptionally useful for diabetics, may also be able to bring affluence to previously poor rural agricultural areas. Stevia may give a yield of 2500 Kg of dry leaves per acre every year. A perfect alternative?

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