The definition of a myth is a story from ancient history. A myth can be defined as a natural or common phenomenon, which may or may no involve supernatural occurrences or individuals. These folklores were usually believed to be sacred or true by ancient cultures. Many myths, legends and folklore revolve around the stevia plant. People have used stevia for centuries because of its therapeutic properties. Stevia, although a relatively new herb, is a natural herb that Earth has to offer. There are still a few myths surrounding stevia. Stevia’s origins date back to the Guarani Indians, who lived in Paraguay. The herb’s early history can be considered. Guaranis only discovered it as a sweetgrass used by Paraguayans to sweeten their yerbamate. Scientists only began researching stevia thirty years ago, after a European researcher made a discovery. Despite its relative newness, stevia might not have a lot of folklore. Stevia needs to be more interesting.
Stories, Myths, SuperstitionsHistorians have put in many efforts in looking for more folklore that are related to stevia. Unfortunately, the evidence that demonstrates a relationship between man & stevia is lacking (Kinghorn 56). In their years of studying stevia, many authors noted that the presence of stevia was not mentioned in history books. The most common folklore about stevia involves the use of sweet plants to sweeten traditional Paraguayan mate drinks. The bitter taste of this natural tea is due to the absence of any sweetener or sugar. As with any tea, mate teas are steeped in warm water. This popular beverage is often consumed at family gatherings and festivals. This is because it’s a beverage that can be drunk at any moment. According to Paraguayan cultural tradition, the consumption of mate requires a certain mood, time, or spiritual state.
Drinking mate tea and stevia together is a folklore expression for friendship. This is why stevia was introduced in folklore. Equivalent to finding a perfect match, balancing out the bitterness and sweetness of mate is to add sugar. Bitterness and sweetness of a drink create a balance, similar to a friendship. Today, many people drink their traditional beverage with stevia. It is a part of Paraguay’s folklore. Paraguayans also worshipped stevia since its discovery. The herb plant is used in their traditional drink. The culture of Paraguay is infused with spiritual significance.
Because stevia has a sweet taste, it is not just used in mate drinks. At first, stevia’s only winning feature was its sweetening ability. Paraguayans were ecstatic when they learned that stevia was the future for sweetening. Paraguayans treated diseases with it. Paraguayans attributed stevia’s healing powers to the fact that it is an all-natural plant. Other folklore claims that stevia helps to boost alertness and combat fatigue. When tobacco was discovered in the 1800s, smokers were addicted. The smoking rate increased at an alarming rate. Smokers who began chewing stevia leaves for fun smoked less. After drinking stevia, people are less inclined to smoke and drink alcohol. This is an example of how stevia can be used to benefit the community by decreasing bad habits. The Guaranis believe stevia also helps reduce cardiovascular risks and strengthens the hearts. It is a very useful plant.
The ancient Guarani myth is one of many stories that have been told about stevia. A healer was an elderly Guarani in his village. This happened centuries ago. He knew how to use local plants and herbal remedies for his patients, because he had a thorough understanding of their healing qualities. When he died, the healer informed his friends that he intended to take stevia’s spirit and its healing qualities along with him. As the healing properties of stevia began to fade with each generation, farmers lost interest in growing and producing it. In no time, the stevia market was gone. A few years ago, the Extension Service of Paraguay held a meeting in a small village. The meeting was attended by a frail village elder. The elder replied, “I was brought to the meeting by the spirit of my grandfather who told me about Kaahe-he.” He was sent by his grandfather with a message to share with those concerned about stevia’s growth in Paraguay. According to his grandfather’s spirit, stevia should be used only for good and healing purposes. The spirit said that Stevia would bring blessings to the entire world. Stevia has been a boon to people who are trying to combat chronic diseases like diabetes.
Paraguayan folklore also claimed that women used stevia in natural contraceptives. It was not mentioned in any of the historical literature between 1901 and 1960 that stevia was used to control birth (Kinghorn, 57). Literature only began to mention this around 1968. It was once used to lower fertility. Stevia leaves contain compounds and substances which may affect reproduction.
In Paraguay, women have traditionally used stevia tea to prevent pregnancy. Typically, women in Paraguay would drink one cup stevia as a birth control method. The stevia was boiled powdered weed. Women’s menstrual cycles may be adversely affected by stevia consumption. Food and Drug Administration of America decided to ban stevia sales because of this. The government agency was worried about the possible effects of stevia on men and women’s fertility. Scientific studies later dismissed the concern. No scientific evidence was found to suggest that stevia consumption causes infertility. The folklore at this stage has no scientific backing. The compound of the stevia plants is not proven to be responsible for creating this folklore. As of now, this folklore can be considered a false correlation and not causal. Paraguayan ladies may have consumed so much stevia they could have mistakenly believed that it was causing miscarriages. It is difficult for anyone to confirm if these folklores are true.
Although there are not many resources describing the folklore surrounding stevia, it has been a part in many Paraguayan cultural traditions. Stevia is a source of nutrition for the Guarani. Even though stevia is not known for its magic or superstitions, there are many positive effects it has had on modern and historical societies. Since the stevia plant is a relatively new discovery, there are few folklore stories.