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| Aztec Sweet Herb as a Sweetener |
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Thomas Madsen
Posted on: January 16, 2001
According to your catalog, the leaves of Aztec Sweet Herb are "unsuitable as a sugar substitute". Is this a matter of taste, or are the leaves actually toxic to ingest?
A bit of both. The high camphor content is considered too toxic for regular use in food. For occasional use in medicines, camphor has been used for centuries in many medicines, especially those for respiratory infections. But the pattern of use is over a short period, never for daily or long term use. In any case, the high camphor content is a bit too off putting for food use. For most the camphor taste is much too strong despite the sweet taste.
We have heard of at least one recent attempt to develop a low camphor strain of Aztec sweet herb. If this could be accomplished, it would likely create a major new crop because the plant is very easy to grow and much more productive than other sweet herbs such as stevia. However, we have not heard that that effort has produced any results so far (as of 2001).