Healing Properties of Strawberry Leaf
Strawberry leaf has a mild, fruity flavor and is one of the highest sources of naturally occurring Vitamin C available. As with raspberry leaf it makes a very pleasant spring tonic and is especially beneficial to pregnant and nursing mothers and to young children. It is very soothing to the stomach.
Harvest young leaves in good condition, throughout the spring and summer, but particularly during blossoming for the finest flavor. Again, use either fresh or completely dried leaves, as strawberry leaf suffers from the same toxic change as raspberry leaf during the drying process.
Its safety as a tea is not in question when the leaf is entirely dry or fresh, but not between the two. To make the infusion/tea pour boiling water over 1 tsp. of crushed strawberry leaf, steep for 5-10 minutes, and then strain. For diarrhea, drink several cups per day. (1 teaspoon crushed leaf = ca. 1 gram).
Take special care when harvesting, because of strawberry’s role as a colonizer and soil stabilizer in newly healing areas. Walk and harvest lightly.
Often strawberry favors poor soil conditions, such as sunny, dry, gravelly, or sandy slopes, where many other plants would not cope well at all. Try to avoid harvest altogether in these areas, and instead harvest in areas with more abundant growth.
Domestic strawberry leaf makes a tea with all of the same properties, though perhaps not as strong. Be sure if harvesting the domestic sort that the patch is free of chemicals.
Forms: Tea made from the crushed and dried leaves.
Traditional Usage: – Aches and Pains
– Bladder Health Maintenance
– Digestive Health Maintenance
– Intestinal Difficulties
– Liver Health Maintenance
– Nerve Health Maintenance
– Respiratory Health Maintenance
– Skin Problems
– Vascular Disorders
– Weight Loss
Although there are several varieties of wild strawberries, all of the species have similar medicinal properties. The leaves are a diuretic, astringent, and tonic and can be made into a mild and aromatic tea, which is most often used to treat diarrhea, intestinal and urinary complaints. Other traditional, though unsubstantiated, uses for strawberry leaf tea include leucorrhoea, catarrh (mucous) of the bladder, dysentery, rheumatism, rash, respiratory complaints, tension/stress, and water retention.
Strawberry leaves may also be added to bath water for aches and pains or used as a mouth and throat gargle. The German Commission E recommends preparations made from wild strawberry leaves for external use in treating rashes, as well as internally for treating gastrointestinal catarrh (mucous), diarrhea, intestinal toning, liver health maintenance, catarrh of respiratory passages, rheumatism, nervousness, bladder health maintenance, gravel, fever, as a diuretic and in support of vascular health.
The leaf is also recognized as a blood purifier and is indicated for treating night sweats, to stimulate digestion, in anemia, as a tonic, to reduce profuse menstruation and, finally, to support natural loss of weight.
Strawberry leaves contain: Condensed tannins, ellagitannins, including pedunculagin and agrimoniin; flavonoids and proanthocyanidins; a small amount of ascorbic acid; and a very small amount of essential oil. An antibiotic, fragarin, has been isolated from strawberry leaves. Guanosine diphosphate derivatives of D-xylose, D-mannose, D-glucose and D-galactose have been identified in mature strawberry leaves.
The ellagitannin content of strawberries has actually been associated with decreased rates of cancer death. In one study, strawberries topped a list of eight foods most linked to lower rates of cancer deaths among a group of over 1,000 elderly people. Those eating the most strawberries were three times less likely to develop cancer compared to those eating few or no strawberries.
A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry analyzed eight strawberry cultivars for their content of protective plant compounds (phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins) and their antioxidant capacities. Although the various cultivars differed significantly in the amounts of the various beneficial compounds each contained, all cultivars (Earliglow, Annapolis, Evangeline, Allstar, Sable, Sparkle, Jewel, and Mesabi) were able to significantly inhibit the proliferation of human liver cancer cells.
Interestingly, no relationship was found between a cultivar’s antioxidant content and its ability to inhibit cancer cell proliferation, which suggests that this beneficial effect of strawberries is caused by other actions of their many beneficial compounds.
Protection against Macular Degeneration
Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.
In this study, which involved over 110,000 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants’ consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neo-vascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss.
While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARMD, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease.
Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but strawberries can help you reach this goal. Top your morning cereal, lunch time yogurt or cottage cheese with fresh strawberries. Dress up any green salad with sliced strawberries, slivered almonds and a splash of balsamic vinegar. For an easy, elegant dessert, blend fresh or frozen strawberries with a spoonful of honey and some raw cow’s milk or yogurt. Freeze for 20 minutes, then spoon into serving cups and decorate with a sprig of mint.
Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis
While one study suggests that high doses of supplemental vitamin C makes osteoarthritis, (a type of degenerative arthritis that occurs with aging, worse in laboratory animals), another indicates that vitamin C-rich foods, such as strawberries, provide humans with protection against inflammatory poly-arthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.
The findings, presented in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases were drawn from a study of more than 20,000 subjects and focused on who developed inflammatory poly-arthritis and similar subjects who remained arthritis-free during the follow-up period. Subjects who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were more than three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who consumed the highest amounts.
In terms of traditional nutrients, strawberries emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. They also qualified as a very good source of dietary fiber and iodine as well as a good source of potassium, folate, riboflavin, vitamin B5, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin K, magnesium, and copper.
Strawberry leaf may elicit allergic reactions in people hypersensitive to strawberries. Do not use if you have known allergy to this plant.