Along with new life, new leaves and new blooms, fresh herbs are in abundance in Spring. For me, this is the time to start collecting leafy herbs like strawberry leaf for storage. The garden strawberry is the most common plant of the genus Fragaria which is cultivated worldwide in the garden for its fruit. Although there are several varieties of wild strawberries, all of the species do have similar herbal properties, but mainly the leaves and rhizomes are used for this purposes. If left alone, this easy to grow perennial will successfully propagate itself and leave you with an abundance of perfectly usable parts.
The medicinal value of strawberry leaf is
similar to that of its cousin, the red raspberry which are both
rich in tannins, vitamin C and are known to posses diuretic and astringent qualities. Herbalists also regard the leaf as a tonic for the female reproductive system, using it in exactly the same way as raspberry. I like to recommend strawberry leaf tea to both pregnant and nursing mothers as well as young children due to the high contents of calcium, trace minerals and iron. The tea is almost as yummy as the berry, being fresh, mild and fruity.
Strawberry leaf tea has been used to treat a multitude of symptoms from eczema to stomach disorders. The tannins in the leaves are a gentle
remedy for diarrhea, intestinal and urinary complaints. Use the leaves in the bath water for soaking away aches and pains. The tea is also used for healthy teeth, gums and bones. Strawberry leaf has been known
to help heal wounds, scar tissue, and fractures; plus build resistance
to infection, and aid in the prevention and treatment of the common cold.
I harvest the young leaves throughout the spring and summer, but particularly during blossoming for the finest flavor, and the roots in autumn which are dried for later use. It's important to collect only the best leaves since it's common for the plant to have leaf blight, mold or fungus. Also, keep in mind that strawberry leaf may cause allergic reactions in people hypersensitive to strawberries, so don't use if you have known allergy's to this plant.
For a simple tea, drop a handful of fresh or 2 tsp dried herb into a teapot and pour boiling water over to fill. Cover and steep for five minutes. Sweeten with honey if needed.
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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.
Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.
Jessica Morgan, M.H.