OK, so my strawberry patch is officially out of control 🙂 Along with the pain-in-the-butt, non-edible portion of my yard, and parts of my garden. Last summer I was enormous, read: 8,9, and 10 months pregnant, (and on bed rest), so, needless to say everything growing is quite neglected. With Sweet Baby strapped to my back, we’ve been making a valiant effort to reign it all in. It’s hard though. Just look at my strawberries.
I’m not sure I will even be able to find the fruits when they ripen. (But not to worry, the birds will surely find them first!)
I decided to take advantage of my over-abundance of foliage and picked myself a big ‘ol mess of strawberry leaf, Fragaria vesca and set it to dry. Similar to the red-raspberry, the strawberry plant has edible roots, leaves and fruits. Strawberry leaves have wonderful medicinal properties, and this common plant is present in many backyard gardens, yet the leaves are not often given a second thought.
For a long time, I didn’t realize that I was over-looking a medicinal resource in my garden. Fresh strawberries have always been a love-affair of mine, and I have grown them since my very first garden. I have only recently been harvesting the leaves though. With tea being my other lover, I was reading the back of one of my favorite loose leaf varieties one day, and saw strawberry leaf as an ingredient. Since I am quite fond of mixing up my own tea blends from wildcrafted or home-grown ingredients, I was a bit amiss to have realized that I had been neglecting such a wonderful tea ingredient in my own back yard!
But alas… some days it feels like I am just starting on my herbal journey, and I remind myself there is so much to learn and to be patient with myself.
After the strawberry plant flowers you can harvest your strawberry leaves and dry them for teas, extracts and infusions, or pulverize and add to an herbal capsule.
Strawberry leaf is rich in tannins, contains vitamin C and other vitamins and trace minerals; along with antioxidant flavonoids, caffeic acid, iron and calcium.
It is used mainly to treat digestive ailments such as diarrhea, nausea, bloating and cramps. Strawberry leaf also has astringent and diuretic properties. It is said that caffeic acid, being a natural diuretic, helps to pull water from your joints, which can alleviate the pain and swelling caused by arthritis and rheumatism.
A cousin to red raspberry leaf, strawberry leaf is helpful for women in relieving menstrual cramps and bloating. It is an important spring tonic, like nettle, and has a mild and fruity flavor.
Once my leaves have completely dried I will store them as intact as possible in an airtight jar. I crush or chop my dried herbs at the time of use (whenever I can) to retain potency.
If you don’t have a strawberry patch, but need a good source for strawberry leaf, Mountain Rose Herbs is my trusted herbal resource.
What about you? Have you been utilizing your strawberry leaf, or do you aim to start?
I’d love to hear from you 🙂 Connect with me on facebook or Pinterest. Don’t forget to Pin this post by selecting the Pinterest icon in the left side bar. Add this info to your herbal pin-board as a reminder to get out and and pick those leaves!
**Remember, I am not a doctor or an expert. Nor am I a butcher, or baker, or candlestick maker, and I thoughtfully encourage you to do your own research on topics of interest to you. The remedies suggested are not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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