Scientific Name: Fragaria x ananassa
Strawberry is a matt-forming perennial herb that spreads along the ground with runners that root at the nodes to produce new plants. It has 3-lobed leaves and bears white flowers and produces the well known juicy red fruit. Strawberry needs full sun. Only new season plants bear big fruit — the older the plant, the smaller the fruit. Discard old plants from the previous season and keep only the new runners for the new season. Plant out young runners in spring or autumn. There are 12 species of Strawberries that grow wild in woods and grassy places in the cool climates of Europe, Northern Asia, Australia and North America. The garden strawberry was developed during the 18th century.
Harvesting and the parts that are used:
- Gather strawberry leaves throughout the growing season and use fresh or dried.
- Harvest the fruit when fully coloured.
- Roots can be dug out in winter.
Include a strawberry leaf in herb teas. Eat strawberries fresh or add to summer drinks or desserts. Cook up fruit into jam and syrup.
As both the roots and leaves of strawberry contain tannins, it has been popular for herbal remedies since the Middle Ages as an appetite stimulant, astringent, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. The Strawberry is rich in pectin, fibre, vitamins A, B, C , E, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and antioxidants
Crushed or mashed fresh strawberry fruit has been a popular cosmetic remedy for centuries. It can be applied:
- As an inexpensive face mask to whiten the skin, to remove freckles, to clear acne, and as a good toner and renovator
- As a teeth whitener — rub the mashed fruit on the teeth and leave on for a while before rinsing the mouth
- As an emergency treatment for mild sunburn, gently spread over the area
- On skin cancer spots daily
- On a ringworm infection, re-applying daily until the infection disappears.
- Eat strawberry fruit for gastritis and as a liver tonic after hepatitis.
Strawberry leaf tea:
A tea from the leaves is useful to treat diarrhoea. Take a half cup every hour.
Use as a mouth wash rinse for mucosal inflammation of the mouth.
Strawberry leaves and fruit are considered to be a cleansing diuretic for urinary tract disorders, rheumatism, gout and arthritis.
Combine in a tea with St. John's Wort for mild arthritic pain, or with celery seed for gout.
The young leaves have been used as a substitute for black tea.