The Health Benefits of Strawberries (Fragaria Vesca)
Also known as “Alpine Strawberry” and “Wild Strawberry”.
Thank you for joining today’s Plant Walk. Today’s topic is about the amazing health benefits that both the Strawberry and its leafy green parts embody. Strawberries are part of the rose family and are native to North America. They dangle on the vine, are soft, and when crushed, have a very strong Strawberry scent. Once you finish this wee read and discover the nutritional benefits, you will quickly realize that a Strawberry’s sweetness extends far beyond it’s flavour.
There are over 600 varieties of Strawberries and in Ontario and we are finally seeing some fresh local ruby coloured gems make a grand appearance in our gardens, the wild, and in our local markets and shops.
About 5 years ago, without prompting or influence, I started eating Strawberries whole - including the green leaves and small stems. I know that this might sound odd as usually we are served Strawberries with the green parts cut away but intuitively I felt like those leafy greens contained medicinal benefits. Just recently, I discovered what those benefits are and I am so excited to share them with you.
BOTH the red juicy fruit of the Strawberry and its green leafy parts are packed full with medicinal benefits and the flavour is SWEET to boot! Because the fun medicinal facts about Strawberries are extensive, I have compacted and made dot jot notes to summarize my favourite tidbits of information that I think you will find most interesting.
About the StrawBERRY:
(Actually fun fact - the Strawberry isn’t actually a typical berry!)
Strawberries are packed full of Vitamin C. In a cup of berries you can get ~100 milligrams which is more than the recommended daily allowance for an average adult! The Canadian Vitamin C RDA (recommended daily allowance) currently stands at 75-90 mg/day.
Strawberries are low on the glycemic index (40) making them a good food choice for diabetics.
Strawberries contain anthocyanins which is a flavonoid known to reduce the risk of heart disease. Anthocyanins are also what gives the berries their beautiful rich red colouring. To gain the full benefit from the anthocyanins, make sure that the Strawberries are fully ripe and red when you consume them.
Strawberries contain polyphenols which means that they may also be helpful for lowering blood pressure.
Strawberries also contain folic acid, anti-oxidants, ellagic acid, and kaempferol which have been shown to be anti-cancer protectants.
Strawberries also contain quercetin which is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, fighter of free radicals, and has many more delicious health super powers.
Okay, so those are some amazing quick Strawberry fun health facts for you. Clearly these ruby coloured gems pack a big punch in the medicinal realm but what about their leaves? Well, you will definitely want to start eating or infusing the leaves once you read on!
Beyond the Berry - The Green Leaves:
The green leafy parts of a Strawberry carry a LOT of medicinal benefits to them too so don’t cut them out next time you enjoy the fruit. The leaves are practically flavourless but the slight taste you may experience is a bitter one (which isn’t so bitter after-all :P ). We all know that bitter foods are great for liver health and good for digestion. The leaves are also astringent, tonifying and have diuretic properties which is great for the lymphatic system. They are also known to help prevent night sweats and are good for eczema if taken internally and used as a wash. Furthermore, they contain caffeic acid (not caffeine) which has been shown to reduce arthritis symptoms and inflammation of the joints. Lastly, the leaves also contain and provide trace minerals such as iron, calcium and more vitamin C (YUM!).
If you aren’t keen on eating the Strawberry whole like I do, green parts and all, you can actually remove the green leaves and make a wonderful nutritional herbal infusion with them.
How To Make An Infusion:
To make a Strawberry leaf infusion and utilize the benefits of this powerhouse Plant, use freshly picked or dried Strawberry leaves. Add a heaping teaspoon of dried leaves into a cup of hot water or 4 or 5 fresh leaves, then let steep for 10-15 minutes, strain and enjoy.
Thank you for joining my first online Plant Walk. I hope you enjoyed the flavour of the week ;)
Please remember that there is much more to the Plants discussed in this Plant Walk series than can summarize in my wee articles. It is impossible for me to epitomize the depth that each Herb embodies so if a Plant that we come across resonates with you, I encourage you to personally dive deeper and establish a stronger spiritual connection with that Herb yourself and/or with a trained professional. This series is meant to uplift and empower so please take it lightly and do NOT use the information provided as a diagnostic tool or medical advice. Thank you for your understanding.
Sending Love and Light
Lisa Marie Holmes
Source: Jo Franck, Master Herbalist.