(Natural News) Did you know that strawberries have medicinal properties, too? Strawberries are among the most recognizable fruits of all, not only for their distinct, heart-shaped, seed-studded appearance but also for their sweet, fruity taste. Their leaves, however, have long been used to treat various illnesses, including gastrointestinal problems.
Although not too apparent these days, thanks to its popularity as a food item, strawberries have been used as medicine for a long time. The ancient Romans had much faith in the plant’s health-beneficial properties, considering it an effective digestive aid and treatment for melancholy. They also used it to mask bad breath.
The 16th and 17th centuries saw strawberries rise in repute into important components of a healthy diet, with one medieval herbalist calling it “singularly good for the healing of many ills.” Even Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, reportedly proved its effectiveness against gout.
All parts of the strawberry, including the roots and the crowns, may be incorporated into medicinal concoctions, but it’s the leaves that are used most often. They are known to have a mild diuretic effect, mostly due to their high tannin concentration, as well as laxative properties.
When brewed as tea, the leaves can be used to treat both diarrhea and dysentery. The leaves are noted to have a mild fruity flavor and can soothe a troubled stomach.
To prepare your very own strawberry leaf tea, you will need young leaves in good condition, preferably, ones obtained during blossoming. It is at this stage when the leaves have the finest flavor. Do not use ones with bright spots or blight as these can be signs of mold – use only those that look clean.
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You need to keep in mind that like raspberry leaves, partially wilted or dried strawberry leaves undergo a chemical change that makes them toxic. Although not deadly, these toxins can cause nausea and vomiting. Use only those leaves that are fresh or completely dry.
To brew your tea, simply add boiling water to a teaspoon of crushed strawberry leaves. Steep for five to 10 minutes, strain, and enjoy. For diarrhea and dysentery, you may need to drink several cups of the tea in a day. As long as you used the right kind of leaf (either dry or fresh leaves), you won’t need to worry about any adverse effects as strawberry leaf tea is not noted to have any toxic dosage.
Nutritional benefits of strawberries
There’s more to strawberries than their sweetness. They are rich in various health-boosting phytochemicals, including anthocyanins, flavonols, flavanols, ellagitannins, ellagic acid glycosides, and cinnamic acid conjugates. Both the fruits and the leaves are excellent sources of vitamin C, as well as a host of other antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These give strawberries plenty of health benefits, such as:
- Supporting a healthy heart – The phenolic compounds present in strawberries inhibit the formation of total and bad cholesterol, relax the blood vessels, and improve overall blood flow.
- Promoting a fully functional brain – The presence of iodine and vitamin C in strawberries means that eating these delectable fruits could help your brain stay healthy. The fruit’s anthocyanins and flavonoids have also been linked to lower incidences of cognitive decline among older individuals.
- Preventing cancer – As an antioxidant-rich food, strawberries protect your cells from damage and make your body less prone to cancer growth. They have also been shown to inhibit metastasis in some studies.
- Boosting your immunity – A single serving of strawberries can supply 150 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. This nutrient is your best defense against common illnesses like the common cough and cold.
- Aiding in weight loss – Strawberries suppress appetite and decrease glucose, making them extremely valuable if you are looking for ways to cut back on calories. They also enhance the production of fat-burning hormones adiponectin and leptin.
- Fighting aging – The antioxidant content of strawberries protect your cells from damage and boosts the production of collagen to give you a young-looking appearance. Its anthocyanins also protect you from the harmful effects of UV rays from the sun. To make good use of the salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and ellagic acid in strawberries, you can combine the crushed fruits with honey and turn them into a facial mask.
Discover why fruits are essential to your diet at Fruits.news.