Before modern medicine, the Europeans and Native Americans had numerous medicinal applications for strawberries – dried or fresh. The leaves, roots, and fruits had various uses and applications.
The leaves, which are gathered in the spring and summer time, were dried and used as an infusion or to draw a tea. It was used as an astringent, a laxative, a diuretic, and as a tonic.
Leaves were also used for treating anaemia, bladder and kidney ailments, gastrointestinal troubles, gout, jaundice, nervousness, rheumatism, and scurvy. It was used for breaking kidney stones, bladder stones, and gallstones.
However, the wilting leaves contain hydrocyanic acid or cyanide and therefore could not be consumed. These leaves found external uses. Leaf tea was used as a rinse for treating acne and eczema. It was also used in soaps and cosmetics for clear complexion and revitalizing the skin.
The roots, which were dried in autumn, were used and make an extract that served as an astringent and as a diuretic. It served as a gargle for treating sore throats and mouths. It also used to treat stomach and lung ailments and gonorrhoea.
Fresh fruits were used as a cooler for reducing body temperatures during a fever and for removing tartar from teeth. Fruits were also used for treating gout, scurvy, and tuberculosis.
The fruits were also used externally as a wash or as a dressing for treating sunburns. Madame Tallien, a prominent figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, was famous for bathing in the juice of fresh strawberries. She reportedly used 22 pounds per basin.
Strawberries are still used by many people as prevention or cure for various ailments and shortage of nutrients. The fruits contain ellagic acid, a natural phenol phytochemical oxidant, which is believed to protect the body cells from cancer. Not only do strawberries provide fibre, potassium, folate and antioxidants, but they also contain several bioactive compounds (called flavonoids) that are known to help protect against chronic diseases.
Therefore, we advise that you stock up, freeze or dry and ensure that you enjoy these delicious and versatile fruits on a regular basis.