May 21st is National Strawberries and Cream day: following article is from All About Thyme
(This seems to be the week for strawberries-lol- I read this and since it fell on a thursday-thought perfect. I had to go early this morning for some routine tests in town, and then when I got back; went to a friend's place in town who said they had picked all the strawberries they wanted, and so I could pick. I ended up with about 5 qts, small but will still be nice to enjoy. The place I had picked before, got froze out and flooded out two springs in a row now, so they are not doing the strawberries any more.
I am thinking of doing what Diana was thinking of doing, and may make a chocolate cake or a chocolate angel food cake for these strawberries.
A beautiful day again here, but the pollen count is extremely high-and I got a major allergy attack two nights ago-not good.)
The wild strawberry, also known as alpine strawberry, was once very popular as a therapeutic herb. In fact, all parts of the plant, including the leaves, roots, stems and fruits, were used to treat various disorders. While the roots of the strawberry plant were a common medication for diarrhea, the stem was useful for treating wounds. On the other hand, the berries were regarded as a calming medication. According to herbalist Gerard, the strawberries not only satiated thirst and cool the heat in the stomach, but also cures the inflammation of the liver. However, he had warned that consuming strawberries during the winter or on ‘cold stomach’ was a hazard as it could lead to cough and digestive disorders.
It may be mentioned here that during the summers, hikers often break their journeys to taste the wild strawberries that have a fragrance that reminds one of roses. In the past, herbalists as well as pharmacists valued the strawberries highly for their therapeutic properties and suggested their use to treat a number of disorders. According to a herbalist of the 17th century, the strawberries caused a calming effect on the liver, spleen and blood and even the irritating stomach. At the same time, the berries satiated thirst as well as stimulated and soothed the fainting spirits. He further said that the strawberries were effective to cure inflammations, but advised people to avoid using them during fevers as they might cause acidity in the stomach and give rise to hysterics.
Another botanist and a physician of the 18th century, Carolus Linnaeus is said to have consumed plenty of strawberries regularly with a view to keep himself free from gout. Although the berries are still recommended for curing the disorder, there is no scientific evidence that suggests their effectiveness in such cases. In the 20th century strawberry tea was in vogue as a tonic. As the tea was somewhat caustic to taste, it was used to treat diarrhea and also in the form of gargle for aching throat. Many herbal medicine practitioners also prescribe eating the fresh strawberry fruits to promote bowel movements.
PARTS USEDLeaves, fruit, root.
USESThe leaves of the wild strawberry plant are gently astringent in nature and hence are used as a diuretic to enhance the outflow of urine. Although the strawberry plant is hardly in use these days as a therapeutic herb, one may still use it to cure stomach disorders like diarrhea and dysentery. While the leaves are boiled in water and used as a gargle to treat aching throat, they also form an important ingredient in some lotions used to treat burns and scrape or scratches on the skin. Many herbalists in Europe still use the leaves of the strawberry plant as a diuretic and often recommend them as dietary supplements to cure disorders such as tuberculosis, arthritis, gout and rheumatism or joint pains.
HABITAT AND CULTIVATIONWild strawberries are indigenous to all parts of Europe and the temperate climatic zones in the Asian continent. The leaves and fruits of the plant, which possess high medicinal value, are harvested during early summer.
CONSTITUENTSWild strawberries contains tannins, mucilage, sugars, fruit acids, salicylates, minerals, vitamins B, C, E.
APPLICATIONSWild strawberries have multiple therapeutic advantages and different parts of the herb may be applied in different forms. While the leaves of wild strawberry may be used to prepare an infusion, the fruits may be eaten fresh or applied as a poultice and also taken as tonic wine.
- INFUSION: Infusion prepared with the leaves of wild strawberry may be taken to cure diarrhea, inflammation in the gastric tract, infection as well as jaundice. This infusion is also effective to invigorate the appetite. Blended with other herbs like meadowsweet and St. John’s wort, the infusion may also be taken to treat arthritic pains. When combined with celery seeds, the infusion may be used to cure gout.
- FRESH: Eating fresh strawberries acts as a tonic for the liver and is also beneficial for curing gastritis. Strawberries are also effective for speedy convalescence or recuperation after a bout of hepatitis. In addition, these fruits provide a calming effect during feverish situations, and do not lead to fermentation in the stomach.
POULTICE: Crushed strawberries may be applied on the skin affected by sunburn. It is also helpful in treating skin irritations.
TONIC WINE: Permeate strawberries in wine to prepare a conventional medication to ‘revive the spirits and make the heart merrier'.