According to modern herbalists, strawberry leaf tea stimulates the appetite. While this claim isn't supported by scientific investigations they suggest it may be valid. Throughout history, herbalists and apothecaries highly regarded the medicinal properties of the strawberry plant and prescribed it to treat many conditions.
To keep himself free from gout, an eighteenth century botanist and physician, Carolus Linnaeus, ate large amounts of the berries. During the seventeenth century a prominent herbalist claimed the berries 'cool the blood, liver and spleen, or a hot choleric stomach, refresh and comfort fainting spirits, and quench the thirst. They are good for inflammations, but it is best to refrain from them in a fever, lest they putrefy in the stomach and increase the fits'. Rasmussen, an Australian colonial herbalist, noted that a decoction of strawberry leaves was 'one of the best remedies for swollen gums and sore lips', and was 'a good gargle for sore throats'.
In folk medicine of modern times, strawberry tea has been taken as a tonic. The tea contains tannin, which makes it a useful remedy for diarrhoea, however herbalists advise that the fresh berries can be taken as a laxative. While the tea is pleasant to drink, it has a slight astringent taste due to the tannin content.
The plant's use in herbal medicine as a *haematinic and an *anti-dyspeptic is not supported by research, however this isn't to say that the plant doesn't have these actions.
Native to Europe, central Asia and North America, the plant grows wild in meadows, woods, and along roadsides. It's popular in New Zealand and Australia where it's widely cultivated.
Apart from being delicious to eat fresh, strawberries would have to be one of the most tasty medicines available.
*haematinic - an agent that stimulates blood cell formation or increases haemoglobin in the blood.
*anti-dyspeptic - a substance that helps to remedy indigestion.
Proprietor, author, and tutor of The Home Herbalist Online Course.