encyclopedia

Strawberry Leaves

Scientific Names:
Fragaria vesca L. [Fam. Rosaceae]

Forms:
Tea made from the crushed and dried leaves of Fragaria vesca L.

Traditional Usage:
– Aches and Pains
– Antibacterial
– Antifungal
– Antioxidant
– Astringent
– Bladder Health Maintenance
– Catarrh
– Diarrhea
– Digestive Health Maintenance
– Diuretic
– Dysentery
– Intestinal Difficulties
– Liver Health Maintenance
– Mouthwash
– Nerve Health Maintenance
– Poultice
– Rash
– Respiratory Health Maintenance
– Rheumatism
– Skin Problems
– Tonic
– Ulcers
– Vascular Disorders
– Weight Loss

Overview:
Strawberry, Fragaria vesca L. [Fam. Rosaceae] is perennial plant indigenous to Europe. Although there are several varieties of wild strawberries, all of the species have similar medicinal properties. The leaves are a diuretic, astringent, and tonic and can be made into a mild and aromatic tea, which is most often used to treat diarrhea, intestinal and urinary complaints. Other traditional, though unsubstantiated, uses for strawberry leaf tea include leucorrhoea, catarrh (mucous) of the bladder, dysentery, rheumatism, rash, respiratory complaints, tension, and water retention. Strawberry leaves may also be added to bath water for aches and pains or used as a mouth and throat gargle. The German Commission E recommends preparations made from wild strawberry leaves for external use in treating rashes, as well as internally for treating gastrointestinal catarrh (mucous), diarrhea, intestinal toning, liver health maintenance, catarrh of respiratory passages, rheumatism, nervousness, bladder health maintenance, gravel, fever, as a diuretic and in support of vascular health. The leaf is also recognized as a blood purifier and is indicated for treating night sweats, to stimulate digestion, in anemia, as a tonic, to reduce profuse menstruation and, finally, to support natural loss of weight. The Commission E notes that activity in the indications has not been adequately substantiated. The anti-ulcer properties of water-soluble procyanidins prepared by fermentation of tannins from Fragaria vesca have also been studied. Complexes of procyanidins and cimetidine (an antiulcer drug) were prepared. The procyanidins increased the water-solubility of the cimetidine and prevented undesirable nitrosamine formation in the stomach by blocking its cyanamide function. An antibiotic, fragarin, has been isolated from strawberry leaves and may be a new kind of preformed antimicrobial compound (phytoanticipin). Antioxidant activity in the fruits and leaves of strawberry, blackberry and raspberry vary by developmental stage and leaves were found to have higher antioxidant activity.

Active Ingredients:
Strawberry leaves contain: Condensed tannins, ellagitannins, including pedunculagin and agrimoniin; flavonoids and proanthocyanidins; a small amount of ascorbic acid; and a very small amount of essential oil. An antibiotic, fragarin, has been isolated from strawberry leaves. Guanosine diphosphate derivatives of D-xylose, D-mannose, D-glucose and D-galactose have been identified in mature strawberry leaves.

Suggested Amount:
Strawberry leaves may be taken as a tea. To make the infusion pour boiling water over 1 gram of crushed strawberry leaf, steep for 5-10 minutes, and then strain. For diarrhea, drink several cups per day. (1 teaspoon crushed leaf = ca. 1 gram).

Drug Interactions:
None known.

Contraindications:
Strawberry leaf may elicit allergic reactions in people hypersensitive to strawberries. Do not use if you have known allergy to this plant.

Side Effects:
None known.

References:

Filippone MP, Diaz-Ricci JC, Castagnaro AP, Farias RN. Effect of fragarin on the cytoplasmic membrane of the phytopathogen Clavibacter michiganensis. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2001 Jul; 14(7): 925-8.

Selvendran RR, Isherwood FA. Identification of guanosine diphosphate derivatives of D-xylose, D-mannose, D-glucose and D-galactose in mature strawberry leaves. Biochem J. 1967 Nov; 105(2): 723-8.

Vennat B, Gross D, Pourrat H, Pourrat A, Bastide P, Bastide J. Anti-ulcer activity of procyanidins preparation of water-soluble procyanidin-cimetidine complexes. Pharm Acta Helv. 1989; 64(11): 316-20.

Wang SY, Lin HS. Antioxidant activity in fruits and leaves of blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry varies with cultivar and developmental stage. J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Feb; 48(2): 140-6.

Wichtl M and NG Bisset (eds). 1994. Fragariea folium – Wild strawberry leaf. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 206-207.