Fragaria glauca – Strawberry
Strawberry – Fragaria glauca
Fragaria = fra-gah-ree-a, from Latin fraga, referring to the scent of the plant;
Identification: This common perennial herb is very similar to the cultivated strawberry but has smaller flowers and fruit. The flowers are white, usually with several on each stalk. The flowers have five bractlets, sepals and petals, with many stamens and carpels. This plant usually forms long stolons which root and form new plants. The leaflets are in threes, and are coarsely serrated, usually with silky hairs beneath. The roots are short and scaly. The juicy fruit is red, with numerous minute seed-like achenes, scattered over it.
Distribution & Habitat: Strawberries are often in open areas, along “cut lines”, meadows or alpine areas.
Preparation & Uses:
“Doubtless God could have made a better fruit than the strawberry, but doubtless God never did.”
–Dr. William Butler
The berries of strawberry are small but sweet and very delicious. They may be used in the same ways as domestic varieties but I prefer the wild ones. My favourite way to eat them is to mix a large bowl of strawberries with whipped cream and then to pour the mixture into a thick, whole grain baked pieshell. Chill and eat. Oh so good!
Strawberries can also be dried for future use. The leaves are extremely high in vitamin C and are also said to tone up one s appetite. The leaves make a pleasant tea to which other herbs can be added.
Lust states that the leaves and root are an astringent, diuretic, tonic and useful in checking dysentery. Extract of wild strawberry root is commonly found in drugstores across Canada to relieve diarrhea. Strawberry leaves are sometimes effective against eczema and acne. Fresh strawberry juice makes a good refrigerant for fevers. Hutchens lists it as a blood purifier and blood builder agent.
The strawberry leaves are also listed in many early pharmacopeias. Culpepper declares it to be “singly good for healing of many ills.“ Linnaeus (the father of botany) found the berries a good cure for rheumatic gout.
The fresh fruit of the strawberries removes discolouration from teeth. The juice should be allowed to remain on the teeth for about five minutes, then be cleaned off with warm water, to which a pinch of bicarbonate of soda has been added.
A cut strawberry, rubbed over the skin immediately after washing, will whiten it and help remove slight sunburn. For a badly sunburnt face, it is recommended to rub the juice well into the skin and to leave it on for about half an hour. Then wash it off with warm water to which a few drops of simple tincture of benzoin have been added. No soap should be used. The leaves have been used in baths for pain and aches in the hips and thighs. It would probably also be good to drink some tea of the leaves at the same time.
The Cree Indians call it otehimika. They made a tea of the root, combined with yarrow, and gave it in the form of a cooled tea to cure insanity. he Blackfoot used extract of the boiled roots to treat diarrhea, calling the plant otsistini. The boiled leaves can be applied as a poultice to take heat away from wounds. The herb, boiled and eaten, will strengthen gums, fasten teeth, soothe inflamed eyes, and will help hayfever if used enough.