Health Food in the Forest – Wild Strawberries -


Friday, May 3, 2019

Health Food in the Forest – Wild Strawberries

Health food has been right under our noses all along – at least it has for those of us who live where the wild strawberries grow. 

When I was a little kid playing outdoors all summer, we used to feel like we'd found treasure when we came across a berry patch in the grass. We'd sit on the ground and eat to our heart's delight. It never occurred to us that we were eating health food – only that we were having a treat that was as good or better than a candy bar. 
The small size made these wild berries precious, and picking them did not fill a bucket very fast, so very few made it home with us to our moms.
I recently ran across a history of their use – it may make you view them with new respect when you see them – and maybe make it worth your time to pick those tiny little gems.
The Indians here in the west used wild strawberries to cure a variety of ailments, beginning with colds. 

They probably did not know about the vitamin C content, but knew what helped. Other uses included:

  • Mashed strawberries were made into a paste and used to clean teeth and to treat toothache.
  • They used the juice to mix with water and bathe reddened eyes and to squeeze into inflated sores and onto sunburned skin to speed healing.
  • A tea made from the discharged leaves was used to relieve stomach troubles.
  • The strawberry's roots were harvested and made into bitters – for a Spring tonic and blood purifier.
My bet is that the settlers soon learned to copy them, since those old-time farm and ranch women had no corner drugstore. 

Other reading revealed that In the East, during the American Revolution, Minutemen were saved from scurvy by drinking tea made from the fresh green foliage of the wild strawberry.
So it appears that the entire plant has been used as a health tonic all across North America.
Next time you see a wild strawberry – do a bit of harvesting!

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