How many times have you eaten a strawberry whole, leaves and all?
Most people are used to enjoying the red fruit, which can be prepared in a variety of ways: in salads, jams, cakes, sauces and more. But research suggests that strawberry leaves are nutritious, so the fruit itself is not the only way to reap a strawberry's health benefits.
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The dark green leaves that form a crown-like circle around the top of the strawberry are also a source of nutrients.
Strawberry leaves can be used in tea in order to reap their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Health Benefits of Strawberry Leaves
1. They're Rich in Antioxidants
Researchers in a June 2016 review in Antioxidants observed the benefits of berry leaves and their nutritional and medicinal value. They found that the leaves are rich in bioactive compounds, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
2. They're High in Vitamin C
The ruby-red fruit is a rich source of vitamin C — just five medium strawberries have about 40 percent of your Daily Value of the vitamin — but the leaves are, too, according to a November 2020 report in Molecules.
3. They Contain Anti-Microbial Properties
Using aggregated evidence, the Antioxidants paper suggests that berry leaves in any form (say, in strawberry leaf tea) may promote healthy functioning in the body.
An April 2014 article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that strawberry leaves may contain compounds that possess beneficial health properties, as well as defenses against microbial pathogens, though more research is needed to support this claim.
According to Bellarmine University, one species similar to the strawberry called Potentilla indica, "mock strawberry" or "Indian strawberry" contains leaves that were crushed and used medicinally for burns, boils, abscesses, insect bites and more.
How to Use Strawberry Leaves
You can use strawberry leaves just as you'd use any other leafy green. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add them to a fresh salad
- Blend them into smoothies
- Use them as a garnish
- Blend them into a pesto
- Make strawberry leaf tea by washing the leaves of any debris and then steeping them in boiling water for a few minutes
- Make strawberry-infused water using not only the fruit but the leaves as well