What Are the Health Benefits of Strawberry Leaves?

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Strawberry leaves and stems offer multiple health benefits. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The leaves of strawberry plants can be used to brew various teas, and their nutrients can be extracted and combined with other ingredients in nutritional tablets meant to promote overall health and digestive function. Typically, strawberry leaves are dried, and used either whole or in fragments with some stem and flower particles. Strawberry leaves are primarily used to relieve gastrointestinal distress and joint pain; they also contain essential minerals and vitamins that may offer a wide range of benefits. Consult your doctor before using any herbal remedies, especially if you take medicines, because of the potential for interaction.

Digestive Effects

Strawberry leaf tea is most commonly used to improve digestion and balance the acids and bases throughout your digestive tract to relieve symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. Strawberry leaves contain tannins, bio-molecules that bind to proteins, amino acids, alkaloids and other compounds with a low pH that may place excess stress on your digestive system. Strawberry leaves may help alleviate an upset stomach, and reduce symptoms of nausea, bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhea. Seek your doctor's advice before trying this or any herbal remedy.

Arthritis

Compounds found in strawberry leaves, such as the natural diuretic caffeic acid, may help pull water out of your joints, which can alleviate pain and swelling associated with conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism. Arthritis is a chronic joint disorder that involves chronic inflammation of your body's joints, while rheumatism is a nonspecific form of chronic joint pain. Inflammation is caused by excess fluid retention in the soft tissues surrounding your joints, causing stiffness, pain and a loss of mobility. In a 2000 study published in "Neuroimmunomodulation," a journal, researchers suggest that caffeic acid may be useful as an anti-inflammatory compound.

Beneficial Minerals and Vitamins

Strawberry leaves contain trace minerals and vitamins, such as iron, calcium and vitamin C, that are important for the health and maintenance of many different body functions. The University of Maryland Medical Center, UMMC, says iron can improve red blood cell and hemoglobin production, helping treat anemia. UMMC also states that calcium helps support bone health and can prevent osteoporosis. Strawberry leaves also contain high amounts of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, which acts as a powerful antioxidant in your body. Professor Melvin H. Williams, in his book "Nutrition for Health, Fitness, and Sport," says vitamin C neutralizes the effects of free radicals and other potentially harmful toxins throughout your body, boosting your immune system and strengthening your ability to fight off infection and illness.

Precautions

Some important precautions must be taken with tea or capsules containing strawberry leaves or strawberry leaf extract. If you are allergic to strawberries, you may also experience a potentially severe allergic reaction to strawberry leaves, or the tannins and other compounds extracted from them. Signs of an allergic reaction to strawberry leaves include swelling of your face and neck, difficulty breathing, and the appearance of a skin rash or hives. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these symptoms after ingesting strawberry leaves or strawberry leaf extract.

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