Tuesday, April 13, 2010

strawberry leaf tea

I have always dried my own herbs for culinary use. I savor my dried Oreganos, Basils, and Thymes throughout the winter months. The flavor of these freshly dried herbs is far more intense than anything that can be purchased at the grocery store. I have never really focused much on the medicinal use of herbs, even though one of my favorite reference books is Back to Eden, the herbal medicine guide written by Jethro Kloss in 1939, and revised and updated many times since. The book has sold over 5 million copies since it's original printing, and while it contains many outdated remedies, it also contains hundreds of tried and true common sense ways to use herbs to improve and maintain optimum health.

Last summer the CSA I belonged to, Pennypack Farm, had a Medicinal Garden that some of the members were working on as a special project, and it inspired me to focus on learning more about growing herbs with specific medicinal properties, and learning more about possible uses for some of the plants that already grow in my garden.

In reading Back to Eden, I discovered that Strawberry Leaves have a very beneficial quality to the entire digestive system, They are considered a tonic and a diuretic, and help to cleanse the stomach and intestines. Over the weekend I picked some Strawberry leaves from the garden and thoroughly washed them before dehydrating them in the oven. In a few hours I have a nice batch of dried Strawberry leaves to use as an herbal tea. The taste is a bit grassy and dull. Nothing at all like the fruit. I added some fresh Ginger and a small piece of Cinnamon to improve the flavor of the tea. I plan to continue to pick more of these leaves through the season, as well as harvesting some Blueberry Leaves, which I have discovered have even greater beneficial qualities than the Strawberry leaves do. My goal is to have at the end of this garden season, not just a nice supply of culinary herbs, but also a wide collection of medicinal herbs to last me through the Winter months.

Back To Eden


Mr Brown Thumb said...

Love this tip. I've been trying to grow a lot more plants that I can do this with in the garden and I'll have to remember the strawberry leaf tip.

Christopher Paquette said...

Glad you liked it Mr BT !

Let me know if you discover any others. I am going to post a few more possibilities over the weeks to come.

Anonymous said...

Sorry this is super late to the forum, but I have some good info for you;

The mint family (mentha species only), catnip, the melissa family (lemon balm), monardas (bee balms), lovage (a classic English herb), and even honeysuckle* can all be used for teas!

Now these herbs are all very strongly flavored, and many flavors can differ on the soil they're planted in. But, they are also very rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and even amino acids (don't take me to the grave on that one, though!)

Be sure to read up, though, on the benefits and drawbacks possible for each herb. ESPECIALLY the honeysuckle, which really should be talked over with a physician for some.

* http://www.teabenefits.com/herbal-tea-benefits/honeysuckle-tea-benefits.html