Low-growing perennial herb spread by runners. Has 3-lobed leaves, white flowers, and small red berries.
Habitat & Cultivation
Wild strawberry is native to Europe and temperate regions of Asia. The leaves and fruit are gathered in early summer.
The leaves contain flavonoids, tannins, and a volatile oil. The fruit contains fruit acids and a volatile oil with methyl salicylate and borneol.
History & Folklore
Wild strawberry appears to have been little used medicinally until the Middle Ages. Writing in 1652, Nicholas Culpeper listed its benefits: “the berries are excellent good to cool the liver, the blood, and the spleen, or a hot cholerick stomach … the leaves and roots thereof [are] also good to fasten loose teeth and to heal spongy foul gums.”
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Wild strawberry leaves are mildly astringent and diuretic. The plant is little used medicinally today, but it can be taken to treat diarrhea and dysentery. The leaves were used as a gargle for sore throats, and in a lotion for minor burns and grazes. In Europe, the fruit is considered to have cooling and diuretic properties, and has been prescribed as part of a diet in cases of tuberculosis, gout, arthritis, and rheumatism.