A seasonal fruit if ever there was one, the delicate sweet taste and juicy flesh of wild strawberries delight the finest gourmets every summer… But did you know that wild strawberries are also a medicinal plant that have been used for centuries? for its many virtues? Instead of playing TonyBet, you should keep reading if you want to know more.
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Wild strawberries, a wild succulent
Discreet, small in size, the wild strawberry could easily go unnoticed until the appearance of its famous strawberries! It can also be easily confused with another Rosaceae, the false strawberry potentilla, which does not bear fruit and looks a lot like it.
This perennial plant is particularly happy in the undergrowth, forests, thickets and groves, the edges of paths and fields, as long as it finds shade there! Its short rhizome prefers cool, humus-rich soils with constant humidity.
Strawberry leaves unfold in three leaflets with a downy underside, supported by a long petiole. Its small white flowers with five petals bloom from May to July, before giving way to fruit. It should also be noted that the strawberry is what is called a “false fruit”: it is in fact the small yellow seeds on the surface of the strawberry, the achenes, which are the real fruits of the strawberry plant!
It is easy to understand this misuse of language as wild strawberries are a real delight for the taste buds! Low in calories, it is rich in vitamin C, iron and calcium. It is from its sweet and so characteristic perfume that its Latin name comes, fragaria certainly coming from the word fragare which means “to smell, to embalm” and gave in French the word “fragrance”… Quite a program!
The wild strawberry, from prehistory to the present day
If our prehistoric ancestors already appreciated wild strawberries in the Neolithic era, it is in Antiquity that we find the first traces of them with more precision. Pliny the Elder, then Ovid and Virgil mention it in several of their writings, but the medicinal virtues of the strawberry plant then seem unknown.
It was in the Middle Ages that the wild strawberry was cultivated for the first time in gardens and vegetable patches. King Charles V had more than a thousand plants planted in the parterres of the Louvre, for ornamental purposes. Then it was during the reign of Louis XIV, who was said to have loved strawberries, that his gardener Jean-Baptiste de la Quintinie decided to plant some in the gardens of the famous Palace of Versailles.
Wild strawberries were then multiplied simply by transplanting the stolon of each plant, a kind of creeping leafless stem with the ability to take root to naturally form a new foot. The English, who were also fond of strawberries, improved the technique by taking care to mulch the strawberry plants to protect them and improve their yield, which gave it its English name strawberry: “strawberry”.
Wild strawberry herbal medicine, diuretic and astringent remedy
The wild strawberry has been used for a long time as a natural remedy: its leaves of course, but also its roots and its strawberries have many virtues. The Italian doctor and botanist Matthiole spoke of it in these terms in the 16th century: “the leaves and roots make you urinate and are of great use to the spleen; a decoction of the root, taken as a drink, is used for inflammation of the liver and cleans the kidneys and bladder; Strawberry juice heals facial spots.