When thinking of Strawberry Leaf Tea, I always remember cozy winter evenings, sitting in the warmly scented kitchen, watching the snow fall and clinging to a steaming hot cup of tea that brings back your spirits after a cold day outside.
Off course you can drink the brew hot, iced, or, even frozen into popsicles for youngsters seeking a treat. If sweetened with honey instead of sugar, you don't even have to feel guilty, but enjoy the added health benefits of the honey.
Strawberry leaf tea tastes almost as delicious as the berry itself, with a mild and fruity flavor. The infusion offers many health benefits and is widely available in winter time, when the fresh fruit is long gone.
Actually it's not correct to call this drink herbal tea, since it's not made from the leaf of the tea plant. Instead the correct name would be herbal infusion, tisane or simply herbal.
The leaves contain many trace minerals, especially iron and calcium. The infusion is said to boost milk production in nursing women and therefore should be your no. 1 choice (especially, if you can't stand fennel like me).
Strawberry leaves are also a great source of vitamin C. Not as great as the fruit though, but still enough to give you a good reason to drink the herbal tea.
Many more benefits are claimed, amongst them a cure for several stomach problems including diarrhea. But it should go without saying that people allergic to strawberry better abstain from the tea as well.
If you want to enjoy the health benefits and the matchless flavor of strawberry herbal, you have three options:
Definitely the most time-consuming, but also the most rewarding way :-)
Harvest young leaves, in good condition, throughout the spring and summer, but particularly during blossoming for the finest flavor. Always be careful to use only sane leaves. Blight or spots found on strawberry leaf, can be a sign of a pernicious form of mold or fungus. To stay on the safe side, use only immaculate leaves.
You can harvest from either wild strawberries (if you're lucky enough to live where these plants still exist in our modern world) or domestic plants. Just make sure, no chemicals including fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides have been used during the growth of the plant, because residues can still be present in the plant and then in your tisane...
Use the leaves for tea either fresh or completely dry. Strawberry leaves experience a toxic chemical change while drying that makes them poisonous when partially dry or wilted. This is not lethal but will cause uncomfortable nausea and vomiting. No need to worry though when the leaf is entirely dry or fresh but not between the two.
How to Make Your Strawberry Leaf Tea
Drop a handful of fresh or dried herb into a warmed teapot and pour boiling water over to fill. Steep for about five minutes. Sweeten with honey if needed. Always take good care not to crush the dried herb as the flavor is much finer from the intact leaf.
In case you don't have access to wild or domestic strawberry plants, or just don't have the time and leisure to gather, dry and store your herbs; buying the dried leaves will save you a lot of work.
Beware though, to buy only best quality, organic grown, pesticide free herbs, like the strawberry leaves at Mountainroseherbs.
Personally, I prefer to drink Rooibos tea or white tea much more than fruit tea, but still want to benefit from the positive health effects of strawberry leaves. Therefore strawberry flavored tea is the ideal solution for me.
Just make sure you get tea with real strawberry pieces or leaves. If it's flavored with artificial aroma you won't get any of the beneficial minerals and vitamins :-(