Fragaria is a plant of the Rosaceae, commonly known as strawberry. There are over 20 species and hybrids of this plant, the most well-known species being the common strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa). With a history of over 2,200 years, strawberries have been found since ancient times on both the European and American continents. They were officially discovered in Virginia by the first explorers in 1588.
With antibiotic, bactericidal, anti-inflammatory, tonic, nutritive, reminiscent, alkalinizing, and cholesterol-lowering effects, strawberry is one of the most cultivated berries and used therapeutically since ancient times.
History of strawberries
The first strawberries were grown in France at the end of the eighteenth century.
However, wild strawberry species have been grown since ancient times, strawberries being a fruit mentioned in the ancient literature in Rome.
Thus, it was used to treat melancholy, fainting, inflammation, fever, infections, unpleasant smell, and many other conditions.
Beginning with the year of 1300, AD, the French began to take plants from the woods and grow them in the garden for decorative purposes. Charles V, the King of France between 1364 and 1380 had over 1,200 strawberries in the royal garden of the Louvre.
Species vary in both size and color, flavor and cultivation steps.
However, the plant of the most common species, namely garden strawberries, has a height of no more than 40 cm and grows both alone and in groups.
The leaves have an intense green color and are made up of 3 serrated lobes and protruding ribs.
Flowers are small and white.
Moreover, these are the only fruits that have the seeds placed outside them on the bark, which is why botanists do not consider them as part of the same family as blueberries or blackberries (which have the seeds
Cultivation of strawberries
Strawberry is planted from the end of September until the end of October, being harvested in mid-June.
Unlike other fruits, strawberries do not continue to bake after harvest.
Plants are perennial, which means they will grow for several years, even if they do not produce fruits in the first year.
Did you know that…
- In Belgium, there is a museum dedicated to strawberries, where different foods can be purchased from these fruits, from jam to beer.
- Madame Tallien, one of the most emblematic attendees at Napoleon’s Court, was known for the baths she made in strawberry juice. She was using about 9 kg/bath.
- In France, strawberries were used as aphrodisiacs. Thus, a thin strawberry soup, a lamb’s tongue, and sugar were served to young married people.
- In some parts of Bavaria, people in the countryside practice an annual ritual linking small strawberries to the horns of the cattle as a sacrifice for elves. Tradition says that elves like strawberries and such a sacrifice will help cattle to make healthy calves and give a lot of milk
Strawberries: Health Benefits
For therapeutic purposes, both the leaves and the rhizomes but especially the fruits of strawberry are used.
The strawberries plants but especially the fruits are rich in vitamins (C, B1, B2, E), salicylic, elagic and pantothenic acid, proteins, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium, proteins, and sugars.
Thus, strawberries are recommended for treating rheumatism, kidney disease, gout, constipation, arterial hypertension, hepato-biliary disorders, eczema, insomnia, acne, obesity, and many other conditions.
Keep reading for more benefits of strawberries for health.
Strengthen the immune system
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. One serving contains 51.5 mg of vitamin C, that is, 50% of the daily requirement. Vitamin C is already well-known for its immune stimulating properties, while being an effective antioxidant.
Helps maintain healthy eyes
Antioxidant properties of strawberries prevent cataracts, and the large vitamin composition protects against sunlight and improves the cornea and the retina.
According to a study by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, vitamin C in exaggerated doses may increase the risk of developing cataracts in women over 65, but only if taken from supplements and not from fruits or vegetables.
Fights against cancer
Strawberries contain lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants and elagic acid, a highly beneficial phytochemical.
It has been shown that elagic acid has anti-cancer properties.
Vitamin C found in strawberries produces collagen, beneficial for maintaining the elasticity of the skin and according to researchers from South Korea’s Hallym University, elagic acid prevents collagen destruction and inflammation of the skin, these being the main causes of wrinkles.
Strawberry phytochemicals counteract the effects of LDL lipoproteins, which may cause the formation of a plaque in the arteries.
Consumption of strawberries reduces the blood lipids levels, which in large quantities can be deposited on the walls of the arteries.
Strawberries have the property of reducing joint inflammation, which could cause arthritis.
Also, according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, women who eat 16 strawberries a week are 14% less likely to have high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).
They maintain a normal blood pressure value
A serving of strawberries contains 134 mg of potassium and helps maintain blood pressure at the normal level, acting as a shock absorber against the negative effects of sodium.
Thus, reducing LDL lipoprotein, inflammation, and blood pressure, strawberries are considered to be the best fruits for heart health.
Keep the weight under control
Strawberries are low in sodium, sugar, and calories (around 28 kcal per serving).
Strawberries contain natural sugars but do not exceed 4g per serving, while the total carbohydrate content is equivalent to less than half of the carbohydrate content of a slice of bread.
Triple your portion and you’ll have a snack with less than 100 calories, which is much healthier than snacks with the same number of calories, according to the dietitian doctors.
They are healthy in the prenatal period
Folic acid is recommended for pregnant women or those who want a pregnancy, and strawberries contain 21 mg per serving. This type of vitamin B helps the fetus to develop its skull and spinal cord.
Strawberries: Nutrition and beauty
- 8 medium-sized strawberries provide 140% of recommended daily vitamin C and 20% of folic acid recommended for pregnant women.
- A strawberry jug has only 55 calories.
- Strawberries contain a very high level of nitrates, which improve the circulation of blood and oxygen through the muscles.
Thus, they can be eaten before training for better endurance and for calorie burning.
Shuffled with honey, strawberries can be used to treat burns and inflammation, and besides, strawberries are extremely effective in treating oily skin, with acne, dilated pores and black dots. You can make masks made from fresh strawberries fruits, possibly mixed with lemon juice and yogurt.
Strawberries: Preparation and storage of strawberries
- Can be eaten fresh, dried, pickled, compote, or as jam.
- They can be stored fresh in the refrigerator for a few days after they are dried and cleaned by stalks.
- They can be frozen and stored for about 7 to 9 months – For freezing, they must be washed and dried in advance, and may be frozen both in boiling and in natural condition.