During the summer I tend to craft a lot of food and fresh herb based products, more than any other season. I recently went strawberry picking with my family so I decided to share my recipe for strawberry leaf infusion. This is an excellent recipe that uses part of a plant that is usually thrown away. Strawberry leaf infusion has many uses in cosmetics and food.
8-10 organic strawberry caps
1 cup of distilled or spring water
Remove the caps (leaves) from the strawberries. Let them air dry for one or two days, until the caps are dried. Boil the water. You may want to crumble the leaves, or you can leave them whole. Add the leaves to the boiling water. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let the leaves steep for at least 20 minutes to an hour. Strain. Pour into a clean, sanitized bottle. Store it in the fridge.Notes:
Shelf life of the infusion (without a preservative) is only a few days, refrigerated. To extend the shelf life of preservative free infusions, you can freeze them in ice cube trays. If you add a preservative (for cosmetic use), I suggest using it up within a few weeks, for best results. If making the infusion to drink, I would make it fresh each time, or store the unpreserved infusion in the fridge, and drink it up within a few days.
I like using mister bottles if using the infusion for toners. I prefer using a squeeze bottle if I am using it for a hair rinse. But you can use a regular bottle too, if you prefer.
Strawberry leaves are astringent. They contain tannins and antioxidants, including ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and flavonoids. It has many trace nutrients too.
The infusion is good for oily skin, including skin that is oily because it is dehydrated. But I have used this infusion when my skin and hair are on the dry side too. The infusion is hydrating.
If you are allergic to strawberries, do not use the leaf infusion.
To use as a facial toner:
Use after cleansing and before moisturizing. You can also use strawberry leaf infusion as a hydrating mist throughout the day.
To use as a hair rinse:
After shampooing the hair, apply to the hair and scalp and let it sit for at least a few minutes. Some people like to rinse their hair with water after using an infusion and some people don’t. Personally I rinse it out.
Other cosmetic uses:
You can use strawberry leaf infusion as the water phase in masks, lotions, or creams. If using it in masks, lotions, creams, and other skin care products, make sure you add a preservative (there are many natural, more natural, and eco cert preservatives available). If you want a preservative free product, refrigerate your product and use up the mask within a few days, and the lotion or cream within a week or two. Be sure to use a clean spatula when handling fresh natural products. You may also want to package lotions and thin creams in airless containers.
You can use strawberry leaves as a facial steam. Add the leaves to boiling water, use a towel to make a ‘tent’, and steam your face for 5-10 minutes. Do not steam your face if you have very sensitive skin or thread veins.
Strawberry leaf infusion is a good additive to bath water. Let it cool somewhat before adding it to the bath, so you don’t accidentally burn yourself. It is supposed to be good for achy muscles.
Many people drink strawberry leaf infusion (an infusion is a kind of strong tea). It is delicious hot or cold. It is said to be good for digestion. Some people only like to steep the leaves for a few minutes, but I prefer steeping them for longer.
I highly recommend using certified organic strawberries or buying locally from a farm that grows their produce in a more sustainable, eco-friendly, or organic manner. Or pick your own at local farms, if possible!
After making the infusion, instead of throwing the spent leaves away, you can compost the leaves or place them outside to decompose. Some people use the strawberry leaves in scrubs too (if you add the spent leaves to scrubs and products, I would only make enough scrub for a single use or add a preservative).
Here is my link to my sweet strawberry scrub recipe, using the ripe berries. My eco living article also includes information on summer skin care and sun protection.
My eco living article on facial steams:
About The Author:
Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and mineral makeup company. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer. http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm
For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog: http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/
For information on Earth Alkemie's products (skin care, hair care, DIY raw ingredients, and containers), properties of natural ingredients, the benefits of natural cosmetics, and green business practices, please visit Earth Alkemie’s blog: http://www.earthalkemie.com/blog