Strawberry season is almost here at the Brown Barn Botanicals farm and I cannot be happier. Besides the obvious reward of tasty fruit, Strawberries bring huge benefits to skin.
Strawberries are "super fruits", bursting with powerful anti-oxidants and vitamin C to provide nourishing nutrients for healthy and happy skin.
Before I dig into boasting the benefits of Strawberries it's important to have a basic understanding of skin's important fiber proteins, collagen and elastin, both of which are crucial to skin strength and elasticity.
Elastin comprises skin’s connective tissue, allowing skin to stretch and bounce back when needed.
Collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body, is what makes skin look naturally plump and smooth when we are young. Collagen breaks down and depletes more and more as we age, causing sagging skin and a reduction of the youthful “plumpness” we see in younger skin. Supplementing and supporting collagen is essential to fighting the effects of aging by activating collagen formation.
As we age, it is extremely important to help our bodies fight free radical damage that can cause damage to collagen and elastin from sun and toxin exposure.
Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants that help fight the effects of free radicals. Considered to have the third highest potency of antioxidants per serving compared to other foods in the U.S., strawberries help fight free radicals from breaking down collagen and elastin fibers in the skin.
Strawberries are especially high in vitamin C. One serving of strawberries contains over 50% of your daily value of vitamin C. Vitamin C fights free radicals that steal oxygen from healthy cells and destroy collagen, encouraging pronounced lines to appear on the skin. Getting plenty of Vitamin C is essential for the production of all-important collagen and elastin to keep skin toned and firm.
The high amount of vitamin C found in strawberries helps to lighten skin. When used topically, vitamin C can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots and revive dull skin to look fresh and radiant.
Strawberries also contain ellagic acid that protects skin against UV damage by stopping enzymes that contribute to collagen destruction - one of the major sources of wrinkles and fine lines. Ellagic acid has a photo-protective effect that works against UV damage by stifling the production of MMP, which are enzymes that contribute to the destruction of collagen. This prevents wrinkles from forming, thereby providing a healthy supple look to skin.
Strawberries naturally acidic nature helps reduce the production of excess sebum and oils on the skin. These astringent properties combine with the antioxidants found in strawberries to help treat puffiness and reduce inflammation in the skin.
Fruit or Leaf?
While the fruit of Strawberries is fabulous for your health and oh-so-good to eat, Strawberry leaves also have a place in your skin health.
Strawberry leaves contain many of the same attributes as their fruit. They also contain tannins that aide in digestion, balance gut acidity, and reduce inflammation. A healthy gut can equal vibrant, luminous skin!
Making a tea of Strawberry leaves is a great way to give the body all the wonderful vitamins, minerals, and skin loving constituents Strawberry leaves have to offer.
At the Farm
At the Brown Barn Botanicals Farm in Abbotsford, Wisconsin, we grow several different varieties of Strawberries. When it comes to constituents, the variety doesn't matter. However for our growing purposes we stick with hybrid varieties that are commonly found as young plants at local greenhouses. I grow a combination of June bearing and "Everbearing" varieties to ensure a bit of fruit for most of the Summer. The "June Bearing" varieties seem to give the plumpest, biggest fruit.
The farm is home to a huge bird population and a variety of wild bunnies, mice, and other strawberry-loving fauna. We opt to plant our strawberries in raised beds with netting covers to help deter pests and make weeding and harvesting much easier. The Strawberries really love this situation! They are always throwing out runners that make little plants on the end. We snip off these baby plants and replant them into new beds as space permits. I honestly don't think I've purchased a Strawberry plant in years because our plants are so prolific.
I looove a bowl of fresh Strawberries, but for our products, it's the leaves I'm after. I harvest fresh and then dry either using a heated treatment or spread under shade in our greenhouse. Then the leaves are steeped in oil. The oil releases the tanins and other skin loving ingredients found in the leaves. This oil is then used in our products.
For tea, I prefer to pick leaves at blossom time to ensure the best taste. I then use them fresh in a sun tea or warm tea. I freeze the berries for use in smoothies by "flash" freezing cleaned berries on a cookie sheet, then storing them in a gallon freezer bag. I just grab a cup of strawberries from the bag as needed for smoothies. Another option is to pre-measure one cup at a time into freezer bags for individual use.
Christine Untiedt, Founder, Brown Barn Botanicals
Notice: These statements and blog content have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in our articles are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are not intended as medical advice. The content of these blogs and associated products is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using products or following blog advice.