( Originally Published 1913 )
It is a peculiar fact that the most delicious and appetizing garden strawberries attain their finest development when such repulsive substances as soft, fatty cow and stable manure is used in fertilizing the ground. Strawberries require nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash, and these are easiest furnished to them in this way. Fortunately, as has been shown by Remlinger and Noury, injurious bacterial substances cannot penetrate from the manure into the interior of vegetables and fruits. If, however, any one for esthetic reasons should object to this origin, or, better said, the assistance of such malodorous drainage substances, in growing the berries (unfortunately, estheticism ceases in animal functions and habits) he must confine himself to the wild strawberries. The wild strawberry usually has a much finer aroma, as is generally the case with all the wild varieties of berries. In the majority of fruits the aroma only lasts for a short time after they have been gathered, and strawberries taste much, better in the woods than two days later at the fruit dealers'. Ripe berries are quite easily digested, but in those not quite ripe the great number of small seeds may have an irritating action. The large, ripe, garden variety is also easily digested, but, for weak stomachs and where there are intestinal disturbances, strawberries had best be forbidden. In gout, as has been shown by the experiments of Weiss in the laboratory of Bunge, strawberries may prove very beneficial, and in England strawberry cures have been successfully resorted to. There, especially in London, great quantities of these berries are in the markets; Denmark is also rich in strawberries, and they sell for a very low price in Copenhagen; in one of the fruit-selling establishments in that city, the "Jordbaer" (strawberries) were named Andersen after the proprietor. In summer the strawberries are eaten in Denmark with the truly exquisite, thick, Danish cream, "Jordbaer met flöde," and are most palatable. Strawberries are a valuable fruit for diabetics and arteriosclerotics, since they are not rich in sugar. The small seeds may exert a mild stimulating action upon the bowels. Their beneficial action in gout is not sufficiently explained by the small amount of salicylic acid,—2 to 3 milligrams to the liter,—although it must not be forgotten that similar substances when combined with others, as in the body or in the foods, may act in homeopathic doses. As has been stated by Aron, very minimum quantities of certain substances may cause rashes or eruption through chemical reactions occurring in the body. Raspberries are, as a general thing, much more indigestible than strawberries, owing to the large seeds; but they also have a most agreeable aroma. The most indigestible of all berries are currants and gooseberries, the latter being the poorest in that respect. The considerable amount of cellulose in the skins of the latter and the seeds and the cellulose of the fleshy portions of the not overripe berries are conducive to this result. The juice of very ripe currants and gooseberries has a very pleasant taste. Ac-cording to Hebebrand, 100 cubic centimeters of gooseberry juice contains 1 milligram of boric acid. The berries endowed with the principal therapeutic properties are no doubt huckleberries, these properties having been brought to light by Winternitz. Blueberries, or huckleberries, have a very favor-able action in intestinal affections, chronic catarrh, and diarrhea. They have a mild astringent action, and in this respect exert a beneficial action upon the mucous membranes,. They are also excellent in chronic inflammations of the throat. They decrease inflammatory processes and have a certain antiseptic action, and the pharmacopeias of some cities provide for very useful preparations to be made from these berries. The digestibility of these berries is not so very poor, since they contain no irritating seeds, and I have ascertained that the eating of more than a pint of berries is not followed by any digestive disturbances. Even more easily digested are the mulberries which grow wild in great profusion in some regions, particularly in Hungary. This useful and very agreeable fruit should really be more planted and enjoyed. The mulberry tree is also most useful in the silkworm industry, and should, if only for this reason, be cultivated in large numbers. Black-berries are very indigestible, even when quite ripe, owing to their many large seeds. The best results are to be obtained, from these and other indigestible berries, with their juices, as we shall show later on. Bilberries are likewise not very readily digested, as they contain much acid. The best of these berries among the European varieties are those grown in Sweden, called "Lingon," for the exploitation of which a stock company has been formed in Göttenburg, which exports them. to the value of several millions of "krone" per year. The American variety (cranberry) is much larger, but not so fine in taste. The bilberry is especially valuable for diabetics, since there is scarcely any other fruit which contains so little sugar.