Raspberry Leaf is probably my favorite herb and definitely my most consumed herb. It has an amazing nutrient profile and a gentle taste similar to regular black tea but without the caffeine.
Why Raspberry Leaf?
As its name suggests, Raspberry leaf is the leaf of the raspberry plant. It is somewhat well known for its benefits during pregnancy, but it is beneficial to women at all stages of life.
It is naturally high in magnesium, potassium, iron and b-vitamins which make it helpful for nausea, leg cramps, and improving sleep during pregnancy. The specific combination of nutrients in Raspberry Leaf makes it extremely beneficial for the female reproductive system. It strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles which some midwives say leads to shorter and easier labors.
The tannins in raspberry leaf give it astringent properties which make it soothing both internally and externally. A strong raspberry leaf tea or tincture will sooth sunburn, eczema, and rashes when used externally. Swishing with a tincture or infusion of Raspberry Leaf is great for the gums and can help alleviate the symptoms of gingivitis or gum disease.
The high concentration of Vitamin C in Raspberry Leaf makes it great during illness and I also use it as a base for homemade energy drinks.
Many women claim that it helped ease the symptoms of PMS, endometriosis, and it is helpful for couples who are trying to conceive. I personally also use it throughout pregnancy, even in the first trimester, as I’ve never seen any conclusive reason not to and the health benefits are wonderful during pregnancy, but I’d definitely consult a midwife or doctor before taking any herb while pregnant.
According to Mountain Rose Herbs:
Raspberry leaf tea has been used for centuries as a folk medicine to treat canker sores, cold sores, and gingivitis in persons of all ages and anemia, leg cramps, diarrhea, and morning sickness in pregnant women, and as a uterine relaxant. Commentators frequently state that recent scientific research found no benefit in raspberry tea for expectant mothers, but this is not correct. The study published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health in 2001 found that women who drank raspberry leaf tea had shorter labor, and fewer of their babies were delivered by forceps. The other study, published in the Australian College of Midwives Journal, cited in The Natural Pharmacist as saying there was “no” benefit to the herb for pregnant women, actually stated: “The findings also suggest ingestion of the drug might decrease the likelihood of pre and post-term gestation. An unexpected finding in this study seems to indicate that women who ingest raspberry leaf might be less likely to receive an artificial rupture of their membranes, or require a caesarean section, forceps or vacuum birth than the women in the control group.” In other words, scientific studies show that drinking raspberry tea actually is beneficial during pregnancy.
Uses for Raspberry Leaf
My favorite use is as an herbal tea, which I drink iced in the summer and hot in the winter. I also make a pregnancy tea using 4 parts Raspberry Leaf and 1 parts Nettle Leaf. You can also add 1 part Peppermint Leaf for help with nausea during early pregnancy. For those trying to improve fertility, three or more cups can be consumed daily and I also consume this amount during pregnancy. It tastes very similar to regular tea without the caffeine, which makes it wonderful in the evening. If you’re a tea drinker, consider adding this in place of regular tea.
How to Brew Raspberry Leaf Tea
Pour 8 ounces of boiling water over 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon of Raspberry Leaf. Steep, covered, for at least 5 minutes and drink as regular tea. I often keep a gallon of cold raspberry leaf tea in the fridge so that I don’t have to brew by the cup. To make a gallon, just 3/4 to 1 cup of Raspberry Leaf per gallon of boiling water. I pour the herbs and boiling water into a gallon glass jar, cover with a plate and leave overnight before straining for a strong tea.
You can also make a tincture of raspberry leaf using the same proportions that you use to make chamomile tincture and it is great for the skin if used externally and as a more concentrated form to help alleviate PMS, menstrual troubles, heavy bleeding and infertility when used internally.
Safe in Early Pregnancy?
Though I’ve used Red Raspberry leaf in all of my pregnancies without a problem, some sources speculate that it shouldn’t be used until later in the pregnancy, thinking that there could be a risk of miscarriage. I’ve never found any evidence of it being a problem, but of course, any pregnant woman should consult her own doctor or midwife before taking anything during pregnancy. An excerpt from an article that talks about where some of this speculation comes from:
Some medical and popular media make reference to raspberry leaf tea as something to avoid during pregnancy for risk of miscarriage. This notion stems from a study conducted in 1954 where fractions were isolated from Rubus sp. and applied in vitro to the uterine tissues of guinea pigs and frogs. The scientists discovered such things as one fraction acted as a spasmolytic whereas another caused uterine contractions. Herein lies the risk of isolating the parts of a whole. When used as a whole plant, neither action is exacerbated and the herb is deemed safe. If a mother is prone to miscarriages she may feel safer avoiding raspberry until the third trimester. This is an herb with centuries of safe use behind it, there is usually little cause for concern.
Where to Buy Raspberry Leaf
I purchase raspberry leaf from Mountain Rose Herbs, as theirs is organic and extremely high quality. It comes as a dried herb and can be easily made into tea, infusions, or tinctures.
Do you use raspberry leaf? Ready to start? Share below!