Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
The raspberry is a very common fruit that is grown in temperate zones and eaten all over the world. Related to roses and blackberries, the fruit grows on single thorny canes that spread under the soil. While the fruit is widely enjoyed, the leaves are used medicinally. This is commonly thought of as a "women's" herb as it has a beneficial effect on the female reproductive system.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Raspberry fruit may actually help diabetics regulate their blood sugar and help prevent cancer. Herbal tea is healing for mouth and throat sores. The tea can also help with diarrhea and it is helpful with morning sickness. Some say it prevents miscarriage, while others worry it may cause it. Studies have shown it is a uterine relaxant, and can help strengthen the uterus for labor. During labor it can help regulate contractions and make them more effective. After the birth, the herbal tea can increase milk production and help the uterus return to normal. It can be taken when a woman is not pregnant to keep menstrual cramps in check and to regulate the cycle.
Externally not used externally
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Leaves mainly The leaves of the raspberry plant are most often used medicinally. Helpful qualities of the fruit are under study.
Leaves actually develop a mild toxin when wilted, so before using for herbal tea, it is important to only pick leaves after the plant is flowering, and to make sure the leaves are fully dried before using.
Overuse of raspberry leaf tea may cause diarrhea. Watch for allergic reactions to the tea or to the fruit. There is some controversy over using raspberry leaf tea in the first trimester of pregnancy. Some care providers consider it safe and nourishing to the reproductive system, and that it prevents miscarriage. Others advise their patients not to use raspberry tea until at least the middle of the second trimester, saying it will cause miscarriage. Since every woman is different, watch for symptoms. If you notice cramping after taking herbal tea in early pregnancy, stop drinking it until later in the pregnancy.
Preparation and Dosage
One teaspoon of the leaf can be added to one cup of boiling water. Infuse the tea for ten minutes, then strain. This infusion can be taken once or twice per day. Amounts can be increased as the pregnancy gets closer to term. The herbal tea can be taken hot or chilled. Honey can be added to taste.
Raspberry leaf tincture can be used three times per day, taking 2 to 4 ml each time.