Herbal Monograph: Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)


Recently I was asked to prepare a sitz bath for a mom about to give birth. There are many beautiful and abundant plants that are effective in helping your body heal after birth. One of which is Raspberry leaf or Rubus idaeus.

I've heard a lot of people say that they've heard about Raspberry leaf for Women's health issues but have never tried it and are unsure what it's specifically good for.

Well, here's your monograph....

The next time you are out and find Raspberry, approach the plant, ask for permission, gather and leave an offering. Dry out your leaf or use it fresh but be sure NOT to use it when it's just damp. The drying process allows for an important chemical change. Infuse your leaf and enjoy the tea.

Family: Rosaceae (The Rose Family)

Description: Woody shrub with branches covered in small spikes growing up to 1.5 m high, sometimes taller. The leaves are double toothed, light to dark green with three to five leaflets. Canes are biennial. Flowers are in small clusters that develop a vibrant red berry with fines hairs.

History:

Said to be adored by the Olympian Gods, they would gather the berries around Mount Ida, hence the name Rubrus idaeus which means "bramble of Ida".

European and Native American women have also used raspberry leaf and berry for thousands of years to ease labor pain and contractions.

It was believed that raspberry juice ignited and gave energy to the blood and carried love, kindness and nutrition throughout the body.

It's also been found that our ancestor cave people favored the plant as raspberry canes were found in various dig sites across North America, Asia and Europe.

Medicinal Parts: Berries and leaves (first year growth leaves preferred)

Harvest Time:

Leaves - Before berries form*

Berries - When ripe

*Leaves can be gathered throughout the summer season, however, it's been noted that traditional harvest was before the plant flowers when the most energy was going into growing leaves. As a result, the antioxidant content was considered to be higher.

Medicinal Actions:

Antidiarrheal

Antiemetic

Antioxidant

Antiseptic

Antispasmodic

Astringent

Cardiac Tonic

Emmenagogue

Febrifuge

Galactagogue

Refrigerant

Stimulant

Styptic

Tonic

Learn your action words here

Preparations:

- Tea infusion. Please see how to create a proper infusion here

- Tincture

- Vinegar

- Salve

- Poultice

- Capsule (not perferred)

Note: If using as a tea regularly, you can prepare larger quantities and store in the fridge until needed.

Medicinal Uses:

Raspberry leaf has been used for centuries and is still used today by midwifes. Noted below are uses/benefits documented from traditional use and are not necessarily supported by current clinical trials.

Women's Health:

- Tonic for reproductive system. Constituents are released further down in the digestive tract

- Uterine tonic before and after birth. Prepares the uterus & pelvic area for delivery as well as tones the uterus after the birth to help it back to its original shape.

- Morning sickness

- Prevent miscarriage

- Aids childbirth by easing labor & delivery - Fragirine tones pelvic muscles

- Menstrual cramps, PMS symptoms, endometriosis

- Promote flow of mother's milk and prevents colic

- Promote/regulate flow of menstruation

- Tone bladder

Gastrointestinal (GI):

- Soothe digestions for children and adults

- Diarrhea

- Bedwetting. Use 1 cup several hours before bed

- Mouth & throat inflammations: Ulcers, tonsillitis

- Stomach aches

Respiratory:

- Influenza

- Lung cancer: Clinical trials have begun, see the research here

Other:

- Sores & minor wounds like burns, cuts, scrapes

- Varicose veins ulcer

- Break fever

- Blood tonic

- Anemia

- High in vitamin C and B, magnesium, iron, calcium and phosphorus the fruit of the raspberry is a blood tonic.

Dosage:

Tea: 1-2 cups daily

Mouth wash for inflammation in the mouth (gums, canker sores, etc.) & sore throat: 1 tbsp raspberry vinegar to 1/2 cup warm water

Poultice: Apply as needed for burns, cuts, scrapes OR use cooled infusion by dipping cloth and placing on damaged area

*If pregnant, start at the lowest dose as it can be stimulating. Some women chose to only start taking raspberry leaf tea in their second or third trimester. Listen to your body and discuss with your health care professional*.

Cautions/Contraindications:

- No known precautions or drug interactions when taking the whole plant

- Consult healthcare practitioner before using herbal products particularly if you are on medications, pregnant or breastfeeding - Discontinue if allergic reaction occurs

References:

  • Durgo K, Belščak-Cvitanović A, Stančić A, Franekić J, Komes D. The bioactive potential of red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) leaves in exhibiting cytotoxic and cytoprotective activity on human laryngeal carcinoma and colon adenocarcinoma. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2012 Mar;15(3):258-68. - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22082102

  • US Department of Agriculture Plant Guide: American Red Raspberry Rubus idaeus L. - http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_ruid.pdf

  • Holst L, Haavik S, Nordeng H. Raspberry leaf--should it be recommended to pregnant women? Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2009 Nov;15(4):204-8.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19880082

  • Herb Wisdom: Raspberry Leaf Benefits - http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-raspberry-leaf.html

  • Mountain Rose Herbs: Raspberry Leaf - https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/raspberry-leaf/profile

  • Botanical.com: Raspberry - http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/raspbe05.html

  • The Practical Herbalist: Raspberry History, Folklore, Myth and Magic: http://www.thepracticalherbalist.com/holistic-medicine-library/raspberry-myth-and-magic/

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Some of the products and statements referred to throughout this site have not been evaluated by Health Canada. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We are all unique, therefore, individual results may vary. Seek the advice of a health care professional for your specific health concerns. If you have a medical condition or are pregnant please consult your primary health care provider before use.

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