MapleHolistics

Raspberry Leaf Benefits Finally Explained

Pile of raspberries.

Welcome to the latest installment of taking nature into our own hands. Spotlight today on Red Raspberry Leaf. It’s incredible what we have at our fingertips and don’t even know the extent of their effects. We’ve all at least once in our lives ended a long day with a nice hot cup of tea. I, myself, just believed that the heat of the drink was soothing me and preparing me for bed. I always thought it was something about childhood and the ‘warm hug’ effect. But there’s so much more to it.

One of the best ways to reap the benefits of herbs is by drinking the concentration of their leaves. We’ve all heard of chamomile tea, mint tea and lemon tea but few have heard of the numerous benefits of Raspberry Leaf tea. Which brings me onto the topic of today’s discussion. What exactly is Raspberry Leaf?

What Is Raspberry Leaf?

Raspberry growing.

Growing raspberry leaf.

Raspberry has been the staple of jams, jellies, and ice pop flavors since practically before time itself. What you may not know, however, are the medicinal properties of the raspberry leaf. And that is why we are here today.  If the raspberry leaf could talk, it’d be able to settle some hot topic debates, having been around since the paleolithic period.

According to historians, cavemen, or as they prefer to be called, cave dwellers, ate the raspberry leaf for sustenance. This preceded  45 A.D, when the Ancient Greeks farmed it for mass consumption. That being said, it’s first official recording only popped up in 1597, in a book called ‘The Herbal’. Because of its widespread cultivation, it can be found all over Europe, especially Britain, not arriving in the US until 1771.

If we’re talking nitty gritty figures, one ounce of raspberry leaf provides 408mg of calcium, 446mg potassium, 106 mg of magnesium, and a little iron and manganese, for good measure. As if that wasn’t enough when applied directly to the skin the leaf soothes a sore throat and surface rashes.

Eczema, sunburn and even gum disease are all powerless against even a tincture of raspberry leaf. Now that we’ve touched on just a few of the raspberry leaves benefits let’s delve into a few more.

Benefits Of Raspberry Leaf Explained

The benefits of raspberry leaf are many, and very, very practical. You’ll hear about raspberry leaf a lot if you are a woman, especially if you are a pregnant woman. The vitamins and nutrients are oftentimes the very things that pregnant women are lacking; specifically speaking: vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3, as well as vitamins C and E, manganese, niacin, and selenium.

This list goes on with calcium, iron, and magnesium topping off this fertility superleaf. These babies are respectively responsible for healthy tissue, bones, and cartilage. We all need well functioning tissue, bones, and cartilage, but even more so for expecting mamas who are creating these things from scratch. They’re also helpful when it comes to fatigue and anemia, typical symptoms that come part and parcel with the miracle of creating life.

Getting deeper into the female related benefits, raspberry leaf is a uterine tonic. Uterine is derived from the word ‘uterus’ meaning it’s involved in all things uterus related. Basically it tones your uterine muscles, relieving you of cramps in mild cases, but also preparing your uterus for giving birth. The fact is that 25% of women in the United States use raspberry leaf in the lead up to the big event.

Raspberries also have astringent properties used to tighten lax tissues, so your uterus doesn’t prolapse. Together the team of fragarine and astringency seem to be responsible for a smoother uterine experience. Side note: it’s great for the metabolism. It just gets everything moving. In those last few months, that can be a huge relief.

Raspberry Leaf Tea DIY Recipe

Tea infuser surrounded by herbs.

Herbal tea infusion.

Why make raspberry leaf tea yourself at all? You’d think you could just pick it up at your local supermarket, right? It’s actually not that simple. Many mainstream tea manufacturers actually use artificial raspberry flavoring. So that before-bed mug of tea you’ve been hoping will ease your cramps is in fact just tasty. There’s nothing wrong with tasty, but you need to know what you’re putting into your body before writing it off. In a nutshell, packaged tea is often flavored, or mixed with elderberry, apples, rosehip or hibiscus, which do their own thing, but aren’t what you signed up for.

Before I go ahead and let you know proportions, you might also be interested to know the difference between a tea and an infusion. Tea is your run of the mill steeped herbs/leaves. Meaning you get your herb or leaf, put it in boiling water for 4-5 minutes and enjoy the benefits. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely benefits, but if you have time for an infusion, you’ll enjoy more than 10x the benefits.

An infusion uses an ounce of raspberry leaf steeped overnight, or for 8 hours. Put simply: a glass of tea has 5mg of calcium while an infusion has between 200-250mg of calcium. So, if you have the time, it’s definitely worth the investment. For tea you’ll only need 1 or 2 teaspoons of crushed leaf to 240 ml of water. Steep for 4-10 minutes. You can drink this up to 6 times a day and is most efficient when taken over long periods of time.

Raspberry Leaf For Labor And Pregnancy

Hands holding mug of red liquid.

Hot mug of raspberry leaf tea.

According to McIntyre, n.d., para 7, raspberry leaf is effective by “Relaxing over-tense muscles and toning over-relaxed muscles. Raspberry leaves enable the uterus to contract effectively during childbirth, easing and speeding the birth.” Just two cups a day prepares your body for the labor intensity of labor.

In a control group of 108 women 50% took red raspberry leaf throughout pregnancy. These women reported less damage to the uterine membranes and less need for caesarean sections; even forceps or vacuums were less necessary.

Raspberry Leaf Side Effects Explained

Some say that red raspberry leaf might in fact be too good at it’s job. The relaxant properties found in raspberry leaf are basically on par with Benzodiazepines, a prescription relaxant that depresses the nervous system for ultimate muscle relaxation. Now, you’re not going to receive that kind of effect from just one cup, but these properties are the root of the controversy.

The very same properties that make red raspberry leaf effective for stimulating labor makes it controversial during pregnancy. Many midwives fear that the leaf could actually induce premature labor, leading to loss of pregnancy. For this reason a lot of women don’t start taking the leaf until late second trimester or even beginning of the third. There isn’t actually any scientific evidence to substantiate this, but it’s always good to consult with your doctor in such sensitive situations.

Conclusion

Raspberry leaf is proof that everything in nature has a purpose. Not just a flavoring, not just a berry, but every part of the plant is useful. Who knew that your favorite raspberry sauce could have so much goodness? As with anything in nature, you reap the benefits largely based around the way in which you use the substance. So when it comes to raspberry leaves it seems like a tea or an infusion is your best way forward.

If we listen to nature and our bodies, along with the guidance of healthcare professionals, we are able to get a great flow going. Pun intended. This little baby will help you with your little baby, and long term with your monthly visitor. The benefits of raspberry leaf for fertility are immense, as we’ve seen.I don’t know about you but there’s definitely a whole new level of comfort to my evening cup now!