Herbal Profile: Red Raspberry Leaf |
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Herbal Profile: Red Raspberry Leaf

Sarena-Rae Santos October 17, 2022

By Sarena-Rae Santos, Contributing Writer 

What is Red Raspberry Leaf?

Red Raspberry leaf, sometimes referred to as red raspberry leaf or its botanical name, Rubus idaeus, comes from the raspberry plant/shrub. Red raspberry shrubs have thorns, light green, spade-shaped leaves with toothed edges, and green and brown canes that grow delicious red berries in summer (1). Red raspberry shrubs belong to the Rosaceae family and are commonly found in the United States (2). Red raspberry leaf is most commonly consumed in tea. 

Health Benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf

Although raspberries are one of the most popular berries in the United States, their leaves are brimming with health benefits, including: 

Rich in Nutrients

Our body needs nutrients to flourish. Without vital vitamins and minerals, our bodies won’t function properly. Raspberries are known for their rich content of vitamins A, C, E, K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus (3). Their leaves provide B vitamins, Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and iron (4). I highly recommend Earthley’s Nourish Her Naturally for these benefits.

Antioxidant Properties

Many nutrients play a role in the red raspberry leaf’s antioxidant properties. Red raspberry leaves contain polyphenols like tannins, flavonoids, and ellagic acid, which also act as antioxidants in the body (5). Antioxidants can help fight damage from harmful free radicals. The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Additionally, small amounts of ellagic acid demonstrated the ability to neutralize carcinogens and contribute to the self-destruction of cancer cells (6). I highly recommend Earthley’s Berry Balancing Tea for these benefits.

May Help Relieve Premenstrual Symptoms (PMS)

For many women, headaches, bloating, cramps, mood swings, pain, and food cravings will come around during or before their menstrual cycle. For other women, moderate to severe physical and emotional changes are experienced, known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS is also associated with mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, and depression (7). Studies show that upwards of 90 percent of women report experiencing disturbing PMS symptoms (8).

Red raspberry leaves can help with these uncomfortable symptoms. Red raspberry leaf contains a plant compound called fragarine. Fragarine helps tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, which may reduce menstrual cramping while alleviating nausea and diarrhea associated with PMS (9). Finally, since red raspberry leaves are rich in nutrients like iron, they can help combat anemia in women with heavy menstrual cycles (10). I highly recommend Earthley’s Ease the Ache or Lunamore for these benefits.

Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy

The mainstream will caution against red raspberry leaf despite a significant historical use of benefits during pregnancy. A study assessing herbal remedy usage in 600 pregnant women found that 52 percent of women regularly used at least one herbal remedy. In that study, 63 percent of women had used red raspberry leaf tea (11). Sometimes the mainstream will claim red raspberry leaf is safe to use, but only after the first trimester. Studies have shown success in first-trimester use, especially in easing nausea and vomiting (12). Finally, the fragarine in red raspberry leaf has been beneficial for strengthening the uterus, improving labor outcomes, and preventing excessive bleeding after childbirth (13). I highly recommend Earthley’s Pregnancy Tea for these benefits.

May Help Shorten Labor

As mentioned, the plant compound fragarine in the leaves of red raspberries can strengthen the uterus and improve labor outcomes by making delivery easier. A study analyzing 108 women discovered that the participants who drank red raspberry leaf tea in the final stage of pregnancy had a shorter first stage of labor (14). Contrarily, another study analyzed 192 women and discovered that the participants who drank red raspberry leaf tea in the final stage of pregnancy had no difference in their first stage of labor but a shorter second stage (15). I highly recommend Earthley’s Pregnancy Tea for these benefits.

May Reduce Instances of Childbirth Complications

Aside from the many wondrous benefits of red raspberry leaf for women, it can also reduce instances of childbirth complications. One study indicated that participants who drank red raspberry leaf tea later in pregnancy had less need for forceps and other interventions and a decreased risk of pre- and post-term labor (16). Similarly, another study demonstrated an 11 percent reduction in forceps usage during birth for women who consumed red raspberry leaf tea in the final eight weeks of pregnancy (17). Lastly, the American Pregnancy Association states that drinking red raspberry leaf tea may reduce the need for interventions during childbirth (18). I highly recommend Earthley’s Pregnancy Tea for these benefits.

Safety Concerns

The mainstream narrative will caution against using red raspberry leaf for pregnant women claiming it is unsafe, but herbalists disagree and find no truth to these claims.

Respected herbalist Richard Whelan exclaims that there are zero adverse events from using red raspberry leaf in any medical literature despite a great deal of common usage. 

He mentions that the only negative evidence in the literature was an animal study suggesting red raspberry leaf increases serum ceruloplasmin oxidase activity, a measure of the liver’s estrogenic activity. This does not mean anything bad for animals or humans, only that it might have some yet-unknown hormonal action, which is not unlikely given some of its uses. 

However, this appears to have been grounds to suggest it might be dangerous. The thinking here presumably is on the basis that, if it actually does something, that something could be harmful, despite no evidence to show it has been, despite a great deal of use. 

Richard concludes that raspberry leaf is, without doubt, exceptionally safe for the young and old and that it can and should be used with the utmost confidence when needed, including while pregnant or breastfeeding (19). 

How to Use Red Raspberry Leaf

You can find red raspberry leaves in dried bulk, pills, powders, teas, extracts, or tinctures. Tinctures always contain the most concentrated amount of herbs. Teas and soups are also options, especially when following ayurvedic medicine recipes. If you’re a DIY person, some great starter recipes are:

Follow the recommendations of any supplement;  some of my recommendations include:

Earthley’s Berry Balancing Tea has bitter and sweet notes from balancing herbs and real fruit. Great hot or iced. Enjoy the taste of berries and the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of Berry Balancing Tea. Raspberries, blueberries, and Schisandra berries combine with alfalfa and raspberry leaf to bring you a refreshing tea blend with numerous health benefits.

Earthley’s Ease the Ache uses the natural power of herbs to help relieve unbalanced hormones, pain, bloating, heavy bleeding, and more. Cramp bark, red raspberry leaf, motherwort, and nettle combine to create the best natural remedy for periods and postpartum afterpains.

Earthley’s Fertili-Boost helps prepare your body for pregnancy! Conceiving a child is a journey for which women want to be in their best shape. This can help by promoting healthy energy levels, deeply nourishing the body, supporting the adrenals, and bringing hormones into balance.  It’s just what women need for successful conception. Simply take it for three to six months before conceiving to promote the healthiest version of yourself!

Earthley’s Lunamore “moon love”  is for metabolic support and a woman’s moon cycle. This tincture provides herbal support for hormone balance, helps to reduce cramps and cysts, and supports healthy blood sugar levels.

Earthley’s Mama’s Magic Milk Boost is an herbal tincture created to help increase milk supply with all-natural ingredients. This product is high in vitamins and minerals to nourish the body, but it also contains herbs to soothe baby’s tummy. This tincture is made with the highest-quality ingredients and supports both mom and baby on their breastfeeding journey. 

Earthley’s Nourish Her Naturally is an herbal multivitamin made to fortify, improve, and nurture the female body. This tincture includes herbs packed with vitamins and minerals to help balance hormones, boost energy levels, and promote overall wellness. 

Earthley’s Pregnancy Tea is a nourishing brew to support a healthy pregnancy! Every mom wants to ensure she and the baby get everything they need. Pregnancy Tea can help! This herbal formula contains all the nutrients you may miss in one tea blend.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything.  If you have questions, please do your own research or seek advice from a health professional.

If you have red raspberry leaf in your natural medicine cabinet, how do you use it?

This is the writings of:

Sarena-Rae Santos is the founder of The Holistic Hipppie blog, dedicated to natural health and plant-based eating. Her journey to natural health began in 2019 when she swayed away from allopathic medicine after becoming wheelchair-bound due to the side effects of 20+ medications. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and dizziness due to nystagmus were the sources of her many health complications. Sarena's symptoms diminished after adopting a healthier lifestyle surrounding whole foods and herbs, leaving her a fantastic quality of life and a passion for educating people.
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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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