The Truth about Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
While these, and some other, studies agree on some points and disagree on others, it seems the consensus in the scientific community on the topic of red raspberry leaf tea use is inconclusive. With this in mind, then, the only question that needs to be answered, is: are there any nutritional benefits to consuming raspberry leaves, whether whole or as tea.
Red raspberry leaves are known for their astringent properties and can be used as an antiseptic. For this very reason, a mixture of raspberry leaves can be applied topically on wounds to expedite the healing process and to prevent infections from occurring.
The nice thing about raspberry leaf tea is that it is a balanced food so it’s safe for virtually everyone at every stage of life (I even saw one article about giving it to children with stomach aches) and you can’t really overdose on it. Herbal experts and midwives recommend between 1 cup daily all the way up to a gallon daily during pregnancy with no side effects. I did a little bit of research on PubMed and only came up with 2 research articles on raspberry leaf tea, but neither of them found any negative side effects and the articles I saw on other research sites only found unwanted side effects when specific active ingredients were taken out of the tea and used in ridiculously huge doses. Drinking the tea in its whole state is supposed to be “self-regulating”, meaning the active ingredients balance each other out.
Red raspberry leaf is rich in potassium (441 ppm), calcium (121 ppm) and magnesium (93 ppm), it is also rich in all important trace minerals such as manganese (.52 ppm), zinc (.35 ppm), iron (.04 ppm) and chromium (.02 ppm). (ppm=parts per million); and also have a great content of vitamin C, E, A and B complex; and even Omega-3 fatty acids, raspberry leaves can also be used to promote health.
Where Can I purchase Raspberry Tea Leaf?
You can purchase the tea bags at any local grocery store like Safeway, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. I like to buy local, so if you’re in Oakland, you can buy it at The Food Mill or any Local Natural Food Store in the Bay Area!
How to Make Raspberry Leaf Tea
To make the tea, I suggest 1 Tablespoon of bulk tea, per cup of hot water. Or you can just buy tea bags and follow the brewing instructions. My preference is always to make time for the bulk herb and keep it in a tight-fitting glass jar for maximum potency. You can purchase muslin bags or a tea ball to steep the tea leaves in hot boiling water. The longer you steep the most you will get out of the team leaf.
Can Raspberry Leaf be considered a Cure?
While all plant foods have amazing healing properties, in itself, one plant cannot be a cure-for-all magic bullet. It is the totality of our diet that makes a difference in our health at the end of the day. If I ate McDonald’s for breakfast, Pizza Hut for lunch, TV meals for dinner and drank sodas and coffee all day long, I would be amiss to hope that drinking a cup (or ten) of raspberry leaf tea would somehow provide for an easier pregnancy or delivery. However, raspberry leaf and other surprising plants, make a great addition to a well balanced, whole-foods, plant-based diet and regular exercise.Having a cup of red raspberry leaf tea thrice a day might be effective in reducing inflammation and pain in the joints, the common symptoms of gout and arthritis. It exhibits anti-inflammatory activity that might be useful for asthma and other respiratory ailments.
Medicinal Uses of Red Raspberry Tea
In herbology, red raspberry leaf tea is hailed as an herb for a woman’s health. The claimed benefits range from promising to increase fertility, tonify a uterus of an expectant mother and help to relieve the strength of contractions, to helping to relieve PMS symptoms, such as cramping, irritability, and depression; relieving morning sickness symptoms, and even increasing milk production.Now that the ACA is improving healthcare more and more folks are doing everything they can to become healthier. However, how much of this is true? I set out to investigate this very question to set the record straight once and for all!
While some will waste their breath and time to argue whether red raspberry leaf tea should or should not be taken by certain populations, might or might not be helpful or harmful, etc.; I can safely conclude that red raspberry leaf tea is much safer than sodas, energy drinks, coffee and alcoholic beverages, or any other junk easily found on most people’s plates. I think it is silly to major on minor components of our diet, such as a cup of two of red raspberry leaf tea a day, while ignoring poor dietary habits of the majority of people in North America.
How Much to Take
There is not enough research to show safe (or otherwise) levels of raspberry leaves for consumption. Since it is a whole food, I naturally assume that in rotation with other greens, any amount should be safe, since there is no evidence to prove otherwise.
- Has been shown to concentrate the effects of contractions to make them more effective. From personal experience, I drank 1-2 quarts daily of raspberry leaf tea during my last 2 months of pregnancy and had a great labor (6 hours labor at home, 30 minutes in hospital, 10 minutes of pushing).
- May be especially helpful for women who are planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) because of its ability to tone uterine muscles (since the uterus was cut open during the C-section).
- Many reports I have read from midwives say that the tea especially helps to shorten the second stage of labor (the pushing stage – from complete dilation of the cervix until the baby is born). I have also heard from midwives that women who drink the tea later in pregnancy tend to have extremely strong membranes protecting the baby. I would attest to this, since my water never broke on its own – the OB resident actually had to break it when I got to the hospital since it didn’t break even as he was emerging – and I think the fact that this membrane remained intact was the only reason that KJ was not born in the bathroom at home or in the car on the way to the hospital.
- Warnings: During pregnancy, if you start to experience Braxton Hicks contractions after drinking tea, you should contact your doctor to see if the tea could have anything to do with it. There are no definitive studies that suggest that drinking raspberry tea leads to pre-term labor, but it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new diet regimen.
- Has been reported to “bring in rich milk”, most likely due to its mineral content.
- Helps to balance postpartum hormones to prevent the drastic change in hormones that causes many women to experience postpartum depression.
Other Benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Apart from the pregnant women, people with certain ailments or health problems can too benefit from the red raspberry leaf tea. Some of the most well known red raspberry leaf tea benefits are:
- The astringent properties of the leaves also makes them ideal for treating skin irritation and improve skin firmness.
- Red raspberry leaf tea can be an effective herbal remedy for sore throat, irritation of the oral cavity and gum diseases.
- It can also help to prevent dehydration, and lower the level of blood sugar in diabetic mellitus.
- Has been shown to reduce menstrual cramps and may help to regulate the flow of menstruation due to its effects on the uterus.
- Helps to detoxify excess hormones which is very helpful during times of hormonal shift such as menopause or in the second half of the menstrual cycle (the two weeks before starting your period, which is when most women experience PMS).
Benefits for menfolk
- In herbal terms, it’s a “nourishing reproductive tonic” for men, which is just a fancy way of saying it helps your junk work better.
- Its ability to detoxify extra hormones is helpful for men also since they are bombarded with artificial estrogens on a daily basis from commercial meat and milk, plastics, food additives, and chemical fumes (especially if they are in the construction business). These extra estrogens, along with too much unresolved stress over a lifetime, are major culprits in the phenomenon known as “andropause” or male menopause, which is characterized by a drastic drop in testosterone levels.
- May also help with diarrhea, which if you’ve ever been kind enough to clean the bathroom at a location shared by several college age men who drink beer, you will see that diarrhea is apparently something that needs to be helped.
The Raspberry Tea Leaf for the Yoni Steam
In my next blog I will discuss how to detoxify the Yoni! See below the following herbs I add to my mortar & pestle inspired by an ancient remedy of our ancestors from the Motherland.
It’s important to understand that Yoni Steaming is not for cleaning your vulva or vagina. Your vagina is inherently self-cleaning.
When the Yoni Steaming is described as cleansing, it is referring to the way the heat and steam supports our feminine bodies in their own natural release and vibrant vitality.
Tonifying and cleansing herbs are:
- Red Raspberry leaf
- Dong Quai
- Witch hazel
- Burdock leaves
Check out my next blog on the Yoni Steam.
Until then, Happy steeping!
Zheng, J., Pistilli, MJ., Holloway, AC., Crankshaw, DJ. (2010). The effects of commercial
preparations of red raspberry leaf on the contractility of the rat’s uterus in vitro.
Reproductive Sciences. Retrieved from: http://rsx.sagepub.com/content/17/5/494.long