Rubus idaeus (cultivated variety), R. strigosus (wild variety)
Ahhh. Is there anything better than eating fresh raspberries off the vine? However, there is more to this fine plant than just its fetching fruit. Did you know that raspberry leaf is also an amazing herb? Many people don’t realize that we can do so much more with this plant than simply trying not to prick our fingers while pilfering its fruit. In fact, the plant as whole has been used throughout history and across cultures for its superb tonic and nutritive qualities.
Raspberry Leaf is most often recognized as a pregnancy herb. And though it is great for expecting and new mamas, its usefulness is far more wide reaching. The leaves of the plant are rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and iron as well as potassium and vitamins B, E, and C. A tonic tea can be enjoyed by anyone in need of a vitamin boost, including men and children. Raspberry also has a high concentration of tannins, resulting in its traditional use as a remedy for diarrhea. Traditionally a tea of the leaves has also been used to reduce fevers and curb excessive bleeding.
As a woman’s herb, Raspberry Leaf is considered the safe and effective go-to tonic herb throughout life. The leaf contains fragrine, an alkaloid which is responsible for the muscle-toning, uterine muscle to be exact, attributes of this little plant. An adoptogenic herb, raspberry has the ability to act as both uterine relaxant and stimulant. During pregnancy this creates a regulating action in the uterus - which is further enhanced by the overall uterine tone thanks to the fragrine. The leaf is also said to help relieve morning sickness and promote the flow of breast milk. Outside of pregnancy Raspberry’s toning quality is considered helpful both for in increasing fertility as well as assisting menopausal women. An astringent herb, Raspberry Leaf is recommended for those with excessive menstruation and can be added to a tonic tea that helps to regulate women’s cycles. And of course the high calcium levels are an asset for women as we age and work to maintain bone density.
You may have picked up on the fact that this herb is primarily enjoyed as tea. It can be enjoyed on its own or blended with other useful and tasty herbs based on your personal needs. At Una we use Raspberry Leaf as the base for our Mama Maintenance Tea and enhance it with peppermint, ginger, chamomile, and hibiscus.
The best way to enjoy this lovely herb, is to grow the plant yourself. Raspberry plants grow wonderfully in the Northeast and require sun and decent soil. They prefer well drained soil as they are prone to root-rot otherwise. If you have heavy clay, like most of western PA, you will need to add some serious organic matter to your soil. Raspberries are generally started from shoots and should be planted early in the spring. The plants will take a year or two to fully establish but of course you can still enjoy the fruits, and leaves, of your labor during that time. Raspberries like water and do not like weeds (like most plants) so be sure to pay a bit of attention to them. Naturally, you should also avoid chemical fertilizers and insecticides on your new plants, especially if you want to eat them!
Raspberry Leaf is considered safe and has no reported side effects. Happy Planting and enjoy your tea!
**THIS INFORMATION IS SHARED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. UNA BIOLOGICALS DOES NOT DISTRUBUTE MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE USING HEBRS!***