Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) is a cold climate berry native to Northern Europe, Britain, Scandinavia, the U.S., and Canada. Although well known for its delicious berries, it is the leaf that it used for medicinal purposes.
Red raspberry has been used for centuries for its astringent and antispasmodic properties, and early colonial Americans used it for many ailments including sore eyes and for dissolving tartar build-up on the teeth. Red raspberry was also traditionally used to promote strong nails, bones, teeth, hair, and skin. It can be used as a mouthwash for sore throats, inflamed mouth tissue, weak gums, and mouth ulcers. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also relieve pain associated with swollen and painful joints and tendons.
Rich in the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, and sulfur, red raspberry also contains vitamins B1, B3, C, D, and E, together with malic acid, citric acid, pectin, and several essential oils.
Raspberry leaves are high in tannins and like its close relative the blackberry, may relieve acute diarrhea. It is the high tannin content that imparts raspberry’s well known astringent qualities, being of assistance for conditions such as excessive menstrual bleeding, and associated cramping. In combination with mallow and peppermint, it has been used traditionally for diverticulitis. When used over a period of time, red raspberry can also improve visual acuity.
However, red raspberry is best known for its action on the female reproductive system. It is particularly useful during the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle as the body prepares for ovulation. Red raspberry, when used in conjunction with Dong Quai, supports the complicated metabolic functions associated with this phase of a woman’s cycle. Traditionally known as a blood tonic and purifier, red raspberry possesses hormone-regulating and uterine-toning properties important to this phase of the menstrual cycle. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the regular intake of red raspberry increases fertility.
Red raspberry also acts to strengthen and tone the uterine muscles, allowing for an easier birth process due to increased efficiency of the muscles used to expel the fetus during childbirth. Its effects continue after birth, again toning the uterus allowing it to quickly regain its pre-pregnancy status. Red raspberry also decreases any uterine swelling associated with the birth process and minimizes postpartum hemorrhaging.
Red Raspberry leaf has no known side effects but should not be used by women in the first trimester of pregnancy. Certain drugs must not be taken in combination with Red Raspberry without consultation with your doctor. These drugs include Atropine, Cardec DM, codeine, Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine, Lomotil, Lonox, Theophylline and Aminophylline.