Scientific Name/Common Name: Rubus idaeus / Raspberry
Part(s) Used: Leaf, fruit
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Leaf: gallo- and ellagitannins; flavonoids (glycosides of kaempferol and quercetin); and vitamin C. Fruit: fruit sugar, pectin, citric acid, malic acid, vitamin C.
Overview: Raspberry is indigenous to Europe, North America, and Asia. Raspberry leaf is most often recommended for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness and nausea, but is also recommended for mouth and throat irritations. Raspberry leaf products are also recommended to shorten labor, and a recent double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial did show a significant shortening of the second stage of labor (mean difference = 9.59 minutes) and a lower rate of forceps deliveries between the treatment group and the control group (19.3% vs. 30.4%). A 1998 retrospective observational study on the safety and efficacy of raspberry leaf products during pregnancy also found significant results. The sample consisted of 108 mothers; 57 (52.8%) consumed raspberry leaf products while 51 (47.2%) were in the control group. The study showed that raspberry leaf products are safe to take by women during their pregnancy for the purpose for which they are taken, that is, to shorten labor and treat nausea and morning sickness. There were no identified side effects for the women or their babies. Raspberry leaf tea also has potent antioxidant activity. Raspberry leaf tea is also given for inflammation of the mouth and throat, menstrual pain, and vitamin deficiency. Many First Nation peoples made a beverage tea from raspberry leaves and/or stems and ate the young shoots in spring.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Astringent, tonic, parturient; useful in diarrhea.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Parsons M, Simpson M, Ponton T. 1999. Raspberry leaf and its effect on labour: safety and efficacy. Aust Coll Midwives Inc J 1999 Sep; 12(3): 20-5.
Simpson M, Parsons M, Greenwood J, Wade K. 2001. Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor. J Midwifery Womens Health 2001 Mar-Apr; 46(2): 51-9.
Wichtl M and NG Bisset (eds). 1994. Raspberry leaf. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 434-436.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.