What’s the deal with Red Raspberry Leaf Tea?
Raspberry leaves have a long tradition of use in pregnancy to strengthen and tone the tissue of the womb (uterus) before and after birth
Red Raspberry Leaf (RRL) is exactly what it sounds like: the leaf off the red raspberry bush. Red Raspberry Leaf tea has been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years. It is a popular remedy for many ailments, but is more commonly used as a uterine tonic.
RRL is often called the “women’s herb” for its natural affinity to strengthen the uterus and pelvic region. It is an excellent source of vitamins C, A, E and vitamin B complexes. It also contains major minerals like magnesium, potassium and calcium. These vitamins are readily absorbable and needed for not just a healthy uterus, but a healthy immune system as well. RRL benefits include but are not limited to:
Easing morning sickness
Immune system boost
Improved blood circulation
Tones uterine muscles, which may help reduce pain during birth and is beneficial to VBAC moms reducing the likelihood of rupture
Improved effectiveness of contractions in the second stage of labor
Promotes lactation and the high vitamin count passes to baby through breast milk
Can possibly help to regulate postpartum hormones
Helps to “shrink back” uterus
Red Raspberry Leaf and Pregnancy
Raspberry leaves have a long tradition of use in pregnancy to strengthen and tone the tissue of the womb before and after birth. It has the ability to relax tight uterine muscles while simultaneously tightening relaxed muscles. This toning assists contractions and helps lower risk of hemorrhage during labor.
A study performed by Midwives Incorporated Journal found that drinking raspberry leaf tea during the third trimester not only shortened the second stage of labor (the pushing stage), but also decreased the likelihood of pre and post-term gestation. The same study had advantageous results for VBAC moms, as well as lessening the need for artificial rupture of the membranes, Cesarean and forceps. The cherry on top of this study is that there are no known recorded side effects to mother or baby who ingested RRL during pregnancy or lactation*.
There was however this study, conducted by the International Journal of Toxicology that showed no side effects to mother rats but their female offspring reached puberty earlier and those females’ offspring’s offspring had growth restrictions. The mother rats were given the highest concentration of RRL from the very beginning of pregnancy, whereas traditionally, midwives wouldn’t recommend starting RRL until your second trimester and some suggest waiting to the third trimester. The reason for the delay in consuming Red Raspberry Leaf is that during the first trimester it could possibly induce miscarriage. This is thought to be due to the high tannin count in the leaf having an astringent effect on the uterus, making embryo attachment difficult. However it has been known to be beneficial towards threatened miscarriage in the second trimester. Many herbalists often argue both points saying one or the other isn’t true. Unfortunately with lack of studies to prove this, we’re left to centuries of anecdotal evidence of healthy pregnancies.
How to enjoy RRL and all its benefits
The easiest and most effective way to take advantage of all Red Raspberry Leaf has to offer is to brew a tea and drink 3 cups a day. RRL can be found in capsules but a clinical study showed the capsules had little to no effect. RRL should be consumed throughout the last trimester and even during labor! It can be brewed the same way as most other teas. Its’ tastes are similar to that of black tea but without any of the caffeine. You can find Red Raspberry Leaf in tea bags or it can be bought as loose leaf. To brew RRL in either form:
Bring water to a boil
Pour 1 cup (240mL) water over teabag or 1-2 tsp. of loose leaf
Let steep up to 10 minutes
Sweeten if you wish and enjoy (if using loose leaf strain before enjoying)
If you’d like to drink it as iced tea, you can certainly brew a large batch and cool in the refrigerator. Try adding lemon for a flavor boost!
Red Raspberry Leaf in teabags can be purchased at most local health food stores or online here from Traditional Medicinals. RRL loose-leaf tea can be purchased from myself by email inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org or online here at mountain rose herbs (MRH and Traditional Medicinals have in no way endorsed or sponsored this plug to their websites, I just truly trust those companies and their quality).
Sacred Life Herbal LLC has reusable teabags made from 100% organic cotton muslin available for purchase, which makes brewing loose leaf easier. Sacred Life Herbal LLC also has all organic herbal creations made with RRL. One such creation is my “3rd Chai-mester tea”. A proprietary blend of herbs specially formulated with preggers in mind. With this blend you get the benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf and a tasty chai. For inquiries on 3rd Chai-mester Tea, feel free to email me directly!
*Red Raspberry leaf (RRL) may affect absorption of certain heart and asthma prescription medications. If you are taking prescriptions for either condition talk to your prescribing doctor before starting RRL tea. You can also send me an email and I will be happy to tell you if your medication is on the no-no list.
Sunshine Hayward is the owner-operator of Sacred Life Herbal LLC, local holistic health services and doula. She’s a wife, mother, healer and friend.