Raspberry leaf tea is one of the most popular herbal remedies for woman’s issues during all stages of life.* However, it supposedly has lots of general health benefits for everyone. But of course, it’s not without controversy. We’re gonna sort through the research and see what we find.
This is the latest part of our “Healing Herbs (& Spices!)” series. Please enjoy!
First, what is raspberry leaf tea?
Raspberry leaf tea is literally the leaves of the raspberry plant, dried and made into a tea. (Yes, the yummy red berry from your local grocery store that’s delicious on a parfait! Mmmm…) It’s also called red raspberry tea, RRL tea, or simply, raspberry tea. It’s the rubus ideas plant if you wanna go all Latin and fancy.
This herb has a pleasant, tannic taste, somewhat like black tea, but with no caffeine. It contains magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin C, and B-vitamins, which may help with nausea, leg cramps, and sleep during pregnancy. Raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy is one of the most common applications of this herbal tea.
Raspberry Leaf Tea and Pregnancy**
Many midwives and herbalists recommend it during the second or third trimesters of pregnancy. They believe it tones the uterus and shortens labor. Indeed, one study by Parsons et al. (1999) found that red raspberry tea reduced time in labor without any apparent side effects on mamas or babies. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that the women who consumed raspberry leaf were more likely to deliver at full-term (as opposed to pre-term or post-term). And, they were less likely to need medical interventions like C-sections, forceps, or vacuum birth, than the women in the control group.
Although not all scientists agree, many studies show raspberry leaf still has numerous benefits. For example, an Australian study (Simpson, et al. ) found that it did not shorten the first stage of labor (contractions) but did shorten the second stage (pushing). Women who consumed raspberry tea in their study also had fewer instances of forceps deliveries. Again, there were no apparent adverse effects.
Raspberry Leaf Tea Benefits for Non-Pregnant Women***
Raspberry leaf also supports the female reproductive system during all stages of life. For example, herbalists recommend drinking raspberry leaf tea to ease menstrual flow and cramps (Source and Source).
Anecdotally, raspberry leaf tea-drinkers have reported it increases fertility, encourages breastmilk supplies, helps restore the reproductive system, and balances female hormones (both postpartum and in menopause). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much reliable evidence to support these claims. Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t help; it just means we need more scientific studies!
Raspberry Leaf Tea Benefits for All
In herbal medicine, some of the conditions thought to improve with red raspberry tea include bladder control and diarrhea (the tannins have a “drying” effect) and sore mouth/throat (using the tea as a gargle/mouth rinse).
Scientists are beginning to study red raspberry leaf more outside of pregnancy, and they’re discovering some interesting stuff. For example, Durgo et al. (2012) found that it has important health benefits, including anticancer and antioxidant effects. Furthermore, Patel et al. (2004) believe that raspberry leaf has a potentially wide range of applications, including:
- bacterial infections
Who knows what they’ll discover next??
Raspberry Leaf Tea and You
In addition, we use raspberry leaf as a base for our “Femme Fatale” tea. This herbal blend provides gentle support for ladies during THAT time of the month.
Ever had raspberry leaf tea? What do you think?? Let us know in the comments below.
*Please, please, please: consult a doctor before using any nutritional product, including raspberry leaf tea. But especially if you’re pregnant, nursing, taking other medications or supplements, or have any illness! The statements in the Tea Blog have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
**Note: Many experts believe women should avoid raspberry leaf during the 1st trimester of pregnancy. Some don’t recommend starting it till the 3rd trimester if a woman had a previous miscarriage, or out of an abundance of caution. Please consult your medical professional before you start drinking raspberry leaf tea or any herbal supplements–especially if you’re pregnant.
***Note: If you have any hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Red raspberry might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t drink red raspberry leaf tea (WebMD). And definitely consult a doctor!! I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on the internet!
If you enjoyed this Tea Blog post, you may also enjoy…
…The Benefits of Ginger: A Modern Perspective on this Ancient Remedy
…Chamomile Tea: A Wonderful Herb with Potentially Amazing Benefits
…Ayurveda and Tea: All About India’s 5000-year-old System of Naturopathic Medicine