Raspberry bushes are native to North America and are cultivated in Canada. Although most well known for its delicious berries, raspberry’s leaves are used in medicine.
Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
Common Cold and Sore Throat
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Red raspberry leaves contain astringent tannins that are helpful for soothing sore throats.
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Red raspberry is an astringent herb traditionally used for diarrhea. Raspberry leaves are high in tannins and may relieve acute diarrhea.
Astringent herbs traditionally used for diarrhea include blackberry leaves, blackberry root bark, blueberry leaves, and red raspberry leaves.3 Raspberry leaves are high in tannins and, like blackberry, may relieve acute diarrhea. A close cousin of the blueberry, bilberry, has been used traditionally in Germany for adults and children with diarrhea.4 Only dried berries or juice should be used—fresh berries may worsen diarrhea.
Cranesbill has been used by several of the indigenous tribes of North America to treat diarrhea. The tannins in cranesbill likely account for the anti-diarrheal activity5—although there has been little scientific research to clarify cranesbill’s constituents and actions.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
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Rich in vitamins and minerals, red raspberry is traditionally used to strengthen and invigorate the uterus, increase milk flow, and restore the mother’s system after childbirth.
Many tonic herbs, which are believed to strengthen or invigorate organ systems or the entire body, can be taken safely every day during pregnancy. Examples include dandelion leaf and root, red raspberry leaf, and nettle. Dandelion leaf and root are rich sources of vitamins and minerals, including beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, and iron. Dandelion leaf is mildly diuretic (promotes urine flow); it also stimulates bile flow and helps with the common digestive complaints of pregnancy. Dandelion root is traditionally used to strengthen and invigorate the liver.6
Red raspberry leaf is the most frequently mentioned traditional herbal tonic for general support of pregnancy and breast-feeding. Rich in vitamins and minerals (especially iron), it is traditionally used to strengthen and invigorate the uterus, increase milk flow, and restore the mother’s system after childbirth.7
Raspberry leaves have been used by herbalists to treat diarrhea. In traditional herbalism and midwifery, red raspberry has been connected to female health, including pregnancy. It was considered a remedy for excessive menstrual flow (menorrhagia) and as a “partus prepartor,” or an agent used during pregnancy to help prevent complications.1
Raspberry leaves are high in tannins and like its relative, blackberry, may relieve acute diarrhea.8 The constituents that affect the smooth muscles, such as in the uterus, have not yet been clearly identified. The German Commission E monograph has concluded there is insufficient proof to recommend red raspberry in modern herbal medicine.9
Traditionally, raspberry leaf tea is prepared by pouring 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water over 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 grams) of the herb and steeping for ten to fifteen minutes. Up to 6 cups (1500 ml) per day may be necessary for acute problems such as diarrhea or sore throats due to a cold, while less (two to three cups [500–750 ml]) is used for preventive use during pregnancy. By itself, raspberry is usually not a sufficient treatment for diarrhea. Tincture, 3/4–1 teaspoon (4–8 ml) three times per day, may also be taken.
Raspberry leaf may cause mild loosening of stools and nausea. Otherwise, use of the herb appears to be safe.
1. Lust JB. The Herb Book. New York: Bantam Books, 1974, 328–9.
2. Schilcher H. Phytotherapy in Paediatrics. Stuttgart, Germany: Medpharm Scientific Publishers, 1997, 126–7.
3. Tyler VE. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 51–4.
4. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 101–2.
5. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 209.
6. Gladstar R. Herbal Healing for Women. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993, 176.
7. Gladstar R. Herbal Healing for Women. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993, 177.
8. Tyler VE. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedic inals. Binghamton, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 52, 139.
9. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 366.
Last Review: 05-01-2013
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