Red Raspberry Leaf, what have you heard about this juicy plant?
If you have ever been pregnant, chances are this plant has been mentioned, or perhaps you drank it freely in your pregnancy as recommended by wise women. As an herbalist and doula, the information, rather, the MISinformation about this plant is abundant. Many people have been told that this tea should only be drank in your final weeks of pregnancy, which is just so untrue.
Red Raspberry Leaves have been well known for thousands of years as a nourishing tonic. Tonic herbs are best classified as mineral and nutrient dense, clarifying and supportive plants with multiple functions in the body. Most tonic herbs are safe for most conditions, including pregnancy, and support normal bodily functions to maintain or encourage optimal health. Some of my very favorite herbs are tonics, just as Nettles and Alfalfa!
Red Raspberry leaf, a valuable womens tonic, has an infinity for supporting the uterus- making it not only an important herb for a pregnant woman, but for all women with a uterus. We all know that the juicy berries are an amazing source of antioxidants, but the leaves themselves contain critical nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, B vitamins, and vitamin E- just to name a few.
The important piece to note is that Red Raspberry leaves are not emmenagogues or abortificients, meaning that they do not directly stimulate menstruation or birth. I believe that misconceptions revolving around RRL are due to a number of things. Many women are told not to drink the tea leaves until 38 weeks, some blogs and literature recommend drinking the leaves if you are over due, and often times, the leaves are combined in formulas with emmenagogue herbs such as blue cohosh to stimulate menstruation or labor.
Red Raspberry leaves encourage optimal blood flow to the uterus, suppling ample amounts of healthy, nutrient dense blood. The leaves also contain a little alkaloid called fragrine, which specifically strengthens the uterine walls, which are supportive of healthy contractions of the uterus during menstruation and partuition. Because fragrine strengthens the uterine wall, red raspberry is a helpful herb for those looking to conceive, are experiencing threatened miscarriage, or perhaps have scanty menstrual periods.
I'm here to say that Red Raspberry leaf is safe for everyone woman, including those pregnant- in every trimester! At least one cup a day of a strong infusion* is my recommendation for women of all ages.
The flavor of the leaves on their own are reminiscent of black tea and can be enjoyed with honey and mylk. You can also find RRL in my Expecting tea, Calming tea, and Harmonizing tea.
*to prepare a strong infusion, steep 1 tbsp of leaves per 1 cup of hot water and allow to steep for a minimum of 15 minutes, ideally overnight for the most medicinal infusion.