If you’re pregnant, chances are you’ve heard of raspberry leaf tea or capsules. But there’s SO much misinformation surrounding the herb.
To begin, no it doesn’t taste like raspberries (unfortunately).
Raspberry leaf, also known by its botanical name Rubus Idaeus, has been used for centuries as a women’s remedy, aiding with menstrual pain, fertility, pregnancy and postpartum.
What’s in it?
The active ingredients in the leaf are Flavonoids, tannins (8-14 %), polypeptides, trace minerals (e.g. calcium, iron, phosphorus).
Why consume it?
Contrary to popular belief, raspberry leaf does NOT induce labour. Raspberry leaf tea is safe to consume throughout the second and third trimester.
Raspberry leaf is actually a uterine tonic, which simply means it tones, strengthens and nourishes the uterus in preparation for labour (Hoffman, 2003).
Its high concentration of minerals and polypeptides means that raspberry leaf tea increases the ability of the uterus to contract efficiently.
The high tannin content also means raspberry leaf acts as an astringent (tightening action) on mucus membranes. Simply this means it can help to reduce fluid loss (in the example of diarrhoea or uterine bleeding).
Studies have shown by taking 2 cups of raspberry leaf tea (or 2 x 1.2 mg capsules), the second stage of labour was shortened and a lower rate of forceps delivery (Simpson et al, 2001).
Another study has suggested the herb may decrease the chance of having a preterm (before 37 weeks) or post term baby, and possibly lower the chances of caesarean section (Parsons, 1999).
When to take:
Studies have shown taking two cups daily in the Third Trimester (from 28 weeks onwards) is known to be safe in pregnancy (Simpson et al, 2001).
How to take:
Raspberry leaf is available in a capsule form or loose dried herb (either alone or in a blend with other dried herbs.
You can brew the dried herb alone: 1 -2 teaspoons steeped in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes to 24 hours. The longer the herb is left to steep, the more concentrated it is and mineral content is increased.
You can also find blends of herbal tea containing raspberry leaf mixed with other pregnancy safe herbs for a different flavour if plain raspberry leaf isn’t your thing. Pregnant Goddess tea is ideal, containing a blend of raspberry leaf with with honey bush and chamomile to provide a naturally sweet and enjoyable flavour.
Whilst raspberry leaf is considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it’s always best to check with your health care professional.
Aviva Romm https://avivaromm.com/herbal-medicines-in-pregnancy-safety/
Hoffmann, David. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science & Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, a division of Inner Traditions International.
Simpson M, et al. “Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor,” Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 46 (2001): 51-59.