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Fertility Herbal Tonic: Red Raspberry Leaf

Fertility Herbal Tonic: Red Raspberry Leaf

Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus, spp) is one of the most well known and most loved fruits in the world, but in the herbal and midwifery world its leaves are also a dearly treasured herbal remedy for women of childbearing age. Raspberry Leaf is most popular as a tonic for pregnancy and labor, but it is also excellent as a nutritive and tonic in preparation for pregnancy (it is found in 2 of the primary herbal blends in our best-selling fertility cleanse kit) . It is one of the main herbs that is considered safe (in most cases) to use during pregnancy in preparation for labor. But why wait until you are pregnant to reap the benefits of this wonderful leaf?

Raspberry leaves are high in carotenoids, citric acid, tannins, vitamin A, B complex, C, and E. They also have an easily assimilated form of iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and silica.

Raspberry leaf’s main medicinal actions: astringent, tonic, parturient, refrigerant and antiemetic. Below is a break-down to help you understand what these medicinal actions mean in relationship to this plant.

Astringent: Astringent herbs cause contraction and shrinkage of internal and external body tissues. They also help to prevent hemorrhage or excessive bleeding. Red Raspberry leaves help prevent hemorrhage, making it useful for miscarriage, childbirth, postpartum healing, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and endometrial hyperplasia. The tannins contribute to its astringent properties, which also aid healthy digestive function; this herb is wonderful for alleviating diarrhea.

Uterine Tonic: Its constituent fragrine is an alkaloid that helps to tone the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus. This is a wonderful action for improving uterine health where there is uterine weakness present. This may help prevent miscarriage due to uterine weakness, when used in preparation for pregnancy.

Parturient: Parturient herbs promote labor. A recent study showed that 63% of midwives in the United States use this herb to stimulate labor. Although it is used quite commonly by midwives to stimulate labor, it is used more often to prepare the woman’s uterus for the hard work of labor.

Refrigerant: Raspberry leaf cools the body down and may help to slightly reduce fever. Note: this action only takes place if there is an actual fever present.

Antiemetic: It may reduce morning sickness by easing nausea and helping to prevent vomiting.

“Raspberry leaf works to encourage the uterus to let go and function without tension.”- Susun S. Weed, Author of Wise Woman Herbal For The Childbearing Year.

Red Raspberry for Fertility Issues

This herb may be helpful for the following conditions where there is menstrual bleeding issues or uterine weakness present. It would be best to use this plant to help heal and prepare for pregnancy for at least 3 months prior to trying to conceive.

    Recurrent Miscarriage*: For those who have experienced miscarriage due to uterine weakness.

    Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: The astringent properties of this herb help to stop heavy bleeding. It is also high in iron which may help prevent anemia due to heavy menstrual bleeding.

    Poor Egg Quality/Nutritional Deficiency:
    This herb is very nutritive which helps to boost overall nutrition in preparation for pregnancy. Having adequate nutrient stores prior to pregnancy can help increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy.

    General Preparation for Pregnancy: If you are thinking of trying to get pregnant, this herb may be a great ally for preparing your uterus and boosting overall nutritional intake. It is also safe for men to use to boost their nutrition levels in preparation for conception, as it does not contain any hormone-like substances.

    Uterine Trauma: If you have had surgery to remove fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts or have had uterine prolapse, previous uterine hemorrhage or a Cesarean section this herb may help your recovery and may promote healing of the uterus. The toning effect of Red Raspberry leaf helps the uterus to recover more quickly.

Traditional Usage of Red Raspberry Leaf

This herb is best taken as an infusion (herbal tea). Drink 1 cup, 1-3 times a day. Pour ¼ cup of dried red raspberry leaf into a quart mason jar, fill with freshly boiled water, cover and let steep for at least 15-30 minutes. For a stronger infusion, steep for 3-4 hours. You can purchase loose red raspberry leaf here…

Red Raspberry leaf is also sold as a tincture (liquid drops) and tablets. Please follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage for the product you have purchased.

It has been shown extremely safe to consume everyday in preparation for pregnancy as well as throughout pregnancy to prepare for labor and birth.

*Slight Caution: The following information is based on my personal experiences as a practitioner. In a couple of clients I have worked with, with who have a history of recurrent miscarriage due to an “irritable” or “weak” uterus, I suggest that it may be best to use red raspberry for pregnancy preparation (3-6 months prior to trying to conceive) and avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy. The effect of this herb on the uterus appears to be too much for some women. It is fine to start drinking it again in the 2nd trimester, once pregnancy is established.

Simple At Home Infusion Preparations

Red Raspberry leaves have a mild flavor as opposed to other herbal teas, and they combine well with other herbs. All herbs below should be purchased dried rather than fresh.

Nutritive Pregnancy Preparation Tonic
This tea is a wonderful mild uterine tonic, digestive tonic, and gently supports liver health.

2 part Red Raspberry leaves
1 part Nettles
1 part Dandelion Leaf
½ part Oatstraw
½ part Peppermint

Super Yummy C
This infusion is high in Vit. C has a beautiful pink color and is delicious. Steep this tea for at least 30 minutes; rose hips take longer to steep.

1 part Red Raspberry leaves
1 part Rose Hips
¼ part Hibiscus flower

Super Green
This is an easy way to get a daily dose of greens! Steep this tea for 3-4 hours before drinking.

2 parts Red Raspberry Leaf
1 part Nettles
1 part Alfalfa leaf
½ part Parsley leaf
½ part Dandelion leaf
½ part Peppermint or Spearmint

References

  • McFarlin, B. L., Gibson, M. H., O’Rear, J., & Harman, P. (1999). A NATIONAL SURVEY OF HERBAL PREPARATION USE BY NURSE‐MIDWIVES FOR LABOR STIMULATION. Journal of nurse-midwifery, 44(3), 205-216. DOI: 10.1016/S0091-2182(99)00037-3 Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1016/S0091-2182%2899%2900037-3
  • Simpson, M., Parsons, M., Greenwood, J., & Wade, K. (2001). Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 46(2), 51-59. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1016/S1526-9523%2801%2900095-2
  • Weed, Susun. (n.d.) Herbal Allies for Pregnancy Problems. Retrieved from: http://susunweed.com/Article_Pregnancy_Problems.htm
  • Romm, Aviva. (2010). Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. St. Louis, Missouri: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier
  • Weed, Susan S. (1986). Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Woodstock, New York: Ash Tree Publishing.
  • Hoffman, David. (1990). The New Holistic Herbal. Element Books Limited.
  • Chevallier, Andrew. (1996) The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing.
  • Lust, John. (1978) The Herb Book. Bantam Books.
  • Mabey, Richard. (1988). The New Age Herbalist. Simon and Schuster.

Dalene Barton-Schuster - Certified Herbalist, Birth Doula

Practicing natural health and herbalism for over 18 years, Dalene received her training and herbal certification under the guidance of Lynn Albers at Yarmony Mt. Herbal College in Colorado in 2000. She went on to become a Certified Birth Doula at Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, Oregon in 2007. As a Birth Doula, Dalene has helped to bring many new lives in to this world. Dalene has written 280+ fertility articles and with her vast array of herbal and holistic healing knowledge has helped 1000’s of women on their journey to Motherhood.

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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[-] 147 Comments
  1. Thank you for sharing this. I have had 3 miscarriages in a row, just started leaf tea hoping it helps!

  2. Thank you for your very helpful information! I ate two respberry capsules daily as the bottle directed and found myself tight in head and legs and slpeepy. I got such feeling when I took slow flow last time when I used it for my long period. Could it be raspberry since I thought slow flow also contained such? I have long and heavy period after D&C and was trying to adjust to prepare for future conception.

    • Dear Minna,

      I suspect there could be a correlation, yet I have not ever heard of this happening from Red Raspberry leaf. The only thing that I can think is that you may be allergic to the plant (which would be very rare). It could also have been another ingredient in the capsule(s). It may also be best to reach out to the company that made the Red Raspberry product you are using to see if they have had this issue before.

      Take care!

  3. Hello, I drank 1 cup of RRL tea prior to conception. I stopped once I found out I was pregnant. I am now 23 weeks pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy and baby. When should I start drinking it again? Should I start with 1 cup a day and build up to more or just stay with 1 cup?
    Thank you in advance

    • Dear Alana,

      Congratulations! This is so exciting!

      Red Raspberry leaf if known to be safe in the 2nd and third trimester for nourishment and to support uterine health as it continues to grow and prepare for labor. How much you take is up to you really. Often midwifes will suggest 2-3 cups throughout the day. We love this Three Ps tea if you are interested. The recipe is in our guide Nutritive Herbal Teas For Preconception Through Pregnancy.

      May you have a happy and healthy remainder or your pregnancy, birth and baby!

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