Updated: May 25, 2022
Those fresh, delicious, sweet, and sometimes tart red fruits you find in the produce section at the grocery store are great for an afternoon snack or (my personal favorite) frozen and in chocolate ice cream! However did you know that the leaf of this plant is good to use too? It's true! The leaves of the garden variety raspberry plant have been used in folk medicine for ages and for good reason.
Historically the raspberry has represented feminine energy and fertility throughout various continents and cultures. The red color of the fruit has also been referenced for matters of the heart and root chakra energy. The use of raspberries and raspberry leaves, for a range of ailments, has been evident in many indigenous communities and some Asian communities too. One Greek fable mentions Ida, a nursemaid to the infant Zeus, who pricked her finger on the thorny bush and my favorite, a story that raspberry leaf tea became popular with American colonialists when the British taxed black tea.
So you can see that the raspberry plant has a deep history of supporting the well being of many communities for centuries. Our ancestors knew that this plant was good for their bodies and science has caught up with understanding that the raspberry plant is nutrient dense and loaded with vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron. With this understanding of the benefits of the red raspberry plant we can work with it to gain and maintain wellness in our own bodies.
Eating the fruit is one of the yummiest ways to receive the benefits of red raspberries however the leaf has also been made into a tea or tonic to be used for health benefits. Because of its ability to tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, red raspberry leaves have been used to treat ailments such as PMS, cramping, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea and has been used to encourage contractions for a healthy and progressive labor for birth.
Red raspberry leaf tea can be purchased in tea bags, much like any other herbal tea, at your local grocery store or online and the loose leaf can also be purchased at your local herb shop. If you harvest fresh raspberry leaves they must be dried prior to use to avoid stomach upset. Below is a simple recipe to make with dried red raspberry leaves to enjoy this refreshing and revitalizing tea at any time.
Use a ratio of 1 Tbs of loose leaf red raspberry leaf (or 1 tea bag) and 1 cup of boiling water.
Pour boiling water over leaves and steep, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
Strain the tea
Add milk and/or sweetener, or nothin at all
Sarah Foster is a Holistic Wellness Educator and Doula that provides whole person wellness education along with Full Spectrum Doula support for all birthing peoples. This support includes providing thoughtful emotional, spiritual, and physical support before, during, and after pregnancy and pregnancy loss. If you or someone you love in interested in support let's connect! I look forward to connecting!