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The Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) is a pale-green leaf produced by the Raspberry plant; an upright shrub with perennial roots and prickly, biennial canes. The leaf has many medical uses due to its rich content in vitamins, minerals, and tannins.

Contents

Uses

Pregnancy

The leaves contain high concentrations of several vitamins and minerals because of the plant's secondary compounds. As a result, it is used as an aid for pregnancy and delivery.

Vitamin C and vitamin E are present in large amounts as well as Vitamin A and some B Complex. Increased Vitamin A intake in the form of the carotenoids of red raspberry leaf can aid the women’s immune system as well as facilitate healthy skin and bone development for the baby. Vitamin E serves to promote better circulation in the mother who is dramatically increasing her blood volume during pregnancy. The Red raspberry leaf also contains many essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, and an easily assimilated form of calcium. An increased availability of calcium is necessary in controlling nerve response to pain during childbirth and in aiding bone development in the fetus. It also contains fragrine, an alkaloid which help tone the muscles of the pelvic region including the uterus. This allows the uterus to contract more powerfully and effectively during labor. Also, many midwives report that it aids in focusing the pre-labor contractions that help a woman’s uterus to prepare for delivery. The high vitamin and mineral content help replace those lost via blood loss during delivery. Also, the alkaloids will continue toning the uterus as it returns to its usual size. In some women, the high mineral content may even help their milk to come in. Some people believe it is not recommended for breast feeding and use of the leaf should conclude with in 6 weeks of birth. However, according to Every Woman's Herbal, raspberry leaf tea will enrich the mother's milk, especially during periods when the baby is going through a growth spurt. Continuing to consume raspberry leaf after the baby is 6 weeks old is not dangerous to the mother or the infant and may be beneficial.

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Medical Ailments

The leaves are described as astringent in use. This is brought on by tannins found in a plant. The action of tannins as an astringent can be effective in soothing inflammation and constricting the tissues of the intestines to prevent water loss. As a result. the tannin content of red raspberry leaf provides an effective treatment to soothe diarrhea or intestinal inflammation, especially in children. It can also be used as a mouth wash to soothe mouth and throat irritations.

Raspberry leaf tea also acts as an astringent on irritated skin by tightening the top layers of skin or mucous membranes effectively reducing secretions, relieving irritation, and improving tissue firmness.

Preparation

Raspberry Leaf Tea can be made by the infusion of 1 ounce of the dried leaves in a pint of boiling water. Often taken cold, the tea can give immediate relief to mouth and stomach problems.

The leaf may also be combined with the powdered bark of slippery elm to make a poultice for application to the skin to treat wounds, burns, and scalds.

References

  • Weed, Susun S., Wise Women Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Woodstock, New York: Ash Tree Publishing, 1986
  • Bove N.D,Mary, An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants. Chicago, Illinois: Keats Publishing, 2001
  • Graham, Graham and Wilcox, Plant Biology. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2003
  • Balch and Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing. New York, New York: Avery Publishing, 2000
  • Tierra, Michael, the way of Herbs. New York, New York: Pocket Books, 1998
  • Christopher N.D, John R. and Cathy Gileadi, Every Woman's Herbal. Springville, Utah: Christopher Publications, 1987

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