Learn about the benefits, side effects, risks and uses of red raspberry leaf tea. Read about the effects of this tea for pregnancy, fertility, periods, breastfeeding and labour. Plus how exactly to make a lovely fresh (or dried) cup of red raspberry leaf tea.
Raspberry leaf tea (sometimes called red raspberry leaf) is an infusion made from the leaves of the raspberry plant. This type of tea, often referred to as a uterine tonic, has been used for centuries by women for issues such as morning sickness and for premenstrual symptoms. Many mums-to-be swear by this herbal remedy to shorten labour and boost fertility.
Raspberry leaf tea comes from an infusion of the leaves of the raspberry plant (Rubus idaeus) which is native to Europe and North America. The taste of this tea is bold, rich, similar to black tea and doesn’t taste at all like the sweet red berries produced by the same plant. Unlike black tea, it is naturally caffeine free and so can be enjoyed at any time of the day. The leaf contains many nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium, all of which are important for staying healthy.
Let’s find out more about this long standing herbal remedy…
Many pregnant women swear by the effectiveness of this tea for aiding in delivery but there isn’t too much scientific research or evidence of raspberry leaf on humans or animals that can back up the capabilities of this herb. Let’s look at some of the common questions asked about this ‘woman’s herb’ and what science has to say.
What are the Benefits for Pregnancy and Labour?
Red raspberry leaf tea has been used for centuries as a traditional remedy to aid in labour by boosting blood flow and toning the uterus in preparation for childbirth. It is also believed that this tea can help induce labour and contractions as it is thought to be a natural alternative to pitocin (a medical labour inducer). Many pregnant women start drinking a cup or two a day in the third trimester of pregnancy in the hopes of an easy or easier birth. On top of that, it is further believed that the herb can aid in a speedier postpartum recovery. Studies on the actual effectiveness are lacking and are also contradictory:
This study on raspberry leaf tea shows that the herb can have contractile effects AND relaxing effects! However, from the small studies completed, there is a marginal difference in the reduced amount of post term pregnancies from those women taking raspberry leaf tea compared to those women not taking the tea. Plus a shorter second stage of delivery and a lower rate of the use of forceps from those taking the tea.
This survey of 500 midwives reports that 63% of those midwives recommend using raspberry leaf herbal tea as a labour inducer, however 93% of those midwives actually prefered the use of caster oil as a labour inducer.
Help with Period Pains
As outlined above, red raspberry leaf tea is commonly used as a labour inducer, to bring on uterine contractions. Plus the tea is also used to soothe period pains which are caused by contractions. Using this herbal remedy for both does seem counteractive, but it is thought that taking this tea on a regular basis can help strengthen the uterus and help relax it too!
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea for Fertility
Raspberry leaf tea is also commonly used by women throughout their cycles when trying to conceive because it is thought that the herb can help strengthen and thicken the uterus which can be beneficial for the initial implantation of a pregnancy. The leaf contains phyto-progesterone properties which means it can aid in naturally increasing levels of progesterone. Not only is this beneficial for women trying to get pregnant, but it can also positively affect perimenopausal women with hormone imbalances.
Breast Feeding Support
Some reports show that raspberry leaf tea contains milk boosting qualities, known as galactagogues. The herbal galactagogues in this tea aid in stimulating the body to produce more prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland which causes the breasts to grow and produce milk. Other known herbal galactagogues (milk making aids) include oats, flaxseeds, brewers yeast and fenugreek which is found in mother’s milk tea.
The Side Effects & Risks
Although this tea is often used as an aid for pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal remedies and supplements. It is also recommended that women in their first trimester of pregnancy avoid taking this herb due to the possibility that it may cause uterine contractions.
Because raspberry leaf is a common herb for women’s health and for fertility, it may affect the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and may also interact with other medications. Therefore it’s a good idea to be cautious and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.
How to Make Raspberry Leaf Tea
Here’s how to make a lovely cup of fresh, dried and milk tea too:
Dried leaf tea: You can buy dried raspberry leaf tea in either loose leaf form or as tea bags. To make a cup of dried tea, use 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon of loose leaf and infuse in freshly boiled water for 5-10 minutes. Add sweetener of choice. Alternatively, follow the package instructions.
Fresh tea: To make a cup of fresh raspberry leaf tea, take a small handful of fresh leaves and place in a cup or teapot and allow to infuse for 5-10 minutes. Remove the leaves and add sweetener of choice. Feel free to add some fresh raspberries for added sweetness and flavour.
Make it iced: Take 1-2 teaspoons/1-2 tea bags/a large handful of fresh leaves, and infuse in half a cup of freshly boiled water for 5-10 minutes. Add your sweetener of choice and serve over a large glass of ice. Add fresh fruit such a fresh raspberries and lemon slices.
Milk tea: Because raspberry leaf tea is bold and rich similar to black tea, it can be made with a splash of milk or dairy free milk. Try making a delicious milk tea latte either hot or iced.
Read more: How to Make Milky Tea Lattes at Home
Do you enjoy raspberry leaf tea? Don’t forget to comment below with your tea experiences!
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This blog is for information purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any medical conditions. Always seek advice from your healthcare provider.