Red raspberry leaf tea is made from the leaves of the red raspberry or Rubus idaeus which is a popular garden shrub grown for its red fruits. A long tradition exists of drinking red raspberry leaf tea as a beneficial drink for people assigned female at birth (PAFAB) of menstruating age and those in the last two trimesters of pregnancy. It has nutritional value due to its vitamin and mineral content and would make a good choice of tea for any herbal tea drinker.
Nutrients from raspberry leaf tea
Raspberry leaf tea contains the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin B including vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Raspberry leaves contain the following phytonutrients or plant nutrients:
Benefits of raspberry leaf tea for hormones
The vitamin B6 found in raspberry leaf binds to oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone receptors and can be beneficial to aiding hormone balance by regulating hormones. This action to balance hormones could be of benefit in premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Although red raspberry leaf tea may help with symptoms of PMS, chasteberry or Vitex agnus castus may be a better choice of herbal remedy having direct effect on hormonal balance through the pituitary gland (which releases several important hormones).
Many of the benefits of raspberry leaf tea are not due to direct hormonal effects but relate to the effect raspberry leaf has on the uterus. The uterus is a hollow organ in a woman's body which is responsible for gestation (pregnancy), menstruation, labour and delivery. This organ is very muscular and expands during the gestation process and then contracts to aid delivery of the baby.
Eases menstrual cramps
Raspberry leaf tea has been traditionally used for treating menstrual cramps or period pain. This is also due to the tonic effect raspberry leaf has on the uterine muscle. Period pain is caused by spasms occurring in the uterus which function to help remove the blood lining in the womb. This is a normal process but with the help of herbal remedies such as raspberry leaf tea this process can be regulated and made more efficient, this would result in less pain accompanying periods.
Eases pelvic pain
Causes of pelvic pain such as pelvic congestion syndrome could benefit from the uterine tonic effect of red raspberry leaf tea. Raspberry leaf could reduce pelvic congestion, improve the circulation of blood in the pelvis and improve general pelvic tone.1
Red raspberry leaf tea may act to enhance fertility as it has actions that strengthen the uterus therefore making a pregnancy more likely.
During pregnancy raspberry leaf tea can reduce morning sickness but pregnant women are advised to be cautious or even avoid red raspberry leaf tea in early pregnancy.1
Raspberry leaf tea is considered to be a uterine tonic during labour and increases the flow of blood to the uterus which then helps regulate the contractions. This action is due to an active chemical component of raspberry leaf the alkaloid fragrine which acts on smooth muscle.
Raspberry leaf tea would also help with the reduction of pain during labour and has indications for preventing excessive blood loss following delivery of the baby. The tea may also reduce the need for medical interventions during labour as lower rates of forceps delivery had been found in trials. Other trials showed decreases in caesarean section rates.1
Many studies have been done on the effects of raspberry leaf tea going back as far as the first laboratory study in 1941. These studies have confirmed that red raspberry leaf’s constituents do act to both stimulate and relax smooth muscle.
Raspberry leaf tea is thought to help with breast milk production and is considered as a galactagogue (substance that increases breast milk production).2
Slows the effects of ageing
General health benefits can be gained from drinking red raspberry leaf tea as it is rich in nutrients and antioxidants which benefit overall health and resist the effects of the ageing processes. Antioxidants act by scavenging free radical oxygen species that are damaging to human cells.
How to use raspberry leaf tea in our diet?
Drink raspberry leaf tea as your choice of herbal tea either alongside or as a replacement for regular tea. Red raspberry leaf tea is available to buy from many stockists in tea bags, sometimes in combination with other herbs or the dried raspberry leaf can be bought as an individual herb. Fans of herbal tea could blend red raspberry leaf with other herbs such as nettle or peppermint to produce a nutritious and iron rich tea. This blend of herbal tea may be of benefit if you have any signs of iron deficiency such as tiredness or pale skin.
Red raspberry leaf tea does not taste dissimilar to ordinary black tea, it is a fairly mild herbal tea with a similar taste to green tea. Slightly bitter and astringent (drying) taste and effect on the mouth much like black or green tea, this effect if undesirable could be reduced by not infusing the herb or tea bag for a prolonged time. If you like your tea or herbal tea a little sweeter then you can add your own choice of sweetener to the red raspberry leaf tea such as sugar, honey or artificial sweeteners.
How much is enough?
Caution should be exercised with drinking raspberry leaf tea and it should be avoided in the first three months of pregnancy so as to not stimulate the uterus and risk miscarriage. As a herbal tea it can be drunk up to three times daily in the second trimester at a dosage of 2-8 gm of dried herb. Raspberry leaf can also be taken in other forms such as fluid extract at a dose of 2-10 ml.
Red raspberry leaf tea is a pleasant herbal tea which has some health and nutritional benefits. This herbal tea may help where hormonal imbalance is causing premenstrual syndrome or where periods are heavy known as menorrhagia. Raspberry leaf may help with painful periods by regulating the uterine muscle and reducing spasms. Where pelvic congestion occurs due to pelvic conditions such as fibroids which is attributed to hormonal imbalance and oestrogen dominance this tea may help with symptoms. Many of the benefits of red raspberry leaf are because it acts to increase circulation in the pelvis rather than directly influencing hormonal balance. Many studies have demonstrated its actions on the uterus which may help during pregnancy and childbirth. It helps the uterus function effectively by contributing to the strength and tone of this muscular organ.
- Ce test: herb use in pregnancy: what nurses should know. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing [Internet]. 2005 Jun [cited 2023 Aug 24];30(3):207. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/mcnjournal/citation/2005/05000/ce_test__herb_use_in_pregnancy__what_nurses_should.10.aspx
- Bowman R, Taylor J, Muggleton S, Davis D. Biophysical effects, safety and efficacy of raspberry leaf use in pregnancy: a systematic integrative review. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies [Internet]. 2021 Feb 9 [cited 2023 Aug 24];21(1):56. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-021-03230-4
- Vaughn CJ. Drugs and lactation database: lactmed. Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries [Internet]. 2012 Oct [cited 2023 Aug 24];9(4):272–7. Available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15424065.2012.735134