Herb Spotlight: Red Raspberry Leaf

One of quintessential herbs for women’s health, Red Raspberry Leaf, Rubus idaeus, has been used by since ancient Greece. This astringent herb is combined in Lady’s Herb tea with other herbs beneficial for a woman’s well-being. With the upcoming new moon and the moon relating to a woman’s cycle, it seems appropriate to talk about this herb.

Red Raspberry Leaf comes from a deciduous shrub that is found in the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, and Asia. (1) The young new teas are the ones selected for herbal infusions and tisanes. (2) The leaves are lobed and sharp-toothedwith smooth surfaces on top along with white hairs on the bottom. (1)

People tend to turn to this herb for situations where a woman experiences excessive menstrual bleeding as well as menstrual cramps. Even though it is most commonly thought about for these situations, this herb is also used for gastrointestinal relief (Balch, 2012, p.120), lowering blood sugar (Balch, 2012, p.120), respiratory disorders (Medscape, 2016, Suggested Uses), and diarrhea (Johnson, Foster, Low Dog, & Kiefer, 2010, p.303). (3, 4, 5, 1) Some of the traditional uses for the herb are as a gargle for sore throats, using the boiled leaves to apply to wounds and skin ulcers, and the berries have been used as a laxative. (1)

Most commonly used as a uterine tonic, the herb’s fragarine and tannins tone and relax the pelvic and uterine muscles. (3) Several studies have been conducted in terms of women and labor with results showing consumption of red raspberry leaf can shorten labor. (6, 7) Check in with your doctor, midwife, doula, or herbal practitioner if you are pregnant as it can stimulate the uterus.


  1. Johnson, Rebecca; Foster, Steven; Low Dog, Tieraona, M.D.; and Kiefer, David, M.D. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs. National Geographic. 2010. p.301-303
  2. Liversidge, Cassie. Homegrown Tea. St. Martin’s Griffin, New York. 2014. p.82-87
  3. Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women. Simon & Schuster. 1993. p.177, 253-254
  4. Balch, Phyllis, CNC. Prescription for Herbal Healing. 2nd edition. Avery. 2012. p.120-121
  5. Raspberry Leaf. Medscape. (Retrieved on March 20, 2016) Retrieved from: http://reference.medscape.com/drug/red-raspberry-rubus-idaeus-raspberry-leaf-344515#0
  6. Parsons, M., Simpson, M., Ponton, T. Raspberry Leaf and its Effect on Labour: Safety and Efficacy. Originally published in Aust Coll Midwives Inc Journal, 1999 Sept; 12(3):20-5. (Retrieved on March 16, 2016.) Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10754818
  7. Assessment Report on Rubus idaeus L., folium. European Medicines Agency. Published on January 28, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Herbal_-_HMPC_assessment_report/2014/03/WC500163552.pdf