Red raspberries are very common, whether on your cereal or in a jam jar. The leaves of red raspberry also have been a folk treatment in Europe for hundreds of years. Some pregnant women take red raspberry leaves to try to trigger labor or to ease pain during childbirth.
Although many midwives suggest red raspberry leaf during the later stages of pregnancy, there isn't any good evidence that it helps. One study of red raspberry found that it didn't shorten labor or prevent labor pain.
Scientists don't know if red raspberry helps in other ways during pregnancy -- like preventing morning sickness or regulating contractions.
There's some evidence that red raspberry fruit could affect how the body processes fat. Theoretically, it may help people lose weight, but that's not certain.
According to traditional medicine, red raspberry has other uses. People take it to try to:
Soothe upset stomach
Treat mouth sores
No one has studied these uses, so they are unproven.
There's no standard dose for red raspberry. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it very hard to establish a standard dose.
Can you get red raspberry naturally from foods?
Red raspberries are a food. The leaves are sometimes used as a natural flavoring. Many people drink red raspberry leaf tea.
What are the risks?
Tell your doctor about any supplements you're taking, even if they're natural. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with medications.
Side effects. As a food, red raspberries are safe. As a treatment, red raspberry leaf seems to be safe for most people.
Risks. Red raspberry could start premature labor in pregnant women. If you're pregnant, ask your doctor if it's safe.
Red raspberry might have estrogen-like effects. It may not be safe if you have conditions sensitive to estrogen. These include:
Red raspberry supplements may not be safe for children or for women who are breastfeeding.
Interactions. If you take any medications regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using red raspberry supplements. There's always a risk they could interact with other supplements or drugs.