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Red Raspberry

Red raspberries are very common, whether on your cereal or in a jam jar. But red raspberry leaves have also been a folk treatment in Europe for hundreds of years. Some pregnant women take red raspberry leaves to try to trigger labor or ease pain during childbirth.

Why do people take red raspberry?

While many midwives suggest red raspberry leaf during the later stages of pregnancy, there isn't any good evidence it helps. One rigorous study of red raspberry found that it didn't shorten labor or prevent labor pain.

We 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 we need more evidence.

According to traditional medicine, red raspberry has other uses. People take it to try to:

  • Regulate periods
  • Soothe upset stomach
  • Treat mouth sores

No one has studied these uses, so we don't know if they work.

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 set 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:

  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Breast cancer
  • Uterine cancer

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.

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on February 05, 2013

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