Red raspberry is a plant that is the source of a widely eaten, tasty, sweet berry. However, red raspberry fruit and leaf have also been used as medicine for centuries. The therapeutic use of raspberry leaf was first described in 1597 in a book called “The Herbal,” or “A General History of Plants.” Today, red raspberry leaf and fruit are still used as medicine.
Red raspberry leaf is used for gastrointestinal (GI) tract disorders, including diarrhea; for respiratory system disorders, including flu and swine flu; and for heart problems, fever, diabetes, and vitamin deficiency. It is also used to promote sweating, urination, and bile production. Some people use it for general "purification of skin and blood.”
Some women use raspberry leaf for painful periods, heavy periods, morning sickness associated with pregnancy, preventing miscarriage, and easing labor and delivery.
Red raspberry leaf is applied directly to the skin for sore throat and skin rash.
In foods, red raspberry fruit is eaten and processed into jams and other foods. Red raspberry leaf in small quantities is a source of natural flavoring in Europe.
How does it work?
The chemicals in red raspberry might have antioxidant effects and help relax blood vessels. They might also cause muscles to contract or relax, depending on the dose and the muscle involved. This is the theory behind red raspberry’s use in easing labor and delivery.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Stomach problems.
- Heart problems.
- Respiratory system problems.
- Vitamin deficiencies.
- Fluid retention.
- Skin rash.
- Sore throat.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
Red raspberry fruit is LIKELY SAFE for most people when eaten in food amounts and POSSIBLY SAFE when taken in larger amounts as medicine.
No side effects from taking red raspberry have been reported.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s LIKELY SAFE to eat red raspberry in food amounts during pregnancy. Red raspberry leaf is POSSIBLY SAFE for use in medicinal amounts during late pregnancy, but only under the direct supervision of a healthcare provider. Red raspberry leaf is commonly used by nurse midwives to ease delivery. Don’t take it on your own. The concern is that red raspberry might act like the hormone estrogen, and this might harm the pregnancy.
Not enough is known about the safety of taking red raspberry during breast-feeding. It’s best to stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Red raspberry might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use red raspberry.
The appropriate dose of red raspberry depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for red raspberry. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.