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Grow and Use Raspberry Leaf for Medicinal Benefits

Raspberry Leaf

Rubus Ideaus Rosaceae Family Parts Used: Leaf Color: Green, Red Actions: Anti-Inflammatory, Vulnerary, Diuretic, Nutritive, Relaxant, Uterine Tonic, Nervine, Hemostatic, Antioxidant, Emmenagogue Organ Affinity: Women’s Reproductive System, Kidneys Energetics: Cool, Dry (astringent)





Red raspberry is one of my favorite herbs. It's a perennial plant, that grows abundantly, especially in the wild. It doesn't need much maintenance, it does like lots of water but one of my favorite varieties, the heritage, is drought resistant.


Wild varieties have thorns, even on the ends of the stems. It has a predominantly five leaflet pattern with three leaves at the top. The leaves are lighter in color than blackberry leaves so it isn't difficult to tell them apart. The leaves feel soft to me, almost like leather. The leaves are lined with teeth along the edges that are not sharp. I tend to handle the plant with gloves or I handle it by touching the leaves.


The underside of the leaf is white, the stem and top leaves have a reddish hue. The leaves have a central vein with parallel branching on both sides. This plant has a lot of veins in the leaf. The fruit grows in clusters at the top, they come off easily when fully ripe. Don't try to harvest them before then, they will not give and you may break off some of the plant.




Usually plants with thorns have edible fruit because the defense mechanism is the thorns and not the fruit. Plants have no reason to protect poisonous fruit.






Energetics & Actions:


Raspberry is in the rosaceae family, which is the rose family. All of the rose family have astringent properties, blackberries having the highest levels. Raspberry leaves are mildly astringent.




Raspberry is a uterine tonic, it helps to tone and strengthen the uterus. The astringency of the plant is what causes this tightening effect. This plant is wonderful when used during the third trimester and after. When taken during pregnancy it can help the body have an easier and shorter labor. Studies have shown that taking raspberry leaf during the last trimester has a positive impact on the child as well. When taken after birth it can help with the healing of the vagina (sitz bath) and contacting of the uterus.


Even though raspberry leaf is a uterine tonic, it has a total body effect when used on men. Some of the issues this herb can address include excessive bleeding when used topically, as well as reduction of excessive bleeding during menstruation, cramping and diarrhea. Topically this can help with wound healing and painful sores in the mouth.








Preparations:


Raspberry Leafs are too tough to enjoy raw but they are very great tasting in teas. They have a slightly sweet and salty type taste. I think of them as a sweeter nettle. Raspberry Leaf pairs well with nettle, yarrow and mugwort in infusions.


To harvest the leaves I pay attention to the three leaf pattern I mentioned earlier. I take one leaf from each section of three. If i come back to harvest and I see that they are all missing one from each section, I know it is too soon to re-harvest. The light yellow, young tops are the most nutritious, I try to only get the leaves that have no spotting or pest damage.