Archive for category Raspberry leaf'

Raspberry: In Preparation For Birth

Raspberry may not now be amongst the herbs most commonly used as an astringent, but it is very widely used as a ‘partus praeparator’, to prepare for birth. Although it is considered to have been used ‘since ancient times’, references to use by women are few in the older authors. The Old English Herbarium gives ripe blackberries for ‘a woman’s menstrual flow,’ ‘three times seven’, simmered down in water by two thirds, made daily and taken on an empty stomach for 3 days. Dodoens recommends the juice of brambles for heavy menstrual flow. Gerard refers to the use of the decoction in all bleeding, and Parkinson, followed by Culpeper, recommends the decoction of the leaves and dried blackberry stems for heavy menstrual flow. Miller says it is considered good in miscarriage. However, there is an association between astringency and strengthening of the tissues and this provides a linkage to the recommendation of raspberry as a ‘partus praeparator’. Quincy includes astringents under strengtheners; substances which maintain the solids in a condition ready to exert themselves into action when needed. Strengtheners include substances ‘which crisp and corrugate the fibres into a more compacted tone’ and substances which absorb and Read more […]

Raspberry: The Astringent Leaf

From the 19th century, the authors recommend use of raspberry leaf and for this we need to discuss the concept of astringency. Samuel Thomson (1832) recounts how he was in Eastport, Maine looking for an astringent herb and discovered raspberry by taste. He describes suitable astringents if chewed as leaving the mouth feeling clean, but not rough and dry. Raspberry is native throughout North America and Thomson later made it his main astringent. Astringents were the basis of No. 3, the third stage in a Thomsonian course of treatment. The sequence in the course of treatment was to use lobelia Lobelia inflata as an emetic, followed by cayenne Capsicum annuum to heat and then astringents to heal the tissues. The third stage was designed to cleanse the stomach and bowels of ‘canker’, thus fully resolving the disease process. The aim was to ‘scour the stomach, promote perspiration, repel the cold’. Thomson defined canker as ‘the coating which prevents the resolution of disease as it prevents the little vessels working’ which is caused by cold overcoming the natural heat of the body. Haller (2000) describes canker as ‘the term both regulars and sectarians used to refer to the hard, greyish substance that lined the stomach Read more […]

Raspberry: Fruits And Cordials The fruit has been mentioned and the next section looks at usage of fruits. The Salernitan herbal describes the unripe blackberries as sour, firm, cold and dry, and thus strengthening to the stomach and intestine, ‘binding the belly’ and for dysentery, especially due to bilious humour. The Salernitan herbal discusses mulberries at more length but refers back to Galen as describing blackberries as restraining, dispersing and separating humours by their sharpness and acidity. Hildegard describes the fruit of blackberry as easily digested but not a medicine. Parkinson quotes Galen on the value of the unripe fruits as an astringent to the digestive tract. Bauhin gives a thorough overview of previous authors and recommends raspberry wine for all uses, especially the stomach and the mouth. He notes that the ancient authors were not referring to raspberries but that raspberries grow everywhere in Germany. He says that Galen found that overeating blackberries causes headaches but that he himself has often eaten many raspberries without harm, despite having a cold, damp and phlegmy stomach. By the 18th century there is more direct reference to raspberry. Cullen, possibly because he was writing Read more […]

Raspberry: Starting With Bramble

Dioscorides (IV 38) sets the scene for all later authors and compares raspberry to the preceding entry for bramble or blackberry. He states that bramble (IV 37) contracts and dries, and recommends a decoction of the branches of bramble for diarrhoea and leucorrhoea, but argues that the juice of the leaves and stems, dried in the sum is stronger. Pliny, Turner, Mattioli, Dodoens, Bauhin, Gerard and Parkinson refer to this preparation. Dioscorides recommends the leaves of bramble chewed to strengthen the gums and heal the thrush, and external use of the leaves as a plaster for shingles, head scurf, ‘prolapses of the eye’, callous lumps, haemorrhoids and ground up externally for those with stomach and heart ailments. For bramble, the authors give prominence to the recommendations of Pliny, which are similar to those of Dioscorides but more detailed, and of Galen, who reads like a summary of Pliny with some added material on the temperament of bramble. The following section is a summary of the recommendations for bramble, as raspberry is considered appropriate for the same uses. For example, Fuchs refers only to bramble and Dodoens gives a full description of brambles. Dodoens identifies the raspberry as growing widely Read more […]

Raspberry And Bramble

Raspberry Rubus idaeus Description Family: Rosaceae Part used: leaves, fruits The Rubus genus is large and diverse and Flora Europaea lists 75 species. It includes deciduous or semi-evergreen perennial herbs or shrubs, which are often spiny with a characteristic fruit formed of a head of one-seeded drupelets. The genus is divided into subgenera of which the largest, Rubus, contains the brambles and blackberries. Rubus idaeus L. is in the Idaeobatus subgenus, which has biennial stems and a fruit that separates from the convex receptacle when ripe. It is a very hardy perennial found throughout temperate Eurasia and North America but only found on mountains in southern Europe. Large stands (to 10 m2) of erect stems, which are rough or smooth with weak prickles bear ovate, pinnate leaves with three to seven leaflets, which are white and tomentose on the underside. The perennial rootstock sends out biennial stems, which produce leaves in the first year and flowering side shoots in the second year. Racemes of five-petalled white flowers (4-7 mm) occur in summer. The fruit is usually red but rarely yellow and separates from the receptacle at maturity. The fruit is an aggregate of drupelets each containing a Read more […]

Raspberry leaf: Questions – Answers

Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions What will this herb do for me? Raspberry leaf preparations have been used since ancient times to prepare the uterus for birth in an attempt to facilitate a complication-free labour. It is also used to treat diarrhea and dyspeptic complaints, and incorporated into a mouthwash to reduce inflammation of the mouth and throat. When will it start to work? Currently, there is insufficient research to answer this question. However, it is used in increasing doses during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Symptomatic relief of diarrhea and inflammation of the oral cavity is likely to occur within the first few doses. Are there any safety issues? Considering raspberry leaf has uterine activity, it is recommended that pregnant women wanting to use it do so under the careful supervision of an experienced healthcare professional.

Raspberry leaf: Adverse Reactions. Interactions. Pregnancy Use. Practice Points

Toxicity There is no evidence that raspberry leaf tea is toxic. Adverse Reactions Owing to the tannin content of the herb, it may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Significant Interactions IRON, CALCIUM, MAGNESIUM Due to its high tannin content, raspberry leaf may decrease absorption of iron, calcium and magnesium, as well as some drugs. As such, it is advised to separate the administration of these substances by at least 2 hours. Contraindications and Precautions The high tannin concentration within the herb means it should be avoided in constipation and used cautiously in active peptic ulcer and gastrointestinal conditions associated with inflammation. Pregnancy Use Clinical studies suggest that it is safe to use after the first trimester, although it is prudent to ensure close professional supervision. Practice Points / Patient Counselling • Raspberry leaves have been traditionally used to prepare the uterus for childbirth, with some modern research suggesting it may be useful. • When used in this way, it is often combined with other herbs and used during the last 6-8 weeks of pregnancy while under close supervision. • Raspberry leaves are high in tannins, which may make them useful as a Read more […]

Raspberry leaf: Clinical Use. Dosage

The therapeutic effects of raspberry have not been significantly investigated under clinical trial conditions, so most evidence is derived from traditional, in vitro and animal studies. UTERINE TONIC Raspberry leaf is commonly used as a ‘partus preparator’ to prepare the uterus for delivery and to facilitate labour, as well as for morning sickness, dysmenorrhoea, leukorrhoea and menorrhagia. In vitro studies using pregnant rat and human uteri preparations suggest that raspberry may increase the regularity and decrease the frequency of uterine contractions. In a double-blind trial of 192 low-risk nulliparous women, raspberry leaf (2 x 1.2 g/day), consumed from 32 weeks’ gestation until labour, was associated with a lower rate of interventions with no adverse effects for mother or baby. Raspberry leaf did not shorten the first stage of labour; however, it did significantly reduce the second stage. A retrospective, observational study of 108 mothers also found that treatment with raspberry leaf was associated with a lower rate of medical intervention. This study further suggested that treatment may shorten labour, and reduce the incidence of pre- and post-term labour. Some pregnant women commenced use of raspberry Read more […]

Raspberry leaf: Background. Actions

Common Name Red raspberry Other Names Framboise, Rubi idaei folium, rubus Botanical Name / Family Rubus idaeus (synonym: Rubus strigosus) (family Rosaceae [roses]) Plant Part Used Leaf Chemical Components Raspberry leaves have a tannin content of between 13% and 15%, as well as flavonoids such as rutin and quercetin, volatile oils, organic acids and vitamin C. Historical Note Although the fruits of the raspberry are used asa luxury food source, midwives have used raspberry leaves since ancient times to prepare the uterus for childbirth. Raspberry has also been used as an antidiarrheal and an astringent to treat inflammations of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. It has also been used for disorders of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts and as an ingredient in dietary drinks. Raspberry leaf: Main Actions Raspberry leaf contains a number of active constituents and their therapeutic actions have been reviewed. Currently, evidence of activity comes from in vitro and in vivo studies. UTERINE EFFECTS Raspberry leaf has demonstrated a variable effect on uterine muscle tone. It contains a smooth muscle stimulant, an anticholinesterase and an antispasmodic. The results of animal studies indicate Read more […]