Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

Red Raspberry: Medical Uses

Modern use is based on the traditional uses of raspberry for mouth sores, irritated mucous membranes, and diarrhea. It may also inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

Historical Uses

Raspberry leaves have been used as a folk remedy for mouth sores, irritated mucous membranes, and diarrhea. Herbalists have sometimes called the red raspberry the herb for pregnancy.

Growth

The raspberry plant is a thorny bush that grows to about 6 feet high. It originated in Europe and Asia and grows in temperate areas. It resembles but should not be confused with the blackberry plant.

Parts Used

• Leaves

• Fruit

Major Chemical Compounds

  • • Vitamins A, B, C, and E
  • Calcium
  • • Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • • Fragarine
  • • Ellagic acid

Red Raspberry: Clinical Uses

Modern use is based on the traditional uses of raspberry for mouth sores, irritated mucous membranes, and diarrhea. It may also inhibit the growth of cancer cells. In a survey of Certified Nursing Midwives who used herbal preparations, 63 percent stated that they used red raspberry leaf to stimulate labor.

Mechanism of Action

Ellagic acid has antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. The astringent properties, which are helpful in alleviating mouth sores and diarrhea, result from the tannin content. Tannins cause vasoconstriction and have anti-inflammatory properties when applied externally (Natural Medicines, 2000).

Red Raspberry: Dosage

Tea (infusion): 2 teaspoons of raspberry leaves in 1 cup of boiling water, steeped for 5 minutes. Strain and drink up to three times a day (Natural Medicines, 2000).

Gargle: Tea infusion may be used as a gargle for irritated mucous membranes.

Lip balm: Made with red raspberry leaves and lemon balm and used for cold sores on lips.

Side Effects

Raspberry may cause allergic reactions.

Herb-Drug Interactions

None are known.

Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding

No restrictions are known.

Summary of Studies

Current studies in progress at the Hollings Cancer Center of the Medical University of South Carolina are looking at the consumption of 1 cup (150 grams) of red raspberries a day and its potential to slow the growth of abnormal colon cells and prevent development of human papilloma virus. Another study by Nixon is looking at red raspberries in prevention of cervical cancer.

Warnings

• Raspberry may cause allergic reactions.

Red Raspberry: Recipes

Red Raspberry Lip Balm

Place 2 cups oil (olive, safflower, or canola) in a glass or enameled double boiler. Place 3 ounces of red raspberry leaf (combined with lemon balm if desired) in the oil and simmer for up to 30 minutes. Do not boil; if you see smoke or bubbling of the entire mixture, the oil is too hot. Then place 1/3 cup of beeswax into the top of a double boiler. As it begins to melt, add the herbal oil and stir. Allow the mixture to cool, and pour it into small containers. Label and date the containers and store them in the refrigerator to maximize shelf life.