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.
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 leaf from 8 weeks’ gestation; however, most chose to start it between 30 and 34 weeks’ gestation.
TOPICAL INFLAMMATORY CONDITIONS
The high tannin content of raspberry supports its traditional use as a topical treatment for inflammation of the mouth, throat, eye and skin, as well as to treat cuts and wounds.
Once again, the high tannin content of raspberry supports its traditional use as an antidiarrheal agent.
Traditionally understood to act as a choleretic, raspberry is used to improve digestion and detoxifying processes, but controlled studies are not available to determine effectiveness.
Raspberry leaf: Other Uses
As well as a long tradition of use as a ‘women’s tonic’ to facilitate childbirth, cold infusions of raspberry leaf have been used to treat diarrhea, loose bowels and stomach complaints in children. Raspberry leaf has traditionally been incorporated into mouthwashes to treat inflammation of the mouth and throat, used as a diaphoretic for fever, as a choleretic to improve digestion and detoxification, and as a food and flavouring agent. In a small, uncontrolled, prospective pilot study of eight women, raspberry leaf in combination with 11 other botanical extracts was found to relieve menopausal symptoms.
Raspberry leaf: Dosage Range
• Infusion of dried leaf: 4-8 g taken up to three times daily.
• Liquid extract: (1:1): 4-8 mL three times daily.
• Topically, the tea can be used as a mouth or eye wash, or to clean wounds.