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Herbal Monograph

Herb:  RED RASPBERRY LEAVES   (Rubus ideaus; Rosaceae)

Other Names:

Character/Energetics:  mild, bitter, cool   (6); dry, astringent, generally cooling  (15)                             

Meridians/Organs/Body Parts affected:   spleen, liver, kidneys  (6); stomach, liver, blood, genitourinary system and muscles.    (14)

Part(s) used:   the leaves (6);  leaves and berries   (15)                                                                                                     

Identification & Harvesting:    A 2 m. high deciduous bush with erect, woody stems, densely covered with tough thorns.  The aerial part is biennial, while the creeping root is perennial.  Leaves are pale green, 3 leaves atop 7 leaflets.  Cultivated in temperate climes.  White, 5-petaled flowers.  (2)

Collect leaves throughout  growing season.  Dry slowly in a well-ventilated area to ensure preservation of principles.    (8)

Leaves–harvest in summer before the fruit ripens.    

Berries–harvest when ripe in late summer    (15)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Leaves are stalked, pinnate, with two pairs of ovate leaflets, and a larger terminal one, the leaflets doubly serrate at the margins, rounded at the base, and abruptly pointed at the apex, and greyish white beneath, with appressed felted hairs, 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches long and 2-3 inches broand.  Tastes astringent.  No odor.    (57)

A highly variable plant group found in Eurasia and North America.  Most of the supply comes from Europe.    (61)

Active Constituents:     gallo tannins and ellagic tannins;  flavonoids, vitamin C.    (2)

Leaves — fruit sugar, volatile oils, pectin, citric acid, malic acid.    (8)

leaves    1 to 2% organic acids of which 90% is citric acid; vitamin C, pectins and  sugar    (6);  fragarine (uterine tonic), tannins, polypeptides   (15)                                                     

berries    vitamins A, B, C, E, sugars, minerals, volatile oil   (15) 

Leaves contain flavonoids, tannins and various acids, common principles.    (61)

Actions:     leaves  hemostatic, astringent, mild alterative, parturient  (6);

Primarily antispasmodic, astringent;  also alterative, stimulant, tonic    (14)

astringent, preparative for childbirth, stimulant, digestive remedy, tonic (15)                       berries   diuretic, laxative, diaphoretic, cleansing     (15)                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Astringent, stimulant.    (57)

Astringent properties.  In pregnant rats, it inhibits contraction of uterine muscles.  One report states it causes more regular, less frequent contractions.  An identified principle stimulates smooth-muscle action, esp. uterine muscle.  Another identified principle reduces uterine contractions.  But there are no studies that corroborate these actions in vivo.    (61)

Conditions & Uses:     Used for disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, cardiovascular system, mouth and throat.    (2)

Leaves:   Red raspberry is used to treat irregular and excessive menstruation,         diarrhea and dysentery, is a general hemostatic for bleeding, and      commonly is used before childbirth to prepare the womb for birthing  (6)

A long tradition of use in pregnancy to strengthen and tone the tissue of the womb, assisting contractions and checking any hemorrhageduring labor, as long as it is taken regularly throughout pregnancy and during labor.  As an astringent, it treats diarrhea, leukorrhea, and other loose conditions.  Helps heal mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and oral inflammation.  Soothes sore throat when gargled.    (8)

Internal uses — cankers, pre-parturition, mouth sores:  infusion, tincture, fluid extract.  Bowel tonic: cold infusion.  Colds, diarrhea, measles, morning sickness:  infusion*.  Coughs, ulcers:  infusion*, syrup*.  Dysentery:  infusion*, tincture*, fluid extract*.

External uses — cankers, mouth sores:  gargle.  Eyewash:  infusion.  Leukorrhea:  Douche.  Wounds and burns:  poultice of leaves mixed with slippery elm.

*Usually used in combination with other herbs when treating the indicated problem.

Red raspberry is a mild, pleasant, stimulating, astringent tonic to the mucus membranes.  It is splendid in the relief of urinary irritation, soothing the kidneys and the whole urinary tract.  As a douche or an enema for dysentery, combine it with myrrh or goldenseal in equal parts.  It will stop uterine hemorrhages.  Raspberry tea is excellent to drink during pregnancy for relieving cramps and pain, morning sickness (good combined with peppermint), and an aid to ease in childbirth.

For relief of kidney infection, chronic dysentery and hemorrhages:

tincture of witch hazel 25 drops

tincture of goldenseal 12 drops

tincture of raspberry 10 drops

Mix these together in two cups of water and take on tablespoon (adult dosage) as frequently as needed.  This is also an excellent gargle for throat diseases.    (14)

      Taken during late pregnancy and childbirth, the leaves are an effective uterine              stimulant. They are also astringent, so are useful for diarrhea, wounds, sore throats           and mouth ulcers. The leaves have been included in rheumatic remedies as a        cleansing diuretic, and in France they are regarded as a tonic for the prostate gland.               

    Use as a simple during pregnancy; add rose petals and wood betony to infusion during                   labor.

Berries   Traditionally taken for indigestion and rheumatism, the berries are rich in vitamins and    minerals and highly nutritious….The juice has been used in folk medicine as a cooling        remedy for fevers, childhood illnesses and cystitis.    (15)

The infusion of an ounce to a pint of boiling water is used as a general gargle in sore mouths, canker of the throat, etc., and as a wash for ulcers and wounds.  Combined with slippery elm the leaves yield a good poultice for removing proud flesh and cleansing wounds.  It will be found valuable in stomach complaints of children.  The tea is recommended in pregnancy for strength and for facilitating parturition.  Should be taken freely before and during labor, and always taken warm.    (57)

Traditionally used for diarrhea, stomach ailments, tonsillitis, conjunctivitis, dysentery, menstrual cramps, fevers, colds, flu.  The tea was used to treat wounds.  The primary, modern herbal tradition is to facilitate childbirth;  the tea is often suggested throughout pregnancy for morning sickness, to reduce risk of miscarriage, and strengthen uterine muscles thereby reducing labor pains.    (61)

Combinations:    Combine with purgative and blood purifying herbs.    (2)

Use as a simple during pregnancy; add rose petals and wood betony to infusion during labor.   (15)                                                                                  

Combined with slippery elm the leaves yield a good poultice for removing proud flesh and cleansing wounds.    (57)

Precautions:    Avoid high doses of the leaves during early pregnancy, because they can stimulate the uterus.   (15)                                                        

Because of uterine effects, use during pregnancy only under experienced medical supervision.    (61)                                                                                                                                

Tincturing Process:

Applications:    Fluid extract:  1-2 tsp frequently.  Powder:  5-10 #0 capsules (30-60 grains) frequently.(14)

Leaves Infusion–To ease childbirth, take one cup daily in the last six to eight weeks of                        pregnancy, and drink plenty of warm tea during labor. Can also be used for                            mild diarrhea or as a gargle for mouth ulcers and sore throats.  

        Tincture–More astringent than the infusion, the diluted tincture is used on                              wounds and inflammations or as a mouthwash for ulcers and gum                        inflammations.

        Wash–Use the infusion for bathing wounds, and apply regularly to varicose ulcers and sores. It also makes a soothing eyewash.


Vinegar–Steep 500 g fruit in 1 liter wine vinegar for two weeks, then strain.          This thick red liquid can be added to cough mixtures or used in gargles for           sore throats. Its pleasant taste can help disguise the flavor of other herbal expectorants.     (15)


Dosage:    6‑15 gms.   (6)

Liquid leaf extract dose, 1-2 drachms.    (57)

Up to 2.5 g. capsules daily.  Steep 1 tsp dried leaf in 1 cup hot water for 10-15 min, as often as 10 x daily.    (61)

General Notes:    “The fruit is good to be given to those that have weake and queasie                                                 stomackes.”   (JohnGerard, 1597)

The raspberry plant was a favorite household remedy. Raspberry vinegars were used for sore throats and coughs; the leaves in infusions for diarrhea or as poultices for hemorrhoids; and raspberry syrup to prevent a buildup of tartar on teeth. Gerard considered the fruit “of a temperate heat,” so it was easier on the stomach than strawberries, which could cause excess phlegm and chilling. Today, raspberry leaf tea is still taken to prepare for childbirth.   (15)

Little research has been conducted.    (61)



(2)  PDR for Herbal Medicines (Medical Economics Co., 1998), pgs. 1104-05

(6) Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., pg. 263

(8)  The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman, p. 227

(14) Natural Healing With Herbs by Humbart Santillo BS, MH, pgs. 165-66

(15) The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody, pgs. 93, 170-171

(57) Potter’s Cyclopaedia by R.C. Wren, F.L.S., p. 292

(61) 101 Medicinal Herbs by Steven Foster, pgs. 166-67


PHOTO: Wikipedia