Raspberry Leaf in Pregnancy

Raspberry Leaf.  Rubus idaeus.

Raspberry leaf is commonly recommended for use during pregnancy, and is also fairly easily available in Botswana.  The leaf is generally used medicinally, whilst the fruit is nutritious and has a cooling action.  Raspberry leaf, especially the wild one is effective as a uterine tonic, it contains large quantities of calcium, and will help to firm and tone slack muscles.  It is highly recommended to prepare the uterus for labour.  It stimulates the kidneys to function more efficiently, purifies the blood, and enhances metabolic function.  Combined with Chamomile and peppermint, it can be taken as a drink for three months before the birth.  Alternatively, raspberry leaf is often taken until the last month of pregnancy, and then Nettle is taken to provide the foetus with enough Vitamin K prior to birth.  During labour, raspberry leaf may be drunk to help prevent post-partum hemorrhage, this may be continued for 2 – 3 weeks after the birth to encourage the muscles to contract and resume their normal shape.

Suggested dosage:  1 – 5 ml of tincture 3 times daily OR 1 tsp of herb infused in boiling water 1 – 3 times daily.

When purchasing raspberry leaves, they should be white on one side, green on the other, not a uniform brown.

Brewed as a tea or infusion, red raspberry leaf is the best known and safest of all pregnancy / uterine tonic herbs.  Its active ingredient is fragrine, an alkaloid which gives tone to the muscles of the pelvic region, and the uterus.  It also contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals, working in conjunction with the fragrine to enhance its action; most notably, Vitamins C and E, easily assimilated calcium and iron, and also containing vitamins A and B complex, and the minerals phosphorous and potassium.  Raspberry leaf infusion contains calcium in its most absorbable form. The presence of phosphorous and Vitamins A and C in the leaves further enhance calcium absorbtion.

Benefits of drinking raspberry leaf tea

Increased fertility, men and women:  It is effective, when combined with Red Clover as a fertility enhancer.  ½ oz. Red Clover blossoms, ½ oz. Red Raspberry leaves infused in a quart of water for 4 hours.  One cup to be taken daily.

Preventing miscarriage and post-partum haemorrhage:  When the uterus is well toned, the likelihood of miscarriage or haemorrhage from a relaxed or atonic uterus is reduced.

Easing of nausea in the first trimester of pregnancy:  Taken in the first three months of pregnancy, its calming action will help with  morning sickness.

Natural tension reliever:  It is known to have a calming effect on the emotions.  Combined with peppermint or Spearmint in half the quantitiy, it can help lift the spirits and renew flagging energy levels.

Preventing hypertension:  Raspberry leaf combined with nettle, drunk regularly, can  help to prevent high blood pressure.

Gum disease:  It is useful for gum disease when made into a mouthwash.

Reducing pain during labour:  Toned muscles create a more effective labour, thus reducing the pain and prolonged labour, and speeding recovery time.  It does not counter the pain of cervical dilation.

Childbirth:  Contractions are not strengthened by taking raspberry leaf infusions prior to the birth, but the contracting uterus is said to work more effectively, thereby speeding up birth.  It encourages the uterus to let go and function without tension.

Expulsion of the placenta:  The tonic action of raspberry leaf facilitates placental expulsion with an atonic uterus.  Chips of frozen raspberry leaf infusion sucked throughout the labour help keep the uterus working strongly and smoothly.

Breast milk production:  The high mineral content in raspberry tea stimulates milk production, however it is very astringent and there are other more palatable breast milk enhancers.

Post-partum depression:   Raspberry leaf may be taken combined with the following herbs, in the quantities stated, to help reduce post-partum depression. ½ oz. dried, shredded liquorice root (hormonal balance, uplifting.); 1 oz. dried, crumbled raspberry leaves (tones uterus, calcium makes life seem easier); 1 oz. dried, finely cut rosemary leaves (Increases milk flow, adds calcium, lifts depression); 1 oz. dried, cut skullcap. (calcium, nerve strengthener, soothing.); Mixed, use 2 tsp per cup of boiling water.  2 cups daily for 2 weeks to 2 months.

Bibliography

Curtis S. Fraser R.  Natural Healing for Women.  Harper Collins.  1991. Weed S.  Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.  Ash Tree Publishing.  1986. Vogel H.C.A.  The Nature Doctor.  Bookman Press.  1995.

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