Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) is beloved for its luscious red berries and is native to many parts of Europe. The leaves of the raspberry plant are used in classic herbal preparations to support a woman’s health tonically (meaning it can be taken regularly) and especially during their moon time and during pregnancy. The leaves are considered astringent, and astringents are herbs that dry, draw, or shrink tissue and in Chinese medicine they would help clear up conditions of “excess”.
You may know a herb is an astringent if you feel that “puckered” feeling in your mouth that usually comes from the tannins. The medicine within raspberry leaves can relax muscle spasms in the uterus which is why it is a great companion for menstruation, it can help to tone and tighten the uterus and pelvic muscles which is why it has been traditionally used during pregnancy, and it has a very dense nutrient profile which helps to replenish the blood after significant loss. It is naturally high in the vitamins and minerals magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins B, A, C, and E.
The high level of B vitamins in particular makes it useful for relieving nausea, soothing leg cramps, and improving sleep. I love to take raspberry leaf combined with the stinging nettle leaf we learned about 4 weeks ago, because together they pack a powerful nutrient dense punch and are both so incredible for supporting reproductive health and replenishing the blood, or “Qi” in Chinese medicine, which is our vital life force. This week everyone is receiving a sample of nettle and raspberry leaf tea to enjoy!