Forbes Nutrional Services

The Many Benefits of Raspberry Leaf Tea

It seems like I have a freakish amount of friends and relatives who are pregnant or are looking to get pregnant soon.  Either the government is adding something to the water or the people I know are just happy and want to bring another life into the world to share their happiness!  In honor of all of you, I wanted to post some fun facts about raspberry leaf tea that I’ve learned either from research or from personal experience.  And no, you don’t have to drop lemons into your glass of tea from a height of 10 feet as seen in the above photo to enjoy the benefits.

Pre-pregnancy benefits

  • Has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy to increase fertility.  If druids drank it, then so can you.
  • Strengthens the uterine wall while relaxing smooth muscle in the uterus, which improves chances of implantation and prevents miscarriage (basically the bizarro opposite effect of gin).
  • Full of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that help the body to detoxify extra hormones that may impede conception.

Pregnancy benefits

  • Hugely miraculous and amazing remedy for morning sickness (according to reports from friends – I did not try raspberry leaf tea myself for this as I did not realize I was pregnant for the 4 days during early pregnancy that I was vomiting and thought I had stomach flu but actually had a parasite known as Mr. Milk).
  • Provides vitamins and minerals including A, B complex, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium in an easily absorbable form to help baby grow while keeping mom nourished.
  • Many women also report that it reduces leg cramps and swelling associated with late pregnancy.


Labor benefits

  • Has been shown to concentrate the effects of contractions to make them more effective.  From personal experience, I drank 1-2 quarts daily of raspberry leaf tea during my last 2 months of pregnancy and had a great labor (8 hours labor at home, 30 minutes in hospital, 10 minutes of pushing).  I can’t say it was just the tea – I think laboring at home helped a lot because I could run around like a crazy person with each contraction rather than being confined to a small hospital room and Mr. Milk was only 5 1/2 pounds at birth (yay for being a small Filipino mom!) – but I do think it helped.
  • May be especially helpful for women who are planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) because of its ability to tone uterine muscles (since the uterus was cut open during the C-section).
  • Many reports I have read from midwives say that the tea especially helps to shorten the second stage of labor (the pushing stage – from complete dilation of the cervix until the baby is born).  I have also heard from midwives that women who drink the tea later in pregnancy tend to have extremely strong membranes protecting the baby.  I would attest to this, since my water never broke on its own – the midwife actually had to break it when I got to the hospital since it didn’t break even as the baby was emerging – and I think the fact that this membrane remained intact was the only reason that Mr. Milk was not born in the bathroom at home or in the car on the way to the hospital.

Nursing benefits

  • Has been reported to “bring in rich milk”, most likely due to its mineral content.
  • Helps to balance postpartum hormones to prevent the drastic change in hormones that causes many women to experience postpartum depression.

Even if you don’t want to get pregnant benefits

  • Has been shown to reduce menstrual cramps and may help to regulate the flow of menstruation due to its effects on the uterus.
  • Helps to detoxify excess hormones which is very helpful during times of hormonal shift such as menopause or in the second half of the menstrual cycle (the two weeks before starting your period, which is when most women experience PMS).

Benefits for menfolk (also known as dudes but since this is a blog about herbs I thought to use midieval terms like “menfolk” and if possible I will throw the most despised of all renaissance terms – “m’lady” – in here somewhere)

  • In herbal terms, it’s a “nourishing reproductive tonic” for men, which is just a fancy way of saying it helps your junk work better.
  • Its ability to detoxify extra hormones is helpful for men also since they are bombarded with artificial estrogens on a daily basis from commercial meat and milk, plastics, food additives, and chemical fumes (especially if they are in the construction business).  These extra estrogens, along with too much unresolved stress over a lifetime, are major culprits in the phenomenon known as “andropause” or male menopause, which is characterized by a drastic drop in testosterone levels.
  • May also help with diarrhea, which if you’ve ever been kind enough to clean the bathroom at a location shared by several college age men who drink beer, you will see that diarrhea is apparently something that needs to be helped.

The nice thing about raspberry leaf tea is that it is a balanced food so it’s safe for virtually everyone at every stage of life (I even saw one article about giving it to children with stomach aches) and you can’t really overdose on it.  Herbal experts and midwives recommend between 1 cup daily all the way up to a gallon daily during pregnancy with no side effects.  I did a little bit of research on PubMed and only came up with 2 research articles on raspberry leaf tea, but neither of them found any negative side effects and the articles I saw on other research sites only found unwanted side effects when specific active ingredients were taken out of the tea and used in ridiculously huge doses.  Drinking the tea in its whole state is supposed to be “self-regulating”, meaning the active ingredients balance each other out.

To make the tea, I suggest 1 Tablespoon of bulk tea per cup of hot water.  Or you can just buy tea bags and follow the brewing instructions.  I also like to use the bulk tea to make sun tea (since I am too lazy to boil water, which is why I specialize in nutrition and not delivering babies).  I just take a handful (mind you a small, half-Filipino handful so if you have big hands ask a half-Filipino neighbor to do your measuring for you) of bulk tea leaves and throw it into a half gallon Mason jar, fill it with water, put on a lid to keep out bugs, and set it outside in the sun to brew to desired darkness (also known as, set it out and forget about it for several hours until my husband comes home and asks me why I left jars filled with dirt and leaves and is that urine? on the back porch) like so:

Then I just keep it in the fridge and have iced tea to sip on whenever the mood hits.  So drink up, m’lady!

NOTE: This blog is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner.  All information contained in this blog is the opinion of Jessica Forbes and is not to be interpreted as medical advice.

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51 comments

1 Andrea { 10.12.10 at 9:21 am }

I fully agree that Raspberry Leaf Tea has amazing effects. I probably drank about 5 gallons of it in the last few months of my pregnancy. My membranes stayed intact until I was fully dilated and I only had to push for 15 minutes. Thanks Raspberry Leaf tea!!!

2 vegeater.com » Blog Archive » Moons Matter { 10.18.10 at 3:51 pm }

[...] also following my friend Jessica’s advice about raspberry leaf tea.  And praying a lot about labor, birth, nursing, mothering, parenting.  And being quiet. And [...]

3 Cathy Sue { 03.15.11 at 6:03 pm }

Raspberry leaf tea is awesome but there is one caution that I’ve read. Apparently fresh leaves shouldn’t be used for tea…only dried leaves. Do you happen to know why?

4 Jessica Forbes { 03.16.11 at 11:00 am }

I have no idea! :) I had read in a few random sites that fresh or dried was ok, and some midwives recommend using fresh because it’s supposed to be more powerful. However, I would trust your research as the herbalist! Let me know if you find the reasoning and I will update that blog with a warning on fresh leaves. Thanks Cathy Sue!

5 Sarah McMullen { 03.23.11 at 11:28 am }

Yay for Raspberry leaf tea. I drank about a quart a day during my first pregnancy – only had 2-1/2 hrs of hard labor and pushed for 20 minutes. A week after delivery – it looked like my stomach had migrated into my chest – but all went very, very well

6 Preparing for Babies During Bad Times | PreppingToSurvive.com { 05.18.11 at 2:06 am }

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7 10 Things I learned throughout this Pregnancy « Baby Wu { 01.31.12 at 12:51 pm }

[...] Drink up! Raspberry Leaf Tea has been proven to have many health benefits throughout your pregnancy and helps strengthen the female [...]

8 10 Things I learned throughout this Pregnancy « Baby Wu { 01.31.12 at 12:51 pm }

[...] Drink up! Raspberry Leaf Tea has been proven to have many health benefits throughout your pregnancy and helps strengthen the female [...]

9 children entertainer { 03.07.12 at 1:08 pm }

My wife and I start to drink and I will comeback and say if worked to us. that already for the great information.

10 Lucy { 05.24.12 at 7:03 pm }

Raspberry tea might be useful to me and other Estrogen positive breast cancer survivors. It was fun reading your writing.

11 Sandra Langstaff { 07.23.12 at 1:37 pm }

Hello, I can personally attest that fresh raspberry leaves are safe and wonderful as a tea. I pick my own from the backyard, and after a day or so of letting them dry out slightly on a teatowel, I use them for tea. The leaves just curl up a bit around the edges and lose a bit of their colour. The tea is so mellow and has a great taste, no honey or sugar needed. I use it for PMS and it’s great. Really wanted some this past winter and had to resort to buying some from the health food store, but sadly, it didn’t measure up. If you have your own bush remember that the newer, smaller leaves make a more flavourful and fresh tasting tea, but really any will do. The only leaves I didn’t use were the ones that had been nibbled on by bugs. : ) I left those in the garden.

12 Ollie { 08.28.12 at 8:35 am }

Is it safe if you are having surgery?

13 Jessica Stamm { 09.10.12 at 10:12 am }

In general, I believe it’s best not to take herbs before surgery because you don’t want extra stuff in your system that could interact with anesthesia and blood clotting. However, I’m not an herbalist so you may want to consult with one to see if there are specific herbs that could actually help in your case. After surgery, raspberry leaf tea may be helpful in wound healing and preventing infection – especially when applied topically as a cold compress.

14 Emma { 12.18.12 at 3:34 pm }

Just to fill you in. Fresh leaves should not be used as in a few cases it can be a carrier of botulism. This is very rare but the risk is there none the less.
You can dry them yourselves by hanging them in the sun for 3/4 days or near a heat pump if its not sunny.

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16 Nazia { 02.06.13 at 12:33 pm }

Ive started to take rlt I’m almost 31 weeks, hope I do have a fast labour as I’m terrified of it.. I will come back to say if it worked for me

17 Jessica Stamm { 02.13.13 at 12:40 pm }

Good luck with labor! Can’t wait to hear about your experience.

18 Jessica Stamm { 02.13.13 at 12:42 pm }

Thanks so much! Definitely don’t want people brewing botulism unless they plan to inject it into their wrinkles as natural Botox. Hardy har har! But thanks again for this info, it really is helpful.

19 Manda { 02.13.13 at 5:11 pm }

Great post! I’m so glad I found your blog!! 12 weeks pregnant with my 4th and its crazy how each time I forget about what helps with nausea. Sipping on a warm cup of rlt as I read this. Also, I have a Filipino sister in law and I only wish I had the same petite body… Hopefully the rlt will at least help my post partum belly deflate this time around. ;)

20 Raspberry Tea Leaf Benefits | Is it Safe During Pregnancy? { 02.20.13 at 12:02 pm }

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21 Meralee Stallings { 03.01.13 at 11:29 am }

Thank you for this information. I’m in the midst of menopause and was experience not a mood swing, but a mood shift! I turned into this whiney, weepy, soggy mess. I’d heard about RLT for PMS and decided to brew a cup. An hour later I straightend up and wondered what I had been so upset about earlier! I was wondering about side effects. I didn’t think there were any but decided to check it out. Thanks for the info. I’m going to go brew another cup. Have an emergency stash at work.

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23 Jessica Stamm { 03.06.13 at 11:03 am }

I’m so glad!

24 Jessica Stamm { 03.06.13 at 11:06 am }

Thanks for reading! I imagine that it’s not so much you forgetting what to do as you being more focused on the other 3 kids running around :).

25 anne { 03.30.13 at 4:27 pm }

Hi thanks for info, just would like to add some more,
i am 55 gone through menopause and a large lady.
i also suffer with water work problems, sometimes very badly and have lost the effect to control the bladder when trying to stand up,( ie taking the pressure off the bladder,) if i leave it only a few seconds after feeling the urge to spend a penny.
i have been taking raspberry leaf tablets along with cranberry tablets for the last two days and have found a vast emprovement in my condition.

26 Jessica Stamm { 04.03.13 at 1:11 pm }

Hi Anne, I’m so happy to hear that you found relief from the symptoms you were experiencing! That is fantastic. Thanks for commenting :).

27 Hannah { 04.08.13 at 6:19 pm }

So is this tea safe for people that are considered “Regular?” I’ve struggled with irregular periods/infertility. I am starting to become more regular, so I am just concerned that this tea could actually mess up my cycles. Can it do that? Is it only supposed to improve things or is it possible that it could have negative effects? Thank you for the great blog post!

28 Download Benefits of Reading Books to Infants PDF | PDF Ebook Sharing { 04.08.13 at 9:32 pm }
29 Carla { 04.21.13 at 5:23 pm }

I have been drinking red raspberry leaf tea for several months now and have just recently started taking a red raspberry leaf and Calendula tincture to help regulate my cycle and decrease flow. However, I have read that it can mimic estrogen in the body and should not be taken if there is a family history of breast cancer. My mom passed away from breast cancer at the age of 52. Should I discontinue using red raspberry leaf?

30 Jessica Stamm { 04.24.13 at 11:15 am }

Hi Carla, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. Truly. While I legally and ethically can’t answer whether you specifically should or shouldn’t use red raspberry leaf, I did find several studies on PubMed that could at least be a starting point in helping you decide how to proceed. I will try to embed the links below and if it looks crazy or you can’t get to them let me know:
A supplement containing licorice, black cohosh, red raspberry leaf, and several other herbal compounds was found to increase growth of breast cancer cells. However, the researchers separated out the licorice and black cohosh as most likely to cause this effect and didn’t separate out RRL on its own.
Red raspberry leaf was found to exhibit protective effects against 2 kinds of cancer, including colon cancer.
Growth of breast cancer and other cancer cell lines was “strongly inhibited” by raspberry juice. I know that this study is referring to the fruit, but the same phytochemicals are in the leaf.
And FYI, the leaves of the raspberry plant were found to have between 5 and 10 times more antioxidant capacity than the fruit.
If you can, it might help to work with a practitioner who can specifically test red raspberry leaf (or any supplement you’re taking) against your personal chemistry to see if it’s helping you achieve your goals or not. I have a naturopath in Hawaii that I see who helps me with this if I feel conflicted about something I’m eating or taking (like my brain says it’s good for me but my body isn’t sure or the other way around) so he helps me tip the balance of which way to go, which is really helpful. I tell him repeatedly that he’s never allowed to retire!

31 Jessica Stamm { 04.24.13 at 11:20 am }

Hi Hannah! Great question. In my experience, I’ve never worked with anyone that had a negative response to Raspberry Leaf tea to the point that it messed up their cycles. The only real negative response I had was with a pregnant woman who didn’t like the taste. She was drinking like 2 quarts a day and it was tasting really bad to her so I suggested she stop drinking it until it sounded appealing again. She did that and eventually she wanted to drink it again and everything turned out great with the pregnancy and otherwise. I do know that RRL can have a supportive effect on the enzymes in the liver that work with hormone detoxification so theoretically drinking it could put a person into detox mode which might “reset” cycles in the short-term but in the long-term would actually be a beneficial thing. So that’s my really long but not so cut-and-dry answer. I hope it helps you in some way!

32 Teresa { 04.24.13 at 1:41 pm }

I delivered four kids w/minimum pain & labor thanks to Raspberry Leaf Tea. It worked fantastically, and I almost delivered two of the kids at home because I did not think I was in labor and arrived at the hospital at 9-1/2 cm dilated; doctors barely had time to scrub! It works! I thank God I came upon an article those many years ago. My oldest is now 28yo and my youngest is 22yo. I greatly encourage use of this tea for just about everything! I love it hot much better than cold.

33 Karen Pruneau { 04.26.13 at 5:57 pm }

I have just been recommended by a friend to drink this tea as soon as menstration starts to lessen the flow. If it helps with that I’ll drink it forever. If it helps to lessen the desire to ” spend a penny” as one lady put it that’ll be a plus too.

34 End-stage Pregnancy | FitnessRX for Women { 04.27.13 at 7:29 pm }

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35 Jessica Stamm { 06.19.13 at 12:49 pm }

That’s fantastic! Thanks for sharing the info Teresa :)

36 Raspberry Leaf Tea - BabyandBump { 07.16.13 at 12:57 am }

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38 Amanda Anderson { 10.03.13 at 11:29 pm }

Hi Jessica and thanks for the useful information. Is rlt safe to drink after a miscarriage? And is it safe to drink throughout conception and all stages of pregnancy? Any specific amounts? It sounds like it can be very beneficial. Thank you.

39 Jessica Stamm { 10.09.13 at 9:12 am }

Hi Amanda! Red raspberry leaf tea is good for after a miscarriage because it “tones” the uterus to help slow down blood loss and prevent hemorrhage and it contains trace minerals (important to restore after blood loss). For most people it is very beneficial in all stages of reproduction: before conception (even way before – I have seen it help teenage girls that have hormone-related acne) all the way through labor and on through nursing (especially if the little one is getting baby acne). When I got your question I did read through some case reports and found that a small percentage of women with a history of miscarriage (the report I read was 3 or more consecutive miscarriages) may want to avoid RRLT until they get through their first trimester just in case the “toning” action of the tea is being too stimulating for the uterus. But in other cases, the tea actually helped prevent miscarriage. I would think that if it is a concern, then 1 cup a day several days a week for the first trimester would be good and then increasing to up to 4 cups a day after that. A general rule is how appealing is it to you – for both of my pregnancies it was a refreshing drink that I enjoyed. I worked with one mom who could not stand the smell or taste of it after a certain point in her pregnancy and was going to “push on through” and make herself drink it but I advised against that since her body was probably trying to tell her something. In all cases, our bodies are way smarter than any textbook! Hope that answers your question…I had some really strong Kona coffee this morning so am a little hyper and writing a dissertation in response to a simple question :). Thanks for reading!

40 Catia { 10.10.13 at 10:42 am }

Hi Jessica, I was pregnant up until 5 weeks ago. I lost my baby at 36 weeks due to a placental abruption. The doctors said there was a complete separation of the placenta from the uterus and I had to deliver via c-section. So, as I recover I’m trying to see what I can do to help prepare my body for conception again. Doctors said I can try to conceive in 6 months… which I plan on doing. So, this is why I’m thinking of trying the tea for it’s “toning” and fertility benefits. However, considering I had an abruption my question is would it be beneficial to try the tea or not? I’d also like to add that I do not have any of the conditions that normally would cause an abruption. It was a total fluke, unfortunately. Thank you.

41 Amanda Anderson { 10.12.13 at 7:10 am }

Thank you for your response…it’s an interesting read indeed. I really like the taste of this tea, so have been drinking 3 cups of the tea during and post miscarriage and it so far seems really helpful. All has gone back to normal in under 2 weeks! With the added benefit of my skin looking really nice and clear, so was interesting to read about how it helps teenage girls with acne. I think I will keep having this tea until I fall pregnant again and then resume small amounts in the 2nd trimester and increase the amount in the 3rd trimester all being well.

My husband has been having 1 cup a day as well as he seems to like it as well!

I’m enjoying reading your articles and wish there was a good nutritionalist I could see near me!

42 Meg Stuart { 10.13.13 at 5:50 pm }

Amanda Anderson, I’m so sorry for your loss :( I also miscarried in July and had an infection soon after that tumbled into another infection and just always felt a nagging cramping sort of pain even after all the antibiotics. I heard about raspberry leaf extract and decided to try it. I have only been taking it for about two weeks but I already notice a difference in how I feel in my uterus and ovaries, I was in a lot of pain but none now!! Go for it girl!! Hugs!

43 Jessica Stamm { 10.13.13 at 8:46 pm }

Aloha Catia, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I did a search in the literature and didn’t find anything concrete regarding the relationship between placental abruption and red raspberry leaf tea (either for or against). I know it can be helpful in recovering from a miscarriage, physically by helping the uterus heal and return to normal size and it also helps to balance the hormonal shift which may soften the emotional toll of the experience. Since I was not able to find anything about the tea used during pregnancy for those with a history of placental abruption, I can’t give any helpful info on the subject except to say that it might be useful to take it in this interval between pregnancies and then to see how you and your midwife/doctor feel about it when you’re ready to become pregnant again. If you haven’t already, you might want to ask your doctor for a complete thyroid work up including antibodies. Here’s a link to a Harvard study that shows a significantly increased risk of placental abruption in women with thyroid antibodies: http://www.medpagetoday.com/OBGYN/Pregnancy/21365. Sending lots of love and happy thoughts your way, and thanks for reading!

44 Jessica Stamm { 10.13.13 at 8:49 pm }

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Meg! So glad you were able to find relief. Thank you also for the encouragement you offer to other readers in similar situations. You’re a very nice person!

45 Jane { 11.01.13 at 4:12 am }

I recently started drinking a tea blend that contains red raspberry and several other herbs such as nettle and burdock root and oatstraw and red clover and I’ve noticed breast tenderness even though I’m still early in my cycle, which usually doesn’t happen. I worry that I have high estrogen and the tea could be making it worse. Is that possible? Should I stop drinking it?

46 Stephanie { 11.11.13 at 10:57 am }

I’m curious if there is any relation between drinking raspberry leaf tea and having your period start. My hubby and I have been trying to conceive for 5 months, and I started drinking rrl tea last week, thinking it may help. 5 days into drinking it, my period started– 12 days after my last period! Has anyone heard of this happening? I’m hoping it is just my cycle trying to regulate, as I know that the tea can balance hormones. Thanks so much for any info!

47 sahar { 12.05.13 at 9:24 am }

hi… i just want to know that is it helps to reduce pain during periods coz i suffer from lots of pain.. and plz tell me can i use teabags?

48 Jessica Stamm { 02.19.14 at 12:19 pm }

Hi Sahar! I would say yes to both your questions. Raspberry leaf tea can be very helpful for pain during periods because it helps to balance hormones. I personally use the loose leaf tea because it’s cheaper, but tea bags work just as well.

49 Jessica Stamm { 02.19.14 at 12:22 pm }

Hi Stephanie! I have heard of this happening when a person is low in progesterone. The tea helps to regulate hormones and their natural progesterone levels rise, which causes their period to start. I would take it as a good sign. Good luck with everything!

50 Jessica Stamm { 02.19.14 at 12:26 pm }

Hi Jane! Red clover contains isoflavones, which are plant nutrients with estrogenic properties. If the tea also contains black cohosh (another estrogenic herb) it could be contributing to estrogen levels. From a nutritional perspective, breast tenderness is usually related to high estrogen levels and/or low iodine levels.

51 Side effects using Agnus Castus for PCOS? { 03.22.14 at 9:54 am }

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