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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.